By Haruna Gimba
The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, on Wednesday launched the inaugural Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards.
Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, this year’s awards celebrate the contributions of journalists in Africa who prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in their reporting.
The awards recognise the essential role journalists play in creating well-researched articles that volunteer editors use as source materials to develop content on Wikipedia.
Journalism that highlights diverse experiences helps to grow the knowledge base on one of the world’s most visited websites, so that it is more reflective of the topics, events and people that influence the understanding of culture and history through the ages.
This year’s awards will invite nominations for articles written by African journalists that help to close knowledge gaps on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.
Only 2.5% of geotagged content on Wikipedia covers Africa. In addition, only 15% of articles on Wikipedia are about Africa.
This issue reflects knowledge gaps in the wider media ecosystem; new information can only be added to Wikipedia by volunteer editors if it is supported by a citation from a published, reliable source.
“Journalists play a vital role in increasing equity on Wikipedia, ensuring that the world’s knowledge is not limited to the perspectives and experiences of a select few.
Through Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards we want to celebrate these efforts, shining a light on reporting that helps to close knowledge gaps and uncovers more of Africa’s rich history and culture,” said Anusha Alikhan, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President of Communications.
The awards capture the spirit of World Press Freedom Day, which highlights the importance of a free press as essential to amplifying diverse voices and experiences. It also aligns with one of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 goals, which seeks to increase local content in all print and electronic media to 60 percent.
Nominations for the Open the Knowledge Journalism Awards can be submitted from May 3 – June 30, 2023 at wikimediafoundation.org/journalism-awards.
Articles by African journalists living on the continent can be submitted under the following categories:
- Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Sports
- Health, Climate Change, and Environment
- Women and Youth
- Digital and Human Rights
Articles must have been published online and in English between January 1, 2022 and June 23, 2023. For more information about the nomination criteria and awards process, please visit the website.
Award recipients will be announced by the Wikimedia Foundation at the Africa Regional Community Conference, WikiIndaba, in November 2023.
The first-place award recipient will receive $2000, as well as an opportunity to attend WikiIndaba 2023 in Morocco, where they can share more about their work, and accept a trophy, and certificate of recognition.
The second-place award recipient will receive $1500 and a certificate of recognition. Four other outstanding nominees will receive special mentions. All awardees and their work will also be celebrated on the Wikimedia Foundation’s website and social media channels.