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UAE Young Journalist Award

Everything you need to know about the British Embassy's UAE Young Journalist Award and how to apply.

British Embassy's UAE Young Journalist Award

The British Embassy’s UAE Young Journalist Award, a new initiative launched in partnership with The National, aims to highlight the growing talent among pupils in the UAE in media and journalism. The United Kingdom remains committed to supporting the growth of journalism around the world and particularly amongst aspiring youth. Now known as a leading regional media hub and home to a growing number of outlets, the UAE is well positioned to push forward the passion for journalism in education and youth.

A young nation, the UAE has in a short time developed an appetite for storytelling and news that has paved the way for establishment of various news organisations including The National. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, The National is a source for regional news and analysis. There are a variety of domestic print, online, TV, and radio outlets across the UAE catering to a wide range of languages, reflecting the country’s diverse demographics.

This year’s award will focus on the Year of Tolerance and will invite finalists to an award ceremony with Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody, as well as Editor-in-Chief at The National, Mina Al-Oraibi, among other leaders in the field. Award winners will be announced at the reception and all nominated pupils will have the opportunity to attend and engage with journalists, producers, writers and industry leaders.

Application guidelines

All pupils in the UAE aged 16 to 18 are invited to submit a commentary, opinion piece or story in any format (written, photography, video or audio).

The awarded pupil will be given:

  • a one day work experience at The National and another day at the British Embassy in the media and communications team
  • an opportunity to engage with industry leaders at the award ceremony
  • a one-year print subscription to The National printed paper
  • an opportunity to have their entry published in The National

Submission details

Submissions will be assessed on their creativity, storytelling, relevance and appeal to audiences, each an important quality of good journalism today. It is important to follow the laws of the UAE (government.ae/en/media/media) when creating your project. Be sure to get permission before filming, photographing or recording any subjects and be sure to photograph or film only in permissible locations within the UAE.

  • pupils are only allowed to submit one piece
  • submissions must be in English
  • for written pieces only: maximum word count is 600
  • for video/audio only: project should not be longer than 2 minutes
  • for projects that use a combination of written, video and/or photography, please judge based on the above guidelines
  • pupils are permitted to use a project that was completed as part of their formal class work, so long as it also complies with the application guidelines for this award

Pupils must submit:

  • completed application form (ODT, 84.6KB) (download and complete to submit with project)
  • project: written pieces may be submitted to the below email directly as a PDF file. Video and other media must be submitted through media transfer (WeTransfer) to the same email. Please include both the project and pupil name in the subject of your email/Wetransfer.

Please submit all work to UAE.YoungJournalistAward@fco.gov.uk.

important dates

Submission deadline 24 October (projects submitted after this date will not be accepted)
Shortlist decided 31 October
Award reception 18 November (subject to change)

Guiding questions

When constructing your project focus, please keep in mind the theme of the Year of Tolerance. Below are some guiding questions; you do not need to answer the questions directly.

  • Explore what the Year of Tolerance means to Emirati and expat communities alike.
  • How does the Year of Tolerance reflect the already established values of diversity within the UAE?
  • How are the achievements made by the UAE tolerance initiatives impactful?
  • Did you meet a person/group/community this year that has embraced the Year of Tolerance in a special or meaningful way that helps illustrate your commentary?
  • What can the world learn from the UAE’s model for tolerance?

What is a comment piece?

There is, and never can be, a single definition as to what constitutes a good opinion piece or how it should be composed. It can be table-thumping and overflowing with anger; it can be lyrical, wistful, nostalgic, sympathetic; it can be wry and humorous, or plaintive and hand-wringing. It can be all of these things and many more besides. But it has to be erudite; it has to be informed; it has to be well-told. It must contain original thinking and fresh insights. And above all, it has to be opinionated.

A comment piece is an argument. It’s an argument informed with facts – facts you must research and select to support your argument. If possible – and of course it is not always – you should be suggesting a new approach or a fresh line of thinking.

The construction of the piece depends on how you want to present your argument. You can have opinion in every paragraph, every sentence even. Or you could leave it to one final, blistering conclusion.

But remember, it is an opinion article. The opinion is what counts. It has to be thought through, logical and consistent. And it should be persuasive. Ideally, at the end, the reader should be in full agreement with you. If they are not – and you are never going to win every argument – then they should be in a position where to disagree they are forced to make a series of strong counter-arguments.

And before you start writing ask yourself this: what is my opinion on this subject? What do I feel about it? Your work will always benefit from thinking your argument through before you begin.

Published 12 September 2019