The Open Society Foundations is inviting Investigative Journalists and Creative Artists to explore new ways of storytelling about corruption
DEADLINE: OCTOBER 31, 2018
The 2019 elections offer a moment of accountability, a chance for citizens to make choices based on what they know and what politicians are offering them. When quality, independent journalism engages audiences and communities, it offers a chance for self-reflection and critical thinking, key elements for an open, democratic society.
In recent months and years, South African journalism has exposed corruption at all levels of society, in towns, cities and the state itself. But often these reports reach only those who read long-form journalism or avidly follow the news. Could these stories engage new audiences and highlight the role of independent journalism, if they were produced in a different format?
The Open Society Foundation’s Program on Independent Journalism invites applications from journalists and creative artists willing to experiment in a collaboration to find different ways to tell these important stories. Through a partnership between journalists and artists from the worlds of theatre/ satire/ music/ graphics/ interactive technology, an investigative story will be reproduced in a new, captivating and engaging format.
Those selected will be invited to attend a two-day workshop where journalists and artists will work together to explore new forms for telling the investigative piece. Ultimately, teams will have the opportunity to pitch for a grant of up to $25,000 to produce and distribute their project ahead of the 2019 elections.
Examples of collaborations between artists and journalists produced elsewhere include:
•A Financial Times investigation into the working conditions of uber drivers became an Uber game and later became a rap, produced and performed at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. Watch this 60-second video from the Head of Digital Delivery at the Financial Times explaining why they tried this approach.
•A variety of theatre productions by StoryWorks, an initiative of the Center for Investigative Reporting in the United States.
• Too Early for Birds, storytelling from current affairs and history by the Kenyan organization,
Owaahh. Read about their work here.
• An investigation into the neo-Nazi scene in Dortmund, Germany by the non-profit research and journalism centre, Correct!v, which they reproduced as a graphic novel available online here.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Journalists from national, regional or local media in small towns who:
• Have published on any platform (online, broadcast, print), an independent, investigative, verified story that exposes corruption and its impact on society.
• Are committed to a collaborative, experimental process with artists, guided by a director/facilitator, to explore and develop a new format for the story.
• Welcome the chance to have their story reach new audiences and will support efforts to engage audiences as effectively as possible.
Creative artists from theatre/ satire/ music/ graphics/ interactive technology who:
• Have a proven track record in their chosen craft.
• Are curious to explore and create a new storytelling format from a journalistic investigation on corruption for a wider audience.
• Are committed to a collaborative, experimental process with journalists, guided by a director/facilitator.
• Can demonstrate an understanding of their potential audiences – how and where to connect with them.
HOW TO APPLY
For Journalists: Please email the following information to: email@example.com with the subject line: Creative Storytelling 2018
• Your name and the name of your organization.
• The focus of your investigation, what it exposed. Please indicate in what format the story was produced (article/ book/ video, etc). Please include links.
• Which audiences did your story reach when it was distributed?
• Methods used to investigate the story (traditional investigative reporting; data scraping; recorded interviews; leaked documents, etc.)
• Challenges experienced when reporting and publishing the story.
• Which audiences would you ideally like your story to reach through a creative collaboration?
• Brief pitch (max. 300 words or a 2-minute video) explaining how your story could be reinterpreted and retold through an artistic medium; which audiences would you aim to reach, and in which language? Note: This idea is a starting point, you will have room to explore or change it, should you be chosen for the workshop.
For Creative Artists: Please email the following information to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Creative Storytelling 2018
• Your name and the name of your organization/company.
• A brief biography of creative projects you have produced/ been part of. Please include links to these projects.
• Brief pitch (max. 300 words or a 2-minute video) explaining how you might interpret/reproduce a verified journalism investigative story about corruption; what artistic medium you would use; which audiences would you aim to reach in which language? Note: This idea is a starting point, you will have room to explore or change it, should you be chosen for the workshop.
• Describe which audiences you usually reach – e.g. age, urban, peri-urban, rural?
• Why do you wish to be part of this collaboration? [max. 80 words]
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
1. The deadline for all applications is October 31, 2018.
2. OSF will invite those journalists and creative artists selected from this call to a 2-day workshop (in Johannesburg or Cape Town) in late November to explore ideas.
3. Journalists and artists will collaborate to tell the essence of the story, develop a “treatment”, and ideas for how it will be produced & distributed.
4. At the conclusion of the workshop, teams will pitch their ideas and receive a small seed grant to develop them.
5. A second workshop will be held in January 2019, where teams are invited back to present their creative concepts and plans for its production and distribution.
6. At the conclusion of this second workshop, a jury will select which teams will receive a grant of up to $25,000 to produce and distribute the finished project ahead of the 2019 elections.