Checkdesk Awards: Rewarding best investigative stories from the Arab region

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I’m really happy to announce the launch of the Checkdesk Awards program, as part of our ongoing partnership with technology partner Meedan and with MENA-based partners in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine.

The Checkdesk Awards program rewards compelling uses of the Checkdesk platform in the Arab world. Each month, up to 12 awards of $250 (£175) will be made for the best investigative journalism, liveblogging, or debunking and verification work, as adjudicated by the Awards jury.

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How to Participate

To participate in the Checkdesk Awards, create an account on one of our partner Checkdesks (see list below) and submit content, reporting or conduct debunking or verification work. Our jury and partners will review submissions on an ongoing basis, and will make nominations for awards according to the Adjudication and Rules process outlined below.

You can also make submissions to the award by emailing a link to the submitted content Not all submissions will be nominated for awards, and only winners will be notified.

Awards will be made at the jury’s discretion, based on an analysis of the following criteria:

  • Accuracy: Does a story or report represent the truth to the greatest extent possible? Have facts, assertions and media been verified?
  • Fairness and balance: Does a story or report represent the different sides to a story and different viewpoints on an issue?
  • Insight (analysis and/or context): Does a story or report provide context to a story, examining the why and the how?
  • Impact or effect of story: What is the relevance or benefit of the submission? (ie. Did it serve the public? Did it create discussion? Did it challenge the reader?)
  • Technique: Does the story or report represent excellence in format, writing style, storytelling, layout, creativity or evoking engagement?

Adjudication and Rules

  1. An independent jury comprised of 1 representative from each of the Checkdesk partners in the Arab region (SMEX, Al Manassa, Mada Masr, Welad El Balad), a representative from BCU’s Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, a representative from Meedan, a faculty member of the Lebanese University, and a faculty member of Cairo University will agree on a monthly basis to distribute up to 12 awards of $250 each per month.
  2. Each month, each member of the independent jury can nominate up to five pieces of citizen journalism (on or off of Checkdesk, though no partner staff journalists or commissioned stories may be eligible) to the jury for review under any of the categories.
  3. Juries issue two awards for each partner nomination, unless the jury determines that the partner nominations do not meet a minimum criteria of journalistic excellence. Any dispute on this matter is settled by a majority vote of the jury. There may be times that no award is issued – in such an event the next award period is open to double the submissions and awards.
  4. Meedan will manage and distribute funds upon receipt of a list of confirmed winners from the manager of the independent jury. Each member of the jury will be copied on the email requesting disbursements to the winners.

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