LIBERIA: CEMESP Launches New Investigative Journalism Fellowship

By: Wremongar Blojay Joe, II

The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) has launched a new Investigative Journalism Fellowship to help drive Public Accountability and Democratic Governance.

Named and styled ‘ the USAID LMA Investigative Journalism Fellowship’, CEMESP is fulfilling the scheme in collaboration with Internews in Liberia.

Eighteen fellows were enrolled in the fellowship which lasts ten months following Wednesday’s climax of an intensive three-day training, the first of three investigative journalism drills designed under the new USAID media development initiative.

The fellowship which  is an outcome of the USAID Liberia Media Activity project principally implemented by Internews and several local NGOs focused on media development, peacebuilding, and democratic governance.

FrontPage Africa’s Rodney Sieh shares experience with participants

At the official launch on Wednesday in Congo Town, CEMESP’s Executive Director Malcolm  Joseph said the 18 beneficiaries were selected from a rigorous  vetting process that considered evidence of published work, and desire to pursue ideal fact-finding stories.

Said Malcolm: “On behalf of the Center for Media studies and Peacebuilding, I welcome all of you to this investigative journalism fellowship geared towards building your capacity to cover groundbreaking stories this year”.

Cllr Alphonsus Zeon lectures at the Training on Wednesday

According to CEMESP, the fellowship offers support and empowerment to journalists to rally coverage of Public Finance, Environment, Natural Resource Management and Anti-Corruption issues with the aim of promoting accountability and transparency in the public sector.

“We are asking you the fellows to express commitment and willingness to this new fellowship. This will not be business as usual and we expect real groundbreaking reports” said Jefferson Massah, Internews Senior Media Advisor.

Massah who lectured on ‘Data Journalism’ emphasized that financial and technical support will be accorded fellows who cover critical stories that could make impact.

FrontPageAfrica Managing Editor- Rodney Sieh, Cllrs Alphonsus Zeon, Lamii Kporgoi, and Journalist Frank Sainworla all presented at the three day training.

They covered topics like Understanding Investigative Journalism, Ethics of Investigative Reporting, Identifying Investigative Stories, Fact Checking, the Legal Environment of Investigative Reporting, etc.

Fellows will now be assigned to mentors who will help them develop ideas and investigate matters of public interest.

CEMESP also announced that  the fellowship has set aside funding for the best-performing fellow to attend this year’s edition of Africa Investigative Journalists Conference in South Africa.

Joseph Tumbey who spoke on behalf of the fellows called for collaboration and knowledge sharing among them and said they commit to delivering to expectation.

“We will do our best to come up with the kinds of stories that people in the public will appreciate,” he said.

He added, “all of us here are grateful for this opportunity and we can guarantee that the best will come out of this team”.

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