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Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship 2021, Round Two

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Application Deadline:27 June 2021,

The East-West Center and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, in partnership with the Stimson Center, are pleased to launch a second and final round of fellowships to journalists from Mekong  countries. The fellowship provides fellows with the opportunity to develop data journalism skills and support data-driven investigations into water security challenges and solutions in the Mekong region.   

Launched in early 2021, the Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship is an eight-month program providing journalists skills they need to turn data into powerful news stories that reflect the threats and potential solutions facing the Mekong River and 70 million people it supports.   

Two rounds of the fellowships are offered to journalists based in the Mekong River Basin, which covers Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Round Two fellows will be selected from journalists who apply to this call for applications. Learn more about Round One Fellows here. If you applied last time and were not selected, we strongly encourage you to try again this time. For Round Two, 20 journalists will be selected  to explore water security issues along the Mekong River Basin.    


Approach & Format   

The round-two Fellowship will take place from August to November 2021. We expect to name 20 Fellows with US$3,000 in individual grants to cover labour and story production.   

All Fellows will receive training and professional mentorship from Earth Journalism Network and East-West Center media experts to help them develop and implement their project successfully. They will also learn how to use the datasets available on the Stimson Center’s Mekong Infrastructure Tracker and Mekong Dams Monitor, online platforms that monitor development and their economic, ecological and social impacts.   

Fellows must commit to participating in the full length of the Fellowship program, which will include two days of virtual seminars and 40 hours of scheduled face-to-face virtual data journalism training. They will be required to undertake assignments and self-study through pre-recorded video tutorials and assignments, which will require up to an additional 40 hours separate from the live training sessions.   

Language & Language Support 

Our data journalism training will be offered in two different language options. The English-language training (with Burmese language support option) will be led by Thibi, a Singapore-based data and design consultancy with experience in supporting data storytelling in newsrooms across Southeast Asia. The Khmer-language training will be led by Open Development Cambodia, an organization leading open data platform in Cambodia and striving to ensure public access to information and improving the data ecosystem. Internews Data Journalism Advisor, Eva Constantaras, will provide overall support to both trainings. 

Eligibility   

  • Applicants must be nationals of one of the following countries: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand or Vietnam.    
  • As the data journalism training courses will be conducted in English (with Burmese language support) or Khmer, applicants can select which language option training they want to join in the application form. They must be proficient in the language taught in the course and have some basic English skill to understand some English-language training materials that will be provided during the course. We will only be accepting applications in English, Burmese or Khmer language.   
  • We are seeking journalists (online, print, television, radio, multimedia) and other expert media practitioners with 2-3 years of journalism experience, preferably including reporting on environmental issues in the Mekong region and with an interest in applying data journalism in their work. We do not require applicants to have prior data journalism experience.   
  • We encourage applications from freelancers and staff of all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based. Freelance journalists will need to guarantee publication/broadcast and should identify the media outlet(s) through which they plan to distribute their stories.    

  • Applicants must commit to joining 2 days of virtual seminars; one will be held prior to the launch of the training at the end of July, another in the middle of the training period.   
  • Applicants must commit to participating in 40 hours of live data journalism training in addition to completing up to 20 hours of video tutorials and up to 20 hours of assignments. The trainings will be held between August and mid-September, with three hour class sessions two to three times a week. Stories are expected to be published before the end of November.   
  • We require production and publication of data-driven content following the training. We expect each Fellow to produce at least one in-depth story in any format (print, online, audio, broadcast).   
  • Fellows may be asked to use datasets from the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker and Mekong Dam Monitor to produce their data-driven stories.    

What you will get in return   

  • US$3000 per fellow to compensate for your time and cover story production and any costs related to the training or reporting. Fellows will receive the grant in instalments and will need to manage spending themselves.   
  • Virtual, interactive seminars with global and regional experts on water security issues and river management and their impact on the environment and local communities.   
  • Free 40-hour live data journalism training and up to 40 hours of video tutorials and self-study materials. Each class will proceed from the one before so selected Fellows will need to commit to join each one. Fellows will be required to spend time outside the training hours to complete assignments and self-study.    
  • One-on-one mentorship from a senior journalist throughout the story production process.   
  • Opportunity to network with regional journalists and experts and build up source lists.   

Benefits

  1. A staff reporter data journalism skills, knowledge of Mekong river sustainability and access to credible sources.    
  2. At least one in-depth data-driven story on Mekong river sustainability, including interactive graphics.   
  3. A region-wide, transboundary, collaborative special reporting project with the potential for content sharing.   
  4. Support for distribution and story promotion through the partnering organizations.   

NOTE: This Fellowship requires participants to commit a considerable amount of time throughout the training. If you find it difficult to convince your supervisor to let you apply for the Fellowship, we can help by contacting your supervisor to explain the benefits of the program.   

Official Website: Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship

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