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Foreign Correspondent Competition 2017

Full Details

*This competition is now closed but you are still more than welcome to read through the published writing and blog posts!*

Foreign correspondents bring the world to our doorstep. With insatiable appetites and extraordinary courage, they immerse themselves in an international crisis or movement, and write about the event to give readers access to the far corners of the Earth. This heroic work is what makes the international sections of our publications so paramount. It’s how most of us come to understand what’s happening on the coast of Somalia, or the war in Syria, or the flooding of the Marshall Islands This month, dear writers, immerse yourself in a news-worthy event outside the borders of your own country, and invite us there through your written reporting.
As long as your journalism piece focuses on an event or issue outside the borders of your own country, the sky’s the limit! As you sift through ideas, it might be helpful to consider different lenses. Politics is an obvious one, but you could also investigate a story that has do with the environment or education, health or ethics, technology or economics. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the recommendations posted by your fellow writers in response to the recent Newsworthy prompt.
Most foreign correspondents live oversees, immersing themselves in another culture in order to find and report a story. As a young writer, there are still many ways to get the scoop! You could:
  • Write about a place you’ve visited.
  • Write about somewhere that a friend or family member lives.
  • Do your own research. Is it possible to conduct an interview over skype? Visit the library? Read other articles? Search for online resources? Consult with international aid organizations? Interview another member from WtW?
Regardless of what topic you choose, make sure to pause and consider the following:
  • What are the Stakes? Why is this story important and why does it need to be told? Who is being affected and why? 
  • What's the Context? What background information does the reader need to understand and care about your story? Researching your topic or reading other writing on similar subjects can help you uncover important information and craft your own unique angle.
  • What’s Your Story? Even if you’re writing about a well-reported story, there are still ways to offer a fresh perspective. Focusing on the specific experiences of those affected is one way to make your story unique. Try interviewing people in order to generate new and exciting material, or build your story around personal accounts that you uncover in other publications (just makes sure to cite your sources!). 
  • What’s the Scope? Whether you’re writing about a small community or an entire continent, zeroing in and zeroing out can help you reach readers. Consider how the plight of an isolated community relates to someone across the world (e.g. What wisdom do the world’s first climate change refugees offer to an international readership?); or how a national or continental problem is felt on a local level (how does the recent American election impact a small community in central Vermont?).
  • What's the Connection? Although your story is focused far from home, why should readers in your own country care about this topic? For example, does the story have implications for the future closer to home? Does it demonstrate important elements of globalization? Are their human rights at stake that are important for an international audience to witness and speak out against?
  • Who, What, Where, Why, When and How: As your story takes shape, make sure to answer the five W’s and the H! Who is your story about; What happened; Where did it take place, Why does it matter (why should the reader care); When did it take place; and How did it happen. The five W’s and the H establish the context your reader needs to feel the full impact of your story. 
  • Cite Your Sources: Whether you quote someone directly or paraphrase information from a person or publication, make sure to give credit where credit’s due!  
  • Remain Objective: Unlike a persuasive essay or op-ed, a journalism story should present information in a nonbiased way. Rather than divulging your opinion, give the reader a chance to learn about something new and then form his or her own thoughts on the subject.  
  • Balance Perspectives: One way to remain objective is to offer two sides to every story. there is more than one side to a story. Go to great lengths to get information from all sides. If the other side is unwilling to talk, say so in your piece. At least you tried.
Who is Eligible?  
Young writers ages 13-18  
600-1,000 words. 
Guest Judge
Lauren Markham 
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 

Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.       
Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.       
Expert Review: Submit your draft and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.   


Due Dates
  • Feb 13 - Submit draft for Expert Review

  • Feb 21 - Competition Deadline