AFPF convenes advisory board as new fellows arrive

Washington, DC–Does a young journalist from Kenya need to know how to blog an election night? Must a reporter from Yemen be adept at an iPad news app? How much should a South Korean business writer worry about ethical standards?

A new board, comprised of leaders in print, broadcast and digital journalism, is tackling those questions on behalf of the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF), a 28-year-old cultural and professional exchange program. The 2011 class of Friendly Fellows arrives in Washington March 27, at the same time that new board will meet for the first time to start developing a relevant curriculum for today’s changing media landscape.

Since its inception, the fellowship program has brought journalists from changing societies to work in American newsrooms for five months. In recent years, however, Fellows have also been placed in different kinds of news operations, including Pro Publica, the Center for Public Integrity and the Los Angeles Business Journal to accommodate their learning goals.

“All these changes in American media made us realize we had to figure out more precisely the kinds of experiences we want our Fellows to have,” said Jonathan Friendly, the chairman of the board of the Alfred Friendly Foundation, AFPF’s largest funder. He asked Ellen Soeteber, the former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to form an advisory board that would help shape the newsroom experiences and additional training seminars that the Fellows attend.

The board’s advice is particularly necessary as the foundation is committed to establishing multi-year training partnerships with news organizations overseas. In the last five years it has done so with media companies in China, East Africa, South Korea and Yemen.

Each partner is offered customized training that not only includes the press fellowships but also in-country needs assessments, study tours, in-country and virtual training. Training includes business practices with the ultimate goal of improving journalism in the partners’ countries. Soeteber noted that “What we provide is beyond theory. We want to help our partners get things done that matter.”

The Advisory Board is composed of print, broadcast and digital journalists who are news media leaders. They include top-ranked editors, global journalists, innovative educators and pioneering thinkers who work in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to Soeteber they are:

  • Gilbert Bailon, Editorial Page Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Kenneth Bunting, Executive Director, National Freedom of Information Coalition
  • Fred de Sam Lazaro, Director, Under-Told Stories Project
  • Dan Gillmor, Director, Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University
  • Jane Hirt, Managing Editor and Vice President, Chicago Tribune
  • Craig Matsuda, Management and Communications Strategy Consultant
  • Joseph Odindo, Group Editorial Director, Nation Media Group Limited, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Peter Young, Deputy Team Leader, Bloomberg News

Soeteber said, “The Friendly program’s emphasis on in-depth journalism experience in real-life, real-time news environments makes its training uniquely valuable to journalists in the nations we serve—nations not blessed with a long history of democracy and free press.”

Complete biographies of the members of the Advisory Board may be found on the program’s website along with additional information about the history of the program.

The 2011 Fellows will arrive in Washington on March 24 to begin their fellowships. The group incldes two Daniel Pearl Fellows. Sponsored by the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and given to journalists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, they honor The Wall Street Journalreporter who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002. The Fellows, including Daniel Pearl Fellows, cover business, culture, fashion, health, politics, retail, sports, tourism, transportation and women. Their job titles, home publications, home country and host publications are:

  • Segun Adeoye, Assistant Online Editor, Tell magazine, Nigeria, Sun-Sentinel
  • Emal Haidary, Reporter, Bokhdi Afghan News Agency, Afghanistan, Bokhdi Afghan Los Angeles Times*
  • Priscilla “Wangui” Maina, Reporter, Business Daily, Kenya, University of Missouri School of Journalism/Columbia Missourian
  • Aatekah Mir, Senior Sub Editor, The Express Tribune, Pakistan, The Wall Street Journal*
  • Cao Li, Senior Reporter, China Daily, China, Chicago Tribune
  • Hee Jin Park, Reporter, Money Today, South Korea, Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Larissa Roso, Editor, Zero Hora, Brazil, The Washington Post
  • Malak Shaher, Reporter, Yemen Times, Yemen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette* Daniel Pearl Fellow