Internews Announces 2021 Fellows

Internews’ work to support independent media is built on a foundation of partnerships with local communities.

Today, from Internews’ network of nearly 700 partners, we launch a new year-long fellowship with 11 organizations representing the best in their communities, creating new opportunities to learn from partner experiences, while sharing resources and expertise to help the cohort of Fellows succeed.

“Already the engagement with the Fellowship has boosted morale among our members,” said Fredrick Mugira, founder and managing director of the Water Journalist Africa Network. “It’s important for us to be connected with others who share the same goals and deal with similar challenges.”

“Access to global-level advice and expertise on media business issues through this Fellowship is so valuable,” said Almir Šećkanović, of Bosnia and Herzegovinian news outlet Oslobođenje. “We have learned a lot from regional experts with support from Internews and others here in the Balkans, but this would be a chance to learn from top global experts to help us chart a path forward.”

A brain trust of local experience

The 2021 Internews Fellows are senior leaders of media, advocacy, and civil rights organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Uganda, and the United States.

Meet the Fellows

These organizations – and the accomplished individuals representing them – serve their communities through rigorous investigative reporting, teaching digital skills and media literacy, advocating for human rights, digital rights, and environmental protections, and connecting underserved communities to the information and resources they need.

As a cohort convened by Internews, they bring invaluable expertise and insights on issues surrounding representation in media, access to information, and the rights and responsibilities of people across social platforms and in shifting information environments.

The Fellows include:

  • Jennifer Larino and Ejazz Mason of Lede New Orleans, a media outlet and training organization creating opportunities for Black and Brown youth to shape news coverage
  • Carolina Botero of Fundación Karisma in Colombia, organizing for technology and online space guided by social justice and human rights
  • Layal Bahnam of Maharat Foundation in Lebanon, an advocacy organization advancing the values of freedom of expression and respect for human rights across the Middle East and North Africa
  • Floreen Mercado Simon of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), an independent, nonprofit media agency that specializes in investigative reporting

See the full list of Fellows

“We asked our partners tell us how our partnerships could be more successful,” said Myles Smith, Senior Director of Programs at Internews. “What we heard was that our most strategic partners want a closer relationship that helps them become more sustainable. Most often we work with partners on time-limited, donor-funded projects. This fellowship will help Internews be a more reliable, accountable partner, while at the same time opening up new avenues of support to the Fellows.”

The Fellows will receive technical support and collaborate with Internews in joint initiatives and events, helping to shape Internews’ strategy to create healthy information ecosystems around the world. They will also inform Internews’ initiatves to improve how we work with partners, helping us stay accountable to the communities we aim to serve.

(Banner photo: Journalist Markos Yeshanew listens to stories of a PLHIV women’s group in Metahara, a transport hub between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. Credit Internews)