The Guardian International Development Journalism Competition, 2011

Many crucial issues facing the developing world are often overlooked or underrepresented by the media. The Guardian International Development Journalism competition 2011 aims to highlight some of them. We are searching for enthusiastic writers who want to demonstrate their journalistic abilities by examining these issues.

Monday 13 June – closing date for entries

The competition, in partnership with a group of UK-based international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – is now in its fourth year, building on the successes of 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The NGOs are Marie Stopes International, CARE International UK, The David Rattray Memorial Trust (UK), Direct Relief International, FHI, International Childcare Trust, Malaria Consortium, Plan UK, and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.

The competition is sponsored by Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline.

Essential information
Key dates
Monday 13 June – closing date for entries
June-July – judging process
Friday 29 July - briefing day
August/September – trips to Africa and Asia
November - awards ceremony
November – finalist pieces appear in Guardian supplements

Frequently asked questions
Who can enter?
As amateurs: Anyone who has not been paid for anything they have written/had published (fiction writers, book authors and academics excepted). A person who has been paid for work they have had published anywhere in the world must enter as a professional. People who have had writing published as part of their work experience, or internship, but who were not paid for it, may enter as amateurs.
As professionals: Anyone who has had something published but is not employed by a national newspaper. This includes employees of the Guardian and Observer.

Is the competition free to enter?
Can I enter if I entered this competition before?
Yes. The exceptions are any previous winners or finalists – those who had their features published.
Can I send in additional promotional material?
No. You will only be judged by the entry you submit.
Can I submit more than one entry?

How will I know if I'm shortlisted?
You will be notified by email in July if you have been shortlisted. Unfortunately due to the number of entries we receive, we are unable to contact everyone who has entered so if you haven't heard from us you haven't been successful this year.

How will my article be judged?
After the closing date, entries will go through a preliminary long-listing process by a team of Guardian staff. Each NGO will have the opportunity to comment on entries associated with their particular theme at this stage. The 40 long-listed entries will then be sent to the judges for shortlisting according to the judging criteria. When the finalists submit their stories, the same procedure applies. All entries are anonymised for the judging process.

Can I use an existing piece?
Your piece mustn't have been published in any format before and should be written specifically for this competition.

Will I get paid if my piece appears in the paper or online?

Can the deadline be extended?

I don't live in the UK. Can I enter?
Regrettably, this competition is only open to people living in the UK. People who are not in the UK at the time of submission may enter, but they must be resident in the UK during August, September, October and November.

Why can't I enter if I live overseas?
Because we are unable to support the costs of bringing entrants to/from the UK to attend necessary briefings and other activities that might arise.
What if I am shortlisted but unable to go on the overseas trip?
When you enter, you confirm that you will be available during the period the trip is expected to take place (last week of August to third week of September). If you are unable to travel during this time for any reason, although some alternative arrangement may be considered, the competition organisers reserve the right to replace you with a runner up and you will forfeit your finalist position.

My article is over the word limit - will I be disqualified?
All entries that are more than 10% over the maximum word count of 1,000 words will be disqualified.

Will I lose any rights to my work by entering the competition?
You will retain ownership of copyright in your entry and any finalist submission. After submission to the competition, we will have the right to use your entry in connection with the competition. If your entry is not longlisted, we will no longer have any rights to use your entry. If your entry is longlisted, we will have the right to copy, edit, display, publish and make available your entry in any format (whether online or in paper or otherwise) in connection with the competition. This applies to all longlisted entries, whether or not you go on to be a finalist. We will have the right to copy, edit, display, publish, and make available all finalist submissions in any format (whether online or in paper or otherwise) in connection with the competition.
We reserve the right to reject entries that are entered into the wrong category (eg professional journalists entering as amateurs and vice versa).

For more information, see the Terms and Conditions.
Contact us
If you have any questions regarding the competition entry process, themes or the awards ceremony please email the competition team at
Awards ceremony
Winners of the competition will be announced at a gala reception and ceremony in November at a central London venue. All finalists will be invited to attend the event.
As well as significantly raising the profile of their work and achievements among their colleagues and peers, the finalists will feature in a special supplement that will appear in the Guardian.

How to enter the awards
All you need to do is write a 650-1000 word article on an aspect of global poverty covered by the themes set, and upload it using our online entry form.
The entry period closes on Monday 13 June 2011.
FAMILIARISE yourself with the Guardian and Online, the Katine and the Global Development section of the site provides a good template of the sort of writing the Guardian values.

Judging criteria
What the judges will be looking for, particularly in the first round of the competition:
• Clear and concise argument based on the chosen theme
• Supported by factual evidence
• That your piece meets the theme brief
• A piece that "lives" to the reader. Does it feel real? Are the people or situations described vivid and believable to the audience?
• No patronising or sensationalist statements
• Sense that the writer has understood the subject
• Accessible to people who don't know much about the subject.
• Good writing skills, grammatically correct with an absence of jargon
• Readable from a journalistic perspective
Entry guidance
Additional/support material
Please do not send any additional material with your entry

• Familiarise yourself with the Guardian and This will give you an idea of what we are looking for in terms of tone, style and content.
• Numerous styles of journalism – comment, news reports, personal testimonies – can come under the rubric of development journalism. For the purpose of this competition, however, we are looking for features.
• Don't be sensationalistic or use hyperbolic, objectifying language. Be measured and objective, even if you are writing about a situation that makes you angry. The experience of one person – however interesting – may not be representative of the situation.
• If you are going to write about something that is very controversial, or has not had any publicity in the UK before, you should be able to back up your facts through at least two unimpeachable sources.
• Although many people will have been to the countries they write about, it is not essential to writing a good piece for this competition. One of last year's finalists compared a situation she knew about in the UK with the developing world.
• Make sure you stick to the theme and keep to the maximum word count of 1,000 words.
• Ask someone else to proofread your story. Typos and grammatical errors are a big turn-off for judges and editors.
• One way in which last year's amateur entries stood out from the professionals was in energy, passion and enthusiasm. If you are a professional, we don't want to read cynicism and world-weariness.

For more specific tips for amateurs and professionals look below.

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