The first globally-oriented journalism prize aims to set an example to motivate journalists all over the world and to strengthen them in their work. In the 21st century, journalism’s role as an indispensable critical institution for democracy is continually and everywhere being put to the test: freedom of the press is limited, the media is politically controlled, economically instrumentalised, and digitally fragmented. The price for this is high: in many places the loss of a plural and independent representation of events or developments in the media is impacting upon the formation of free and critical opinion. This makes courageous and innovative reporters all the more important, in all societies and countries. It is for them that the True Story Award was created.

The central idea of the prize is to supplement and broaden the predominantly Western view of the world with other perspectives. Due to the nature of media coverage, readers in North America and Europe have a view of the world different to those in the Arab world, Africa and Asia. The prize encourages the broadening of our field of vision through the voices of reporters from different countries.

The True Story Award has no editorial, economic or ideological agenda. It simply hopes to recognise first-class journalism.


The True Story Award is the first global journalism prize. Its aim is to make reporters’ voices known beyond the borders of their home countries, and in doing so to increase the diversity of perspectives offered in the media. The True Story Award will be conferred by an independent foundation and honours reporters writing in 12 languages, who have distinguished themselves by the depth of their research, the quality of their journalism and its social relevance. Fifty jury members from 29 countries will select the 42 best texts of the year and then select a winner. The winner will receive 30 000 Swiss francs in prize money, while the total prize money amounts to 177 000 Swiss francs.

The True Story Award is open to all journalists anywhere in the world who produce written reportage. Works can be submitted in the following 12 languages:

Arabic   العربية
Chinese   中文
English   English
French   Français
German   Deutsch
Hindi   हिन्दी
Italian   Italiano
Japanese   日本語
Persian   فارسی
Portuguese   Português
Russian   Pусский
Spanish   Español

Works written in other languages can be submitted in two categories:


Texts in these categories can be entered in English and go directly to the jury.
Submissions in the original language must include a summary in English of at least 400 words. In this case, native-speaking readers from our network will review the original text and decide on a translation into English for evaluation by the jury.

The True Story Award will be given to the kind of reportage that demonstrates the following qualities: a narrative account of real events, in-depth research on location, rigorously researched facts and linguistic richness. Pure essays, biographies and historical reconstructions are ineligible (although of course something of these can be present in all reportage). The texts’ length should be between 3 000 and 17 000 words.

The jury will evaluate the following aspects of the texts:

  • Research (depth, time expenditure, country-specific circumstances)
  • Quality (craft, truthfulness, narrative elegance)
  • Impact (social, political and economic relevance)

Submissions are open from November 2, 2018 until January 10, 2019. Texts published in print or online between 1.1.2018 and 31.12.2018 are eligible. They may have been published in daily or weekly newspapers, magazines or on websites. Re-published texts, books and manuscripts ineligible.

Texts must be submitted online. Then the three best texts per language/region will be selected by the relevant jury by the end of February 2019. There are 14 language/region juries in all: one for each of the 12 languages represented, and two for texts from other languages translated into English.

Texts must be submitted by their authors.
The submission deadline is Thursday, January 10, 2019, at 12 am (CET).

Prize & Ceremony

The 42 nominated reporters will be invited to the True Story Award ceremony in Bern (flights, accommodation and meals will be covered).

The total prize pool is 177 000 Swiss francs, which is divided as follows: the 42 nominees each receive 3 000 francs. This sum will be personally awarded during the True Story Award ceremony.

The main jury will then select the three best texts from the 42 nominees, who will be rewarded as follows:

  1. prize: 30 000 francs.
  2. prize: 20 000 francs. 
  3. prize: 10 000 francs.

The award ceremony will be held as part of a festival on August 31, 2019, in the Bern Theatre.


The True Story Award is based on an idea and on the initiative of Reportagen magazine. The True Story Award and festival are carried out in close cooperation with the organisation Bern Welcome. The prize will be administered by a specially-created foundation. This foundation will also guarantee the holding of the prize in subsequent years. As soon as the foundation has been set up, it will be announced here.



Premio global de reportaje 2019 en Berna, Suiza

Prix international du Grand Reportage, Berne, 2019

सत्य कथा पुरस्कार

बर्न, स्विटज़रलैंड में प्रथम वैश्विक पत्रकार पुरस्कार 2019

Premio mondiale per Reporter del 2019 a Berna, Svizzera



Prêmio global para repórteres 2019 em Berna, Suíça

Первая международная премия для репортёров 2019 в Берне, Швейцария

جائزة قصة حقيقية

أول جائزة عالمية للمراسلين الصحفيين 2019 في مدينة بيرن بسويسرا

جایزه‌ی داستان واقعی

اولین جایزه‌ی جهانی خبرنگاری ۲۰۱۹ در برن سویس

جائزة قصة حقيقية

أول جائزة عالمية للمراسلين الصحفيين 2019 في مدينة بيرن بسويسرا

جایزه‌ی داستان واقعی

اولین جایزه‌ی جهانی خبرنگاری ۲۰۱۹ در برن سویس