The best projects from the fifth Communication Lab, “The New Global – cooperation for the future”, were honoured at a virtual award ceremony on 2 September 2022. Twice a year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the International Journalists’ Programmes award cash prizes for innovative science communication projects.
Migratory diseases, political upheavals and resource dependency threaten the notion of international cooperation. How can we counteract this? And what role do science and the media play in crafting a common future? In the laudations, the Humboldt Foundation’s Deputy Secretary General, Thomas Hesse, praised the innovative journalistic work that showcases, in particular, collaboration between researchers and local initiatives in the fields of climate protection, migration and sustainable energy production. Hesse emphasised, “We have to challenge ourselves if we are to really understand the complexity of a world on the move.” He encouraged the participants to continue their efforts to find stories that point to new forms of global cooperation and deliver important examples of best practice for other regions of the world.
The external jury comprising Ulrike Winkelmann (editor-in-chief, taz), Alok Jha (science correspondent, The Economist) and Jens Radü (managing editor, DER SPIEGEL) as well as Georg Scholl (head of the Humboldt Foundation’s Press, Communications and Marketing Division) selected the four best project ideas. They impressed the jury by the originality of their topics, the appealing way in which they interwove facts and storytelling as well as the appropriateness of their approach to addressing their chosen target groups.
The prizes for the four most successful pieces go to:
- the journalist Carl Smith (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and the data specialist Mirela Tulbure (Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University) for their audio documentary “Meet the communities using their own backyards to try to tame the next big flood” about grassroot communities that have teamed up with scientists to prevent disastrous flooding,
- the journalist Amie Liebowitz (BBC) and the geographer Elisabeth Gruber (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) for a story pitch about a municipality in Austria that is breaking new ground in helping refugees and integrating them in the tourism sector.
- the journalist Martina Weber (freelancer) and the sustainability researcher Veeresh Anehosur (Nunam) for their radio play “The E-E-Room (The Energy-Emergency-Room)” about the global dimensions of second-life use of lithium batteries.
- The special award goes to the journalist Trisha Dantiani (CNN Indonesia) and the media scientist Mengdi Tao (Tsinghua University, Beijing) for their project “Refugee Reels” that examines the experience of young refugees in Indonesia through Instagram.
The journalist Lisbeth Schröder and the sociologist Amadeo Gandolfo received an honourable mention for their project “Drawing for health - how making a comic can help to cope with mental problems” – a fanzine combining testimonies by people affected, scientific facts, and comics on the topic of mental health problems.
On a regular basis, the Humboldt Foundation offers ten of its sponsorship recipients the opportunity to work on a socially-relevant current topic together with alumni/alumnae of the International Journalists’ Programmes. The next online Communication Lab will be held on 28-29 October and 4-5 November 2022 and will focus on Resource Scarcity.