Tuesday, August 9, 2016
18 journalists shortlisted for US embassy fellowship
By Kemo Cham
The US embassy in Freetown last week unveiled a shortlist of 18 journalists as part of a new media fellowship programme announced last month.
The shortlisted journalists were each given the equivalent of US$400 during a brief orientation ceremony at the embassy’s complex at Hill Station on Thursday. The journalists were drawn from both print and the electronic media.
Four members of the editorial team of Politico are among those whose pitches were selected by a special panel of judges appointed by the embassy. Other shortlisted candidates come from Awoko newspaper, the Standard Times, Star Radio, CTN, Sky Radio, Blade newspaper, among others.
In all 30 journalists sent in story pitches in response to the announcement by the embassy last month, according to embassy officials. The journalists are expected to produce newspaper articles and radio programmes on three categories of story ideas – Free Press; Climate Change; and Girls’ Empowerment.
“These are the things that we think are of importance to Sierra Leone,” said Wotay Kamara, Communications Assistant at the Public Affairs Section of the embassy, which is organizing the competition.
She said at a brief session at the conference hall of the embassy after the journalists had received their fellowship monies that the initiative was meant to encourage journalists to focus on these kinds of stories.
The Sierra Leone media is viewed by many as one of the most pluralistic in the sub region, due to the proliferation of media outlets. But hardly anyone outside the media industry thinks it is serving its watchdog role. The media mostly focus on politics, the trivial aspects of it, rather than shining the light on equally important issues.
“We know these are important to the people, but they are of keen interest to the embassy,” said Hollyn Green, Public Affairs Officer at the US embassy.
The shortlisted journalists have one month [until July 24] to submit their stories which will then be graded. The embassy has placed prices for the best three stories.
First Prize winner will receive US$1, 000, second prize winner, US$600, and third place winner US$400.
(C) Politico 28/06/16