Nicholas Cheng with other Chevening scholars in London, where he’s attending the School of Economics

Back now in southern Pakistan, Veengas Yasmeen has launched a website that she built during her fellowship, which gives a voice to the voiceless by covering issues such as equal rights for women and religious minorities. Meanwhile, the other Class of 2017 Fellows are sharing their new skills and experience with colleagues to improve their newsrooms.

At the Frontier Post on the northern side of Pakistan, Salman Yousafzai has introduced the practice of budget meetings. “Now every day we hold meetings in our newsroom and discuss story ideas like a U.S newsroom. In December I am going to deliver lectures about investigative, online data searching and data journalism at the Peshawar Press Club and discuss the same practices with district correspondents of The Frontier Post.”

In Nairobi, Ashley Lime is championing the effort to modernize Kenya’s oldest newspaper with digital production. After intense multimedia training and practice in the Missouri School of Journalism and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ashley will be a leader in the convergence initiative at The Standard newsroom

Nicholas Cheng is at the London School of Economics for a year, getting a master’s degree in Conflict Studies, but journalism in Malaysia remains in focus. As a guest speaker at the university, Nicholas talked about “what the local press is doing in fighting for freedom” in Malaysia. And he’s building a contact list for the Malaysian Institute of Journalists, to be widely shared so news reports will be “more balanced with more expert views.”

Yuliana Romanyshyn has used the data journalism skills honed during the fellowship and highlighted problems in Ukraine. “’Over the last two months since my return, I started doing more data analysis and visualization. Among the recent projects, I’ve made an interactive map of illegal construction in Kyiv. I hope it will be useful for the residents, investors, and visitors. I also worked as an expert on gamification hackathon for media, where I shared my skills in dataviz and audience engagement.”

She’s also reported on Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and its secretive procurement practices have long been suspected to be a hotbed of corruption. Additionally, Yuliana and colleague Olena Goncharova (Class of ‘16) helped secure a $10,000 gift that will help fund the fifth Alfred Friendly Fellow from the Kyiv Post in 2018, along with another crowdfunding campaign.

After the fellowship, Smitha Rajan encouraged her colleagues at Daily News and Analysis (DNA) in India  to promote  their own stories with the help of short explanatory videos. Smith demonstrated how to produce the videos with a software program she learned at the Missouri School of Journalism and used to promote a story on food waste that she wrote while working at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

“It was much appreciated,” Smitha said. “I have asked my colleagues and even fellow journalists to create their own explainer videos to attract more readers to their story. The idea of promoting your own story through explainer videos was alien to me until the fellowship. I always thought it to be ‘too technical’ but the fellowship made me realize  that, in fact, it is very simple. I would not have embraced technology the way I do now had it not been for the fellowship.”