Unlikely Stories of Reconciliation Contest


Beyond War Northwest, in partnership with The Register Guard and the UO–UNESCO Crossings Institute for Conflict-Sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue, is pleased to announce

An Invitation to Students

to Enter a Contest for Writing 

Unlikely Stories of Reconciliation

This contest challenges students to investigate, research, and write a short (500-1500 words) piece of journalism reporting on an unlikely story of reconciliation. Successful stories will illuminate changes in understanding and attitudes of the parties who have resolved conflicts in order to achieve reconciliation. These stories could involve reconciliations that range from those focused on politics and institutions (from the local to the international) to those that are more centered on the interpersonal.

Beyond War Northwest will provide $1,000 in contest prize money: $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. The awards will be granted by the collaborators above, and winning entrant reports will be published in The Register Guard.

We invite students to investigate a reconciled conflict; to describe the conflict, what changed, what worked, and what it took for the resolution or reconciliation to happen. This investigation should consider a number of related questions including:

  • What happened to the relationships involved in a conflict?
  • What components of the issues changed?
  • How did people reconcile the issue?
  • What effect did this reconciliation have on the people or groups involved?

Successful stories should also consider the concept of conflict sensitive reporting (described below) that guides the UO – UNESCO Crossings Institute.

“Working from curricula developed by UNESCO and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Crossings Institute training in conflict-sensitive reporting begins with acknowledgement that conflict is a critical element of most news reporting.  Too often journalists assigned to report on conflict find it framed by the combatants as a simple us against them story.  That rarely is the case. Rather, conflict in news stories is multifaceted – and its causes and solutions are complex.  Learning to report on conflict with a point of view oriented to what may be a solution rather than a simplistic who-wins-and-who-loses perspective can result in informative and constructive journalism of social value.  Conflict-sensitive reporting training investigates how journalists tend to cover conflicts as simple dichotomies and why a more nuanced approach may result in more interesting and responsible journalism than the black and white type that often typifies conflict reportage.  Such training investigates how news reports can unintentionally exacerbate conflict and how conflict-sensitive reporting can influence parties at odds to seek common ground and, ultimately, solutions to conflicts.”


  • This contest is open to all currently enrolled University of Oregon students.
  • Submissions should consist of written journalism investigating and describing an unlikely story of reconciliation.
  • Submission length: 500-1500 words.
  • Deadline: April 21st, 2017.
  • Submissions may be individually written or co-authored. If co-authored, any prize money will be divided between the authors as they see fit.
  • $1,000 in prize money will be divided between the top three finalists – 1st Place: $500, 2nd Place: $300, 3rd Place: $200.
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be chosen by a panel of judges at a time TBA (expected date will be in mid-May).
  • Judges for the contest will include a representative from each collaborating organization.
  • All three finalists will have their stories printed in The Register Guard.
  • Finalists are invited to attend an official award ceremony in late May, the details of which are TBA
  • Please submit an electronic copy of your story to Professor Steven Shankman, UNESCO Chair, Co-Director University of Oregon Crossings Institute: shankman@uoregon.edu
  • For answers to any additional questions regarding the contest, please contact Zane Hager: zkh@uoregon.edu