Chairman Jonathan Friendly oversaw the last program hiatus during the 20th anniversary year
Alfred Friendly Press Partners is taking a yearlong hiatus to reevaluate its international journalism fellowship program and plan for its 40th anniversary in spring 2024.
The nonprofit organization provides young journalists, primarily from developing countries, with hands-on training from experts at the Missouri School of Journalism and months of real-world experience working on the staffs of innovative U.S. newsrooms.
The rise of authoritarian states, state capture of media, the growth of misinformation and disinformation, increasing attacks on journalists and pressures on financial sustainability are all existential threats to a free press. The pandemic accelerated news media restructuring, and the use of generative artificial intelligence adds to the industry’s uncertain future.
Journalism philanthropy is also going through a transition that affects independent nonprofits like Alfred Friendly that get no direct government support and depend on donations and grants to operate.
The Alfred Friendly Foundation wants to ensure the training program adapts to the new conditions and meets its mission to uplift journalism around the world.
Alfred Friendly Press Partners took a similar break two decades ago when foundation Chairman Jonathan Friendly and Director Susan Albrecht traveled around the world to meet with past Fellows and study how needs of the developing world’s newsrooms had changed since the program’s inception.
In 2004, they visited 50 alumni, potential applicants and newsroom executives in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Lagos and New Delhi. They returned convinced of the need for a new program model — one that relies on long-term relationships with the international home newsrooms and one that recognizes how American newsrooms have changed with falling revenues and the addition of new digital media outlets.
Today, the impact of the pandemic lingers as newsrooms continue to limit office operations and reporters and editors work remotely much of the time.
In addition, fellowship applicants increasingly want training beyond basic journalism.
They often want to learn about new revenue models for media, cross-border collaborations, investigative reporting and skills in areas like business, health, climate and conflict resolution.
In a recent survey, alumni and supporters affirmed that the combination of top-caliber hands-on training and lengthy in-person newsroom experience with mentorship is what sets the Alfred Friendly fellowship program apart from any other program in the world.
But some suggested that the program should do more to take advantage of positive trends in journalism today, including:
the rise in nonprofit news media outlets that focus on investigative reporting;
the increase in big data leaks and whistleblowing;
the expansion of cross-border collaborative journalism with radical sharing, set in motion by the Panama Papers project run by a former Alfred Friendly fellow;
ubiquitous video conferencing, which allows the program to pivot to online programming when necessary.
Alfred Friendly will continue to seek advice from supporters and welcomes input from anyone who shares our mission to improve the quality of journalism worldwide.
Protesters block Rustaveli Avenue outside Georgia’s parliament building in March
By Khatia Shamanauri, Alfred Friendly Class of 2020
Exactly a year ago, in a local Welsh pub in Cardiff, a friend of my housemate asked me a seemingly harmless question: “Which Georgia are you from – American Georgia, or Russian Georgia?”
This person, I realize now, could not imagine that associating us with our nemesis neighbor could rouse anger and protest in anyone. But still.
“Seriously, Russian Georgia?” I asked back. He seemed surprised, but didn’t step back and repeated again, “Yes, Russian.”
This exchange enraged me so much that I kept telling it to my foreign friends, expressing concern about how someone dared to mention the word “Russian” when referring to my country. Although some of them shared my attitude, many didn’t understand why it was so emotional for me.
The massive, successful street protests in Georgia this week clearly demonstrated to the entire world how most Georgians react to anything that starts with the word “Russian”, be it an influence, a draft law, propaganda or war.
Khatia during her fellowship, 2020
This time, Georgians were protesting the ruling party’s decision to back a Russian-style draft law. It would require non-government organizations and independent media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from outside Georgia to register as “foreign agents.” Otherwise, they would face huge fines and even imprisonment.
The move was met with widespread condemnation from Georgia’s western partners, who asserted that the law is not compatible with the European Union standards and values and would negatively affect the country’s chances of joining the EU.
By distancing itself from Europe, Georgia could end up in Russia’s orbit. But the sense among Georgians is that we will never accept a return to our dark Soviet past. Through centuries, this sense of independence has never changed. Perhaps it is what brought a small country with fewer than four million residents to become, and remain, a sovereign nation.
Rustaveli Avenue in central Tbilisi, where thousands gathered against the Russian-style law, has long been the epicenter of massive protests. I can’t recall how many times I’ve stood there — sometimes to defend the downtrodden, sometimes to protest the government’s policy or a particular decision. But the spirit of demonstrations against Russian influence is easily recognizable and they always stand out. The scale of anti-Russian protests in Georgia is always remarkable. No matter how large and heavy is the cloud of tear gas that settles over the main avenue, people are always determined to remain there until the final victory is achieved.
Each protest banner tells a unique story. These days, you could see women holding banners that said they were there for their children’s bright future. “Lui, I’m here. You should remember where your mom stood! For freedom!”
Some young people asked a rhetorical question: Why are Georgians supposed to go to Moscow when people travel to Mars in the modern world?
Banners of introverts complained that they were forced to stand with a bunch of strangers due to the dire situation facing Georgia.
The protestor’s sign says: “You can’t lie to us! We will continue the fight until Europe!”
A sign referring to a currently occupied region of Georgia was one of many that caught my eye: “In 1992 my parents fled Abkhazia and came to Ukraine. Russia ruined their lives twice.”
Another sign from a Russian citizen who fled the country after the Ukraine war: “I am from Russia and this is what I escaped from. Fight!”
Indeed, Georgians were determined to fight, and it took only two days until victory was achieved. After the second restless night, disappointed that I was sick and had to stay home, I woke up to the news that the ruling party withdrew the draft law.
This marks the latest victory for the Georgian people, but nobody has the illusion that there will be no more obstacles. Moreover, everyone here will tell you that despite wars, annexation and occupation throughout its history, Georgia has never been a part of Russia. Culturally, it has always belonged to the European family and this will never change.
Khatia Shamanauri, center with Ukrainian-blue hair dye, participates in one of many protests in central Tbilisi
Fellowship training facilitated reporter’s transition from print news
“So Far, India’s Ballistic Missiles Have Been Nuclear Weapon Carriers. Now, It Plans A Rocket Force Tipped With Conventional Warheads. Can It Deter An Aggressive China?”
“India’s Election Commission Has Proposed A Mechanism To Help Migrants Vote From Where They Are … By A Remote Voting Machine. Can India’s Migrant Vote Bank Swing The Elections?”
These are the headlines for two of the short documentaries that Gulam Jeelani produced in February for News9 Plus, news stories streamed over the internet using the OTT, over-the-top format.
“It was not an easy decision to switch from print/digital to video storytelling,” said Jeelani, who worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune during his fellowship in 2018, funded by the Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation. “But gradually I realized, the basics remain the same. All you need is to focus on visuals more here. Obviously, the multimedia training at Alfred Friendly helped me.”
Before going to U.S. newsrooms for five months, Jeelani and his fellowship classmates participated in three weeks of hands-on training at the Missouri School of Journalism, including multimedia lessons that ended with them producing their own short videos.
OTT platforms stream videos through the internet, going over the top of traditional services like satellite and cable TV. News9 launched the service last March — a first for India’s news media. Jeelani said more than 150,000 people so far have downloaded the app to use the service, and the company plans to soon make it subscription-based.
TV9 CEO Barun Das said in the launch announcement that the English news television space in India has shrunk dramatically over the past few years in viewership and revenue. “So, it seemed obvious to us that this English-speaking audience —often the early adapters — are waiting for an OTT news service.”
“Newspapers have always subsidized the reader and TV news channels are mostly free to air. Hence, we have lived with tremendous pressure on ad revenue,” Das added. “On the other hand, consumers have just about started paying for digital news.”
Jeelani worked at India Today and Money Control before last summer when he joined News9. “In my role here, I pitch, report, write the script and produce stories,” he said.
India now requires voters to cast ballots in the hometowns where they are registered, but some 30 million of them — one-third of the electorate — are considered “domestic migrants” because they work away from their hometowns. Studies show large numbers of them don’t make the effort to vote.
“Rolling out the voting machines is not going to be easy for the election commission,” Jeelani says in his on-camera commentary.
Jeelani got the green-light to produce the rocket story after India’s purchase of more than 100 short-range ballistic missiles to be placed near the border with China — a move intended to increase its preparedness for a potential military conflict with its well-armed neighbor.
Al Jazeera published a series of Jha’s macroeconomic analyses in its section called The Big Question. Each includes a boxed paragraph called The Short Answer, such as this one from Jha about the rich:
“Many countries adopt policies such as tax breaks and financial incentives for businesses to boost economies amid crises like the pandemic. Central banks flood the economy with money to make it easier to lend and spend. This helps the wealthy grow their money through financial market investments. But widening inequality is not unavoidable.”
Explanatory journalism puts more emphasis on the “how” and “why” of the basic news story, going beyond the “who, what, when and where” answers to help readers understand issues and events as they unfold.
After the advanced reporting lessons from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and at the Missouri School of Journalism, the fellows practice their craft while working for months in U.S. newsrooms: Nikhil and Jha at the Los Angeles Times, Garcia at the Miami Herald and Singh at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Chencho Dema, who worked for a public broadcasting station in Kansas City during the fellowship, got a new job at a bigger news outlet after her return to Bhutan in 2022. She wrote a story this month that looked into the lack of female political candidates in her country.
“There are 17 candidates who have registered to contest the upcoming NC elections from Gasa, Punakha, and Wangduephodrang as of January 27,” Dema wrote. “However, all of them are men except the member of parliament … who decided to recontest.”
Her article included a startling pie chart showing that 93.6 percent of candidates for top offices from 2008 to 2023 were men. (She learned data visualization skills in the Missouri journalism school).
While working at the digital investigative news outlet WisconsinWatch, Tanka Dhakal spent more than a month reporting what turned out to be a story of more than 3,000 words about an environmental problem in the Great Lakes.
After returning to Nepal, Dhakal wrote a story for NepalCheck’s Explainer section, with this subhead from the digital fact-checking website: “We explain difficult-to-understand issues in easy-to-understand ways.”
Dhakal’s story explained the four biggest environmental and climate change challenges the new government faces:
“For an impoverished and disaster-prone country like Nepal, where about 80 percent of the population lives under risk of natural and climate-induced hazards, both good governance and economic growth are intertwined with environmental issues. However, previous governments don’t seem to have understood this. Most of the government programmes and plans don’t account for the impacts of climate change and other environmental risks. For example, the Melamchi drinking water project was severely impacted by an extreme weather event, unforeseen by its planners.”
Saurav Rahman, another member of the Class of 2022 and one of the OCCRP Fellows, recently launched a fact-checking and research outlet in Bangladesh called Dismislab. A recent item in the Bengali-language website showed how videos of earthquake damage in Turkey shown on television in Bangladesh were actually filmed in 2017.
NepalCheck was founded last year by another alumnus from the Alfred Friendly fellowship program, Deepak Adhikari.
Saurav Rahman during certificate ceremony
Rahman wrote in his final evaluation of the program that the fellowship “is the best thing that has happened in my journalism career,” while Dhakal said it “wasan eye opener for me to know how to develop the story idea and do reporting in depth.”
Singh wrote, “The Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship completely transformed my career as I have gained ample skills throughout the program, results of which I have got more confidence to deal with the challenges and make decisions related to my stories and professional work.”
Jha wrote, “The hands-on experience that I got in the fellowship has added to my critical thinking skills, while helping me become a business journalist who can empathize with a common reader when it comes to writing complex economic stories.”
News media and human rights groups condemned the arrest of a Pakistani journalist accused of aiding Ahmad Noorani’s reporting on assets amassed by Pakistan’s army chief.
Shahid Aslam was arrested at his home in Lahore. Aslam participated in an Alfred Friendly investigative reporting workshop in Islamabad in 2015 and applied for a fellowship in subsequent years. He now works for Bol news, which originally published this photo
Shahid Aslam, a reporter for Bol News, was jailed on Jan. 13 and charged with sharing leaked personal tax data of Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family.
“The arrest of Shahid Aslam by the military-led government was absolutely wrong,” said Noorani, an Alfred Friendly fellow in 2020.
Aslam also denied providing Noorani with the leaked documents revealing that the family of Pakistan’s most powerful military chief accumulated nearly $56 million during his six years in office.
Noorani developed the FactFocus investigative journalism outlet at the Missouri School of Journalism during his Alfred Friendly fellowship.
Pakistani authorities blocked access to Noorani’s website inside the country for a day and ordered an investigation into the leak of the personal financial documents. Noorani, who now lives outside Pakistan, has also been charged by the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) with taking confidential tax information illegally.
Aslam, an accomplished investigative journalist who has written articles critical of the FIA in the past, was released on bond on Jan. 19. The Pakistan Press Foundation said it “strongly condemns” the arrest of Aslam in connection with a Fact Focus investigative story.
“As stated in court, Aslam was asked to share his laptop password,” the foundation said. “This is a blatant violation of the recently enacted Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021 that guarantees the privacy of journalists’s works and sources.”
As he was being escorted out of a court hearing and flanked by reporters, Aslam could be heard vowing that he would never reveal his password.
The press foundation said, “The arrest of the journalist is a clear attack on press freedom and violates Aslam’s rights to report without the fear of consequences. “It is a chilling example for other journalists showcasing the wrath of the state when a journalist investigates those in power.”
The Association of Electronic Media Editors also condemned Aslam’s arrest and said he was “being tortured to know his sources.”
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the arrest not only restricted Aslam’s freedom of expression, but “such tactics set the dangerous precedent of obstructing the work of investigative journalists.”
Human Rights Watch warned, “Space for free expression and dissent in Pakistan is rapidly shrinking.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists said Pakistani authorities should allow the media to freely and independently report on military officials.
“The arrest of reporter Shahid Aslam underscores the dangerous environment for journalists in Pakistan,” Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator said.
In a Facebook post after his release, Aslam wrote, “The journey of speaking truth to power and exposing powerful ruling elite will be continued even if the road is ‘tough and rough.’ Journalists of this country will keep informing its people about truths and facts ignoring the consequences attached to this cause because #journalismisnotacrime.”
During my Alfred Friendly fellowship, I spent ten months as part of the data team at The Marshall Project, a news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Coming from an environment where we mainly relied on spreadsheets and off-the-shelf tools for visualization, I thought doing data journalism with Python full-time would be like using spreadsheets on steroids. I was wrong.
Anastasia Valeeva of Russia was an Alfred Friendly Fellow in 2022, sponsored by the TRACE Foundation. This article is republished from Source, is an OpenNews project designed to amplify the impact of journalism code and the community of developers, designers, journalists, and editors who make it.
A journalist who codes can:
Find not just one, but multiple stories, by setting up a database;
Ensure that their process is easier to replicate and faster than manual work;
Know which projects need code, a data pipeline, or even a team—and which ones will work just fine in a good old spreadsheet.
I learned that coding can change the very journalism we do, and here is how:
Two brains are better than one
Journalists don’t often share unfinished drafts when they’re writing, let alone watch each other write them in real time. With coding, this somehow turned out to be the most liberating practice. I would watch my colleagues search for solutions, adapt a copy-pasted Stack Overflow answer. Often they would fail, and have to try again. It was like peeking behind the scenes of the magic show—which suddenly looks much less like magic and much more like a craft.
Googling for just the right code snippet, discussing why things don’t work as expected, or even just having another pair of eyes on the code turns out to be helpful. Writing code with others watching you might make you feel clumsy at first, but it gets more empowering as you go. For a data journalist who was just switching to code, this was an invaluable exercise.
For journalists who work as a single-person data desk, struggling with code on their own, finding that extra pair of eyes might involve reaching out to a friend or peer somewhere else. (Editor’s note: If you work solo, you can reach out to programs like Peer Data Review or find lots of people to connect with in journalism Slack communities like Lonely Coders’ Club, the Journalists of Color Slack, or News Nerdery.)
However it comes together, having a team—and even better, a data editor—can take your performance to another level. It lets you brainstorm methodologies and discuss alternative technologies; screen share when you are stuck; let people specialize in different directions, be it databases or design; refactor code so that it’s clean and smart; have somebody actually review your code; and let others pick up your code or re-use it in new projects.
This actually happened to me because my fellowship ended before the last story I was working on was published. Because there was code and a readme file, my colleagues could continue right from where I stopped (and I hope they did not have too much of a headache!).
Data projects can generate many stories at a time
Coding facilitates “generative journalism,” a concept pioneered at places like ProPublica, L.A. Times, and NPR.
Imagine a big, multi-faceted database that encompasses a system as a whole and allows one to run a practically infinite number of queries that test numerous hypotheses. This requires more effort at the beginning stage, scraping data from sometimes hard-to-scrape websites, elaborating a way to clean and join it together, documenting the process. But once this is done, the database turns into a trove of stories.
One example of such a trove would be Testify, a project spearheaded by my colleague Ilica Mahajan, where tens of thousands of court records are used to investigate the outcomes of the court system in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, from the racial demographics of defendants to voting for judges to the courts’ revolving door for defendants with prior charges. Or it could be releasing the data behind the story for exploration by other newsrooms, like these interactive tables that let you see if police in your state reported crime data to the FBI, a followup to a national story by Weihua Li.
In my time with The Marshall Project, we cleaned and categorized data about ARPA spending that helped us zoom out for a national overview and zoom in on localgovernments, for many kinds of geographic comparisons and thematic angles.
A processing pipeline speeds up your work
Another term used by the data team was “pipeline thinking,” preached by Marshall Project data editor David Eads. Journalists are used to “gathering string”, but working with data means embracing a coding mentality and thinking backward from the desired result. Journalists who start to write code often have to learn how to think like coders, which means thinking backward from the desired result. Pipeline thinking is designing your scripts from Z to A before working your way through them.
That’s where technologies that can speak to each other come in. At The Marshall Project, a commonly used combo is Python to load and prepare data, AWS to store it in the cloud using S3, and Observable notebooks to run analysis and sketch data visualizations. All of this are linked through a makefile into an automated pipeline. We also used a self-hosted API powered by Hasura (for interactive database queries), or Google Sheets and Airtable for hand-built databases.
Just like with generative journalism, an automated data pipeline involves investing in a project upfront. But as a reward, you are able to go faster and feel more confident at the end. Plus, if your dataset gets changed completely—which is not rare—you can re-run the whole analysis with one command.
For me, having a data pipeline was particularly helpful when we were visualizing a survey of U.S. sheriffs and could update the underlying data as many times as needed, playing with the format or wording, and still have dozens of visualizations in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes the right tool for the job is the simple one
Coding makes data journalism replicable, scalable, and innovative. This said, let’s not underestimate the value of the table software and off-the-shelf tools.
For some reason I thought that I’d be switching to a code environment for good, and I was wrong here, too. In fact, low-tech solutions are never off the table, for so many reasons: the need for manual input, editing, or vetting of the data; working with small datasets; using data visualization software for simple charts to save time for interactive customized products.
It is never about coding just for the sake of coding, after all. It is about coding that makes your journalism faster, bigger, and smarter.
Special thanks to David Eads for editing this piece.
It’s typical for Alfred Friendly graduates to attain more substantial roles in journalism after returning home, but the Class of 2022 is in a class of its own.
In December and January, four of the Fellows landed better jobs: Gagandeeop Singh of India joined BBC News, Anastasia Valeeva of Russia started at Newsday, Chencho Dema moved to a bigger newspaper in Bhutan and Daniela Castro was named Latin America editor for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
Saurav Rahman published Bangladesh’s first data journalism handbook in his native language three months after his return. In January, he launched a digital media outlet in Bengali — Dismislab.com — aimed at counteracting misinformation and disinformation.
“Alfred Friendly fellowships bring fact-based journalism to the world,” said Professor Randall Smith, who is president of Alfred Friendly Press Partners. “As the fellows rise in prominence, they will reach thousands, perhaps millions, of readers and listeners in their home countries.
“Consider that these fellows have at least a 30-year career horizon,” Smith said. “And many are already using the fellowship experience to train their colleagues.”
Rahman called his OCCRP Investigative Reporting Fellowship “the best thing that has happened in my journalism career. It gives me the scope to learn the new set of professional skills and knowledge to address the new journalism challenges. And also how the media can run without fear and pressure.”
Valeeva and Singh on a group hike in Missouri
Singh, who was working for the Hindustan Times before his move to BBC, said the fellowship training and his work at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “completely transformed my journalistic career. I got a chance to learn about American newsroom culture. The fellowship boosted my confidence level, a result of which I can share my stories, ideas or work with more independence.”
Dema, who started work in January for Bhutan’s largest daily newspaper, Kuensel, said of the fellowship: “It gave me confidence that I can do my reporting better and ask tough questions. It also taught me that I can do better in my profession by giving my 100 percent.”
During her fellowship, Valeeva worked on the data team at The Marshall Project, a news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. “Working for a U.S. data desk was my dream that came true thanks to the Alfred Friendly Press Partners Fellowship,” Valeeva said. “I learned that coding can change the very journalism we do and make it more replicable, scalable, and innovative.”
Over the summer, the Fellows participated in training sessions organized by Investigative Reporters and Editors for its annual conference in Denver, and networked with some of the country’s top investigative reporters.
“Later on, these contacts helped me very much when I was looking for my next step,” Valeeva said. “And just recently, I landed my dream job position — a data reporter with the investigations team at Newsday,” a daily newspaper on Long Island in the New York City metropolitan area.
Somesh Jha of India started a university master’s program in journalism in Denmark in September shortly after the fellowship program ended.
“The fellowship allowed me to take a breathing space from my nine-year-long career and gave me the reboot that I had been craving,” Jha said. “And to top it all up, I got the golden chance to write front-page stories for the LA Times on the economy.”
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – John Keating
Words, facts, stories, they hold the powerful accountable, they inform nations, they enlighten peoples’ beliefs and understanding of the world around them, they create change. Words are the tools which journalists around the world use to fight corruption, to rebel against censorship, to battle misinformation, and to bring together communities.
Understanding how to wield the power of words, facts, numbers, and create stories of impact that are ethical, innovative and influential is how our fellowships uplift journalism around the world. Our mission is to train journalists to share the stories of their communities, people, and culture, and to empower the world with their words.
You can make a big impact. Help us train more journalists from information hungry countries. Your investment in the career of a young journalist will change a life, uplift a community and pay off for decades.
What word of inspiration would you choose to guide you in 2023?
Parth Nikil: The idea or word I would like to reflect on: Long-form: I want to work on something enduring for 2023. Possibly a book.
Saurav Rahman: Fearless. I want to practice fearless journalism and want to inspire others in 2023.
Anastasia Valeeva:Hope. Coming from Russia and being horrified throughout the year by the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian army and the ignorance of the society, I have a hard time seeing the sense of continuing the fight for truth. In so many places elsewhere, these are the dark times. So I can only hope that 2023 will bring us some hope and light to keep going, and wonder what I can do to make it happen sooner.
Nitu Ghale:Persist. If you failed in 2022, you could succeed in 2023. Do not care what others say and think about your desire. Continuing is essential. So, I suggest to people that you should not give up anything if you really like it.
Chencho Dema: I want to write better stories and focus more on environmental stories. Climate change is real and I want to advocate to the masses through my articles how serious the climate change is and how an individual can make a difference. GLOF (glacial lake outburst flood) is a serious issue in Bhutan.
Alfred Friendly Press Partners: The words we think have the most power are Thank You. Thank you means that you have made a difference, you have given the gift of empowering journalists from around the world through the Alfred Friendly Press Partners. Thank you is a powerful anknowledgment of the change and legacy you have given through your donation.
When a young journalist accepts their placement in the Alfred Friendly Press Partners Fellowship, they are committing to spending half their year training to improve their journalism skills.
During this six-months reporters train at the Missouri School of Journalism for three weeks – learning from professional practice faculty with broad experience. They get hands-on, in-depth training in data-strengthened investigative reporting and multimedia production skills.
Then they continue their training by working on staffs of leading U.S. newsrooms such as The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Pulitzer Center, and more. It is here that Fellows can practice journalism that is ethical, innovative and influential before returning home.
With the graduation of nearly 350 reporters, editors and broadcasters from 80+ countries since 1984, the scope of journalism uplifted by Alfred Friendly Press Partners spreads across the globe. Each year, the fellowship program trains early-career journalists from countries with underdeveloped media (some of the most dangerous places to be a journalist) to practice professional, ethical, and innovative journalism.
And each year, we are incredibly proud of the work our alumni have accomplished. They have started organizations to promote fact based reporting, they have held leaders accountable for their actions, they have achieved awards for their investigative articles, they have inspired and mentored the next generation of journalists in their countries, and most of all, they have made an impact around the world.
What are you most proud of from 2022?
Taking the Fellowship program is a big commitment and come graduation day, the Fellows have more than earned their certification. However, this is often not the only big accomplishment for our past fellows, so as 2022 nears its end, we asked our Fellows, what they are most proud of from the past year, here’s what they said –
Parth Nikil: This was a good year for me journalistically. The Alfred Friendly Fellowship is something I look back upon with pride. I managed to work and thrive in unfamiliar territory, which has certainly boosted my confidence.
Being nominated for the Martin Adler Prize in London, which goes to one independent journalist worldwide, was a proud moment too.
It’s really a result of months-long digging into a huge and detailed yet messy spendings dataset. I think the biggest added value of this story is that we managed to see the wood for the trees, identifying and describing common patterns of how ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act, the Covid19 stimulus package) turned into funding for police, prisons and courts.
Nitu Ghale: 2022 was a very interesting year in my life. I got married and got to be an AFPP Fellow. I still can’t believe that I was selected soon after my marriage. Being a fellow and working in a U.S. newsroom was a great, pleasant experience.
Chencho Dema: “I’m proud that I was able to travel to five countries in 10 months and learn a lot about journalism through various training and fellowships. Thank you for guiding me during my stay in the US and thank you for such a golden opportunity to be part of the Alfred fellowship.
You can make an impact too.
We couldn’t offer Fellowships to young journalists, if it wasn’t from the donations and support of people like you. Currently, we have enough funding to support three journalists for the 2023 Fellowship program. We need your help to sponsor three more Fellows so we can run an impactful fellowship program and provide more opportunities to journalists from media hungry countries.
It’s always been our mission to lift up journalism around the world, by training young journalists with the tools and skills to share the stories of their communities, people, and culture, to change the world with their words.
You can be part of making this impact, with your help, we can train more young journalists from countries where press freedom has the potential to grow.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a time of reflection, celebration, generosity, and hopefully a time to recharge. One of the many ways we like to recharge is through reading.
“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright.” – Gustave Flaubert
In the spirit of curling up on the couch and losing one self in a good book, we asked our 2022 Fellows to share their book recommendation. Each story takes you to a different country, much like the Fellows themselves.
Parth Nikil: I recommend the book: The Last Heroes: Footsoldiers of Indian Freedom. It is written by senior journalist P Sainath. He has profiled lesser-known freedom fighters of India, who sacrificed a lot but didn’t get recognised because they mostly lived and fought in remote villages.
Anastasia Valeeva: Being loyal to my fellowship placement, I recommend What’s prison for?, a recent book by Bill Keller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist and the founding editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a news organization that focuses on U.S. criminal justice, where I was a data fellow. It is a concise yet powerful meta-narrative of the changing role of prisons and an argument about how we can do better.
Chencho Dema: I recommend The Last Fools: The Eight Immortals of Lee Kuan Yew by Peh Shing Huie. because it is the perfect book to know the in-depth history of civil servants who were behind building Singapore and what it is today. Once a rejected country and how it converted itself to one of the fastest growing economies in SouthEast Asia.
Who are we without the stories we share?
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles W. Eliot
How we tell the stories of the world, wether it be through books, newspapers, television interviews, or new online media platforms. Journalism and Journalists have an important role in the telling of these stories, especially in countries where corruption, censorship, and bias persist. The Alfred Friendly Press Partners Fellowship’s mission is to lift up journalism around the world, by training young journalists with the tools and skills to share the stories of their communities, people, and culture, to change the world with their words.
You can be part of their story, with your help, we can train more young journalists from countries where press freedom has the potential to grow.