Category: Opportunities


Five Open Society Fellowships in Investigative Reporting are available each year for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Each fellowship will last for 18 months, consisting of 12 months’ study, 6 months’ internship and attendance at two international investigative journalism conferences (one in South African and one in the USA).

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Fwd: Thomson Reuters Foundation: Reporting Rural Poverty and Agricultural Development Workshop

Deadline: 2 January 2019
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is inviting journalists for its Reporting Rural Poverty and Agricultural Development workshop.
In order to ensure the daily issues faced by rural poor people and their communities are acknowledged, it is important that their stories are heard and their voices are amplified. With funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the specialised UN agency, they will bring together journalists from around the world to attend this workshop aimed to enable journalists to tell the story of rural development.

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The International Center for Journalists is now seeking entries for the 2019 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling. We’d be delighted if you could share our open call for nominations with your network –– or let us know if you have a great nominee who meets the criteria. Of course, we encourage you to apply as well! The application deadline is Sunday, December 2, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. EST. 
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Poverty, one of the greatest menace affecting the world today, has been the bane of every country’s existence. It goes beyond the lack of income or resources for survival and delves deeper into infrastructural and even mental facilities. People live in poverty if they lack basic services such as healthcare, security and education. Also, if hunger, social discrimination and exclusion from decision-making processes are among the experiences of a people, then they are living in poverty. The task to end poverty in all its forms is the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) of the UN. Although extreme poverty has been cut by more than half since 2000, facts have it that more than 780 million people still live below the International Poverty Line of US$1.90 per day. Even though progress has been made in many countries within Eastern and South-eastern Asia, up to 42% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to live below the poverty line. In a report by the Brookings Institution, data from the World Poverty Clock show that Nigeria now has over 87 million people living in poverty. The number of people living in penury has skyrocketed as a result of the rising gap in the distribution of resources in the country. However, the basic cause of poverty in Nigeria is the absence of an environment capable of liberating the people from the shackles of poverty, better their standard of living and provide means of supporting them. Hence, for the first SDG, ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’, to be achieved, individuals, governments, organisations and the media should work towards it. The quest to eradicate poverty cannot be achieved alone by the U.N; every individual has a role to play and so does the media. The media being the fourth estate of the realm are saddled with the task of not only informing the people but also enlightening and stimulating them to action. It plays a vital role in informing the public about local, national and global events. It serves as a powerful tool for shaping public opinion. National changes often come about after a sustained media campaign which raises public awareness and also stirs national debates.Thus, it is in the hands of the media to foster the achievement of SDG1 in Nigeria and Africa. A concept that recognises the crucial role of the media and Information and communication technogies in creating activities that will contribute to the the achievement of the SDGs is the concept of “Knowledge Societies”. According to UNESCO, it is based on the principles of freedom of expression, universal access to information and knowledge, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity and quality education for all. The U.N says that the media can play a major role in developing public understanding of economic, social and environmental issues which are the three pillars of sustainable development. The media can also provide ample room for people who have experienced poverty to have a voice and share their views. This they can do, according to the U.N, by informing a wide range of audiences about poverty reduction issues and also provide an open forum to air the views and concerns of people living in vulnerable situations. This ability is not restricted to the traditional media alone as the new media also offers many opportunities for achieving SDG1. In a 2017 conference, the U.N asked, “How can the international community best harness the power of the media? “. This shows that the U.N recognises that there are a plethora of “opportunities for the media to play a strategic role for eradicating poverty” and one of which is to inform the people about poverty through the dissemination of information featuring those who have truly experienced it. The New media has a fast-growing potential to spur people to action. Its multimedia-sharing ability is a bonus to the information-sharing role of the media. For instance, during the Syrian civil war in 2016, an image of a Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, who drowned while leaving Syria for Greece surfaced on the Internet. Many people disseminated the image through their social media handles and it received much attention. By sharing this image, money was raised for the Syrian refugees and this helped in alleviating their problems. Social media gives a voice to those who have lived in poverty by creating public platforms to spread experience. According to the University of Namibia, this way, the media affords individuals and communities the possibility to become active in the development process by using social media platforms as safe spaces for discussion. Over time, this is generating “long-term suitability and sustainability” for poverty reduction. Traditional media should increase their reportage on poverty by carrying straight news reports, feature stories, discussion programmes and every other media-related activity that can help achieve this goal. It is advised that the media should concern themselves more with human-interest events, but au contraire, political issues are treated with more significance. Poverty is usually given little coverage time via traditional media sources. Many media organisations give more attention to political skirmishes instead of focusing on what really affects the people. Although, social media to an extent has succeeded in playing this role effectively more than the traditional media, not everyone has access to such information as a result of the digital divide which restricts internet access. Hence, it is necessary that the driving philosophy of African journalism be restructured to focus more on developments. That is, you should have a human-centric and rights-based approach to your journalism profession. If this is done, then more attention would be given to development issues and the trifling issues which the media have currently made significant, would be relegated to the background. As a media practitioner, you should not undervalue reports on poverty. You should always endeavour to report what bothers the people. The U.N has it that giving “little recognition to those who have lived in poverty, ultimately plays a role in distorting public perception and negatively influencing policies about poverty reduction”. The people should know what goes on around them especially on development. One thing that restricts the media from achieving this is ownership/sponsorship ties. That is, when a medium has ties with a particular sponsor, it tends to hinge its coverage on whatever the sponsor or owner deems fit for reportage. This may hinder the media from reporting on those who play a role in increasing poverty, e.g public officers who embezzle money, especially if such a person has a big role to play in the organization. Hence, commodification of media contents should be mitigated, if not eradicated. When money saunters in, a medium may shift its ground on the right report to cover and instead of covering what bothers the people, they either focus on trivialities or cover-up for the bad masterminds. This balls down to you sticking to what is right always and not what the pocket says is right. The media is at the convergence of practicable tools and innovations that can be used for a sustainable future, hence, we must contribute to the alleviation of poverty in Africa by bringing basic services to people living in vulnerable situations including the aged, the physically challenged and every other indigenous person.   If you adopt these tips, then the goal of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere would be achieved- one step at a time