Birmingham academics nominated in prestigious African journalist competition


Two academics from Birmingham City University have been named as finalists in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016 Awards.

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola and Professor Paul Bradshaw from the institution’s Birmingham School of Media, along with journalist Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, have been recognised for their investigation in to football player trafficking in West Africa

Their report highlights the plight of the 15,000 aspiring footballers from West African countries such as Nigeria and Cameroon, who try to realise their dream of playing for a top flight European club each year.

In doing so, many fall victim to fake agents, enduring perilous journeys across Africa and the Mediterranean, as well as costing their families thousands of dollars and ending up destitute themselves. Less than one per cent of those who enter this process actually achieve their footballing dream.

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016 competition is open to African professional journalists who have produced a story made available in print or broadcast on TV, radio or online. Stories are judged in a variety of categories including African culture, news impact and press freedom.

This year, the competition received over 1,600 entries – a record number – from 38 countries across the continent. 

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is the founder and publisher of IQ4News, which produced the trafficking story, before it was published in Nigeria’s ‘Premium Times’.

From Nigeria herself, Dr Akinbobola was awarded an MA and a PhD from Birmingham City University, and is today a visiting lecturer and researcher at the institution, with an interest around digital journalism and African feminism.

“The project is a great example of how to execute cross-border journalism projects, and there are still many more stories to come out of what we produced. I am indeed happy that the judges appreciated the effort we put in presenting this very important issue.”

As well as leading the MA course in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, Professor Bradshaw has an international reputation for developing online journalism. He has been featured on both’s list of leading innovators in journalism and media, and the US-based Poynter Institute for Media Studies’ list of the 35 most influential people in social media.

The finalists will enjoy an all-expenses paid four day programme of workshops, media forums and networking in Johannesburg, South Africa, culminating in a Gala Award Ceremony in October 2016 when the overall winners will be announced.

Tony Maddox, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of CNN International said:

“This year has seen a record number of entries for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards, from a diverse array of countries across the continent. The passion which African journalists display for telling compelling and top class stories knows no bounds. Once more, CNN proudly continues its commitment to encouraging inspired journalistic excellence with these awards.”

All images courtesy of IQ4News

Nigerian players across Europe infographic

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