Entries for the European Press Prize have reached a record high, according to chairman of the EPP committee, Peter Preston.
The former Guardian editor put the increase in competition for this year’s awards down to Europe often being at the heart of world news over the last 12 months.
Prizes, each of which are worth €10,000, are awarded for investigation, fine reporting, comment, innovation and exceptional contributions, to any journalist from one of the 49 member states recognised by the Council of Europe.
A panel of judges led by former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans will decide on the winners, announced at a ceremony in Prague next April.
Preston said: “The refugee challenge is one of the dominant stories of our times. But it’s more than an EU story. It involves and affects many countries beyond the union, which is where the prize, embracing all of the 49 member nations, has a unique perspective.
“Journalists in Turkey, Serbia and right across the Balkans are able to chronicle the tide of humanity as it passes through their territories. It’s a story they have followed every step of the way.”
Speaking about how European journalists reported on the terror attacks in Paris this year, he described it as “the challenge to see and define these terrible events in a context of calm resolution”.
Thomas Van Neerbos, the EPP executive director in Amsterdam, said: “This may prove our most exciting year so far. We’re used to seeing the best European-wide investigations, foreign reporting and political comment. That’s part of our DNA.
“But now there’s an added dimension, stories of terror and desperation that have riveted the world. Stories that every editor, like every reader, has to respond to”.
The EPP, which is in its fourth year, is funded by journalism foundations and organisations in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and the Czech Republic.