Founding Director & Editor-In-Chief

January 14, 2020 (Updated )

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment Journo Resources switched from being a passion project on the side to an actual organisation with the capacity to help a lot of people. But, if I had to pick just one, it would be winning Women in Journalism’s Georgina Henry Award in 2018.

I remember every part of the process incredibly clearly, from dumping my application into a group chat of friends mere hours before the deadline, to the shortlisting email coming through in the middle of a business meeting. Reader, it’s safe to say that meeting was a lost cause.

Then all of a sudden, I was at the award ceremony and Nick Ferrari called out my name to say I’d won. I must have looked shell-shocked, as he felt the need to assure me that I didn’t have to say anything to the audience if I didn’t want to. I did, and a lot of my words ended up in entirely the wrong order.

I was handed a cheque for £3,000 right there and then Alan Rusbridger tweeted his congratulations, and Polly Curtis came over to say well done. In short, it felt like I’d stepped through the mirror to a surreal other existence where I wasn’t just playing at running a website in my bedroom.

Journo Resources
“We were like ‘Oh, my god, Laura Kuenssberg just tweeted us.’ I think it was a big place where we started to build brand awareness.”
Laura Garcia, 2019 Winner

It was a similar experience for many other previous winners. “I remember it very clearly: it was the night Laura Kuenssberg tweeted us and said something like, ‘This is a good idea’,” recalls former PressPad co-founder and 2019 winner Laura Garcia.

Last year’s winner, Rachel Charlton-Dailey of The Unwritten, had to be reminded “that I had to actually go on stage to get my award,” before immediately ringing her nana and having a good cry about it.

“Winning the award has completely changed my life, I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t won it,” she tells Journo Resources. “We’re now one of the most talked about disabled media companies in the UK. People know who we are!

“My career has also absolutely skyrocketed, I’m seen as someone in media who makes a change now and is influential in disability matters.”

Apply Here For The 2023 Georgina Henry Award

georgina henry a white woman with short brown hair looks to the cameraApplications for the 2023 prize, once again sponsored by Wiggin LLP, are open until October 15. Entries close at 11:59pm.

You will need to submit up to 800 words on the project you are nominating, which can be at any stage.

A shortlist will be announced ahead of the British Journalism Awards, which are held in London in November.

You can fill out the short form here.

Though the prize has only been running for six years, it’s already produced an impressive cohort of women, both as winners and those who were shortlisted. Laura Bates was the first winner for the groundbreaking Everyday Sexism, Megan Lucero won for her work with Bureau Local, while Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff took the prize for gal-dem, as just one part of their meteoric rise.

But as winners, we believe it’s important to open the gates to the next women. Awards applications in general can be baffling and vague — especially when you’ve got no idea of the standard, or you feel like you’re not part of the club. So, we’ve joined together to give our best advice — as well as release the applications that helped to win it for us.

Here Is The Full Prize On Offer

Now coming into its seventh year, the award was set up to honour Georgina Henry, a founding member of Women in Journalism and former deputy editor of the Guardian. It’s run by Women in Journalism and supported by Wiggin LLP. The total prize fund is some £4,000, though the judges can choose to split it between a winner and a runner-up. But, that’s not all you get.

Alongside the cash, winners are given a place on the Women in Journalism (WiJ) committee, as well as given the honorary title of WiJ Fellow. In short, this means you’ll get a lot of opportunities to meet big names in journalism, both through VIP invites to their events and informal networking and support from their team.

Charlie, a black women with black hair, talks into a microphone while holding a glass trophy.
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff accepts the prize for gal-dem. (Image Credit: The Press Awards)

“It was an important public platform for PressPad,” says Laura, who explains how it helped their work to reach even more people. “Now we’ve won, one of the cool things is that Women in Journalism invite us to a bunch of events, which we have found super, super useful. The contacts we’ve got from the Georgina Henry Awards mostly came after the event, and all kind of build on the same thing.”

It’s not just about the senior people you’ll come across either, with PressPad co-founder Olivia Crellin telling us that the connection between alumni was also “incredibly heartening”, having already run a partnership with gal-dem. “It’s really inspiring and it just gives you a massive boost to keep plugging away,” she adds.

In short, you really should apply for this award. Here also seems like a good place to stress that this really is an open contest. Unlike other awards, there’s no entry fee to apply, and there’s no need to be a ‘big name on Twitter’.

Rachel urges: “Do it! Don’t feel like you’re not big enough to, we’d only been running for five months when I applied!” Similarly, I had also applied before, unsuccessfully. So, put any nagging doubts aside — you have nothing to lose.

Treat The Application Like A Pitch — Prove Your Impact

The criteria for the Georgina Henry Award can seem vague — all you need to submit is an 800-word proposal and three links to your work. On the flip side, this means there’s a lot of scope for different types of projects to enter, as long as it fits the brief of being a ‘journalistic project’ and ‘innovative’.

Journo Resources
“Do it! Don’t feel like you’re not big enough to, we’d only been running for five months when I applied!”
Rachel Charlton-Dailey, 2021 Winner

Judges are looking for an initiative or project — so typically you’ll either be running or proposing something which is more ongoing than just one story. Or, you need to be able to justify why this story is particularly important and wide-reaching.

Current WiJ Chair, Alison Phillips, says: “The Georgina Henry Award is a unique prize in that it recognises and rewards women showing innovation in journalism and who through creativity can make a real difference to the way we operate. We are always on the lookout for exciting ideas which break boundaries within journalism.”

They also want to see evidence of a flair for storytelling and proof of your innovation and/or impact.

It goes without saying that you should also look up Georgina’s work, which will give you an idea of the kind of things the judges are looking for.

Journo Resources
Journo Resources

Rachel, 2021 Winner (L) and Alison, WiJ Chair (R).

“As a journalist, these applications are not dissimilar to pitches,” says Olivia. “You need to be telling someone why, in as concise a way as possible.

“What it is that you do? Why are you guys the right people to deliver that idea? And why is it important now? I would just start by writing down as much as I wanted to and then whittling it down.”

Spend some time thinking about what you’d use the money for too — in my first, unsuccessful application to the awards, I’d written something very long and rambling about what we’d done, and the dozens of things I wanted to do next. However, while your project might have an incredibly broad scope, the judges will be looking for you to hone in on one or two tangible outputs.

“You should be thinking about showing what you can actually deliver for that amount of money,” adds Laura. “[Originally] we started thinking how a little bit goes to this and a little bit goes to that, and a little bit goes over there, but that gets really hard to explain to someone who’s trying to give you money. Narrow it down to a couple of concrete things that you can deliver with that money.”

Journo Resources
“Don’t be afraid to sell yourself and blow your own trumpet, that’s what the judges want to see!”
Rachel Charlton-Dailey, 2021 Winner

Just like any pitch, as well as showing off your idea, the judges will also want to know your background and the impact you’ve had so far — if your idea has already launched.

It’s less about your project fitting within a zeitgeist, but more about proving the need for something like this, and showing that this kind of reporting or organisation doesn’t already exist.

Look for external facts and statistics you can use. For example, both gal-dem and Journo Resources’ applications included industry figures on the lack of diversity in journalism. PressPad used estimated costs for a young person to stay in London for an internship.

If you’re struggling for ideas, you can also look at things like Google Trends, social media commentary, charity campaigns, or other press coverage to back up why your response is needed — and you can also bring in your own personal experiences as well.

an image of a text application with a graph of google searches on the left, on the right is a stylised instagram post from PressPad with a testimonial on it
You can see the full applications below.

If your project has already started, try to show a mixture of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ impacts. Hard impacts are things which are based on numbers — so the number of people who read your story, or the number of people you’ve helped.

Soft impact comprises more personal reactions — perhaps someone has written to you about the impact your reporting has had on them, you’ve had some good endorsements on social media, or someone has got work as a result of your project.

“Don’t be afraid to sell yourself and blow your own trumpet,” summarises Rachel, “That’s what the judges want to see!”

It’s worth adding there that there’s nothing to stop you from proposing an entirely new project — and several have been shortlisted. In this case, judges will still be looking at why it’s needed, as well as a solid plan for how you would go about it, and strong evidence of your past work.

Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something Different

One of the biggest conversations I had before handing in my entry was about what to submit for the three pieces of work. In the end, I decided to take a risk and submit a Twitter thread as one of the three. It worked.

Similarly, for the other applicants, it wasn’t just a case of submitting three pieces of their work. Charlie put together a selection of her favourite pieces they’d published to date, while Laura and Olivia also included a pitch deck and coverage of the project from Nieman Lab.

“We were just trying to show different perspectives which support why we matter,” adds Laura. “Show your range of skills through the application — don’t just hand in a word document, make it pretty. Show that you can do multimedia.” While the form has now changed to a text-entry format, there is still space to upload an appendix or PDF.

Similarly, Olivia agrees that adding photos and graphics can be a strong asset. “We thought adding pictures was a good way of getting across the kind of people that we were helping, and actually showing them. A picture shows 1,000 words you don’t even have to start with.”

Could you show pictures from your reporting or events you’ve done? Do you have screenshots of positive messages or graphics you’ve made for social media? Can you get a grab of the analytics? They all help, and crucially don’t add to your word count.

Finally, and it sounds like an obvious one, but do seek out feedback on your idea and proposal before you hand it in. I dumped mine in a massive Messenger chat to friends, but also consider who else you should be asking. Make sure you send them the award brief for comparison. “I had four friends check mine,” agrees Rachel, “And they all came back with valuable feedback.”

“I think the other thing to consider is that sometimes in a passion project you forget how much assumed knowledge you put in applications,” adds Laura. It sounds obvious when you think about it, but also highlights the importance of sending the application to someone outside your team.

Ideally, you want someone with no background in your project, so they can point out flaws you might have missed. And, while we’re at it, speak to us! All of us are more than happy to have a chat about your ideas or give feedback. This award is an amazing opportunity for women of all ages, and we can’t wait to see who applies next.

You can apply to the Women in Journalism Georgina Henry Award here, until October 15, 2023.

Jem Collins
Jem Collins

Jem is the founder and editor of Journo Resources. She set up the site in her bedroom in 2016 and now works on the project full-time (still from her bedroom though). She is the winner of The Georgina Henry Award, The Sutton Trust’s Alumni Award for Social Impact and WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards.

Outside of Journo Resources, she has freelanced for a range of national outlets including the i Paper, and PinkNews. She is also trying to swim in every outdoor pool in the UK and look after her toothless rescue cat Swirls.