Twelve Journalists Awarded Data-Journalism Fellowships to Cover Water Security in the Mekong Region

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) and the East-West Center (EWC) have awarded Fellowships to 12 journalists from the Mekong region aimed at enhancing their data journalism skills and providing them with guidance and mentorship to report on critical water security issues. 

The journalists were selected following an open call for applications that EJN launched in February as part of its new Mekong Data Journalism Fellowship, a partnership between EJN, EWC and the Stimpson Center.

The program kicked off on March 30 with a two-day virtual seminar hosted by EWC that introduced the Fellows to the basics of data journalism and discussed themes related to water management and security. It also provided them with access to resources and networks they can utilize in their future reporting and allowed them to meet experts, such as Gary Lee, the Southeast Asia Program Director for International Rivers, and Jeff Opperman, a leading freshwater scientist from the World Wildlife Fund.  

From April to June, the fellows will participate in an 80-hour virtual data journalism training led by Eva Constantaras, a data journalism advisor at Internews. Constantaras was also a Fulbright Scholar, and a former Google Journalism Fellow. 

Thibi, based in Myanmar, and Open Development Cambodia — two organizations with deep experience in data analysis and visualization — will assist with course preparation and help interpret data during the training.

Following the data journalism course, each fellow will develop a data-driven story for publication while receiving one-on-one mentorship from Jeff Hodson, an experienced writer, editor, and strategic communicator. 

The 12 fellows who come from the Mekong Basin countries of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam include:

  • Boonyanin Pakvisal – Contributor to Southeast Asia Globe, Thailand
  • Toan Quach – Zing News, Vietnam 
  • Dinh Tuyen Le – Thanh Nien Newspaper, Vietnam 
  • Ekaphone Phouthonesy – Vientiane Times Newspaper, Laos 
  • Sen Nguyen – Contributor to South China Morning Post, Vietnam
  • Jitsiree Thongnoi – Contributor to South China Morning Post, Thailand 
  • Nehru Pry – Cambodian Journalists Alliance, Cambodia
  • Khai Don – Contributor to the Straits Times, Vietnam
  • Pratch Rujivanarom – GreenNews Agency, Thailand
  • Le Quynh – Contributor to Forbes Viet Nam and Người Đô Thị, Vietnam
  • Socheata Hean – Voice of America Khmer, Cambodia 
  • Sokummono Khan – Voice of America Khmer, Cambodia 

This is the first cohort of the Fellowship and their training will be conducted in English. EJN and EWC will open a second-round call for applications for Part 2 of the Fellowship in May or June. That round will offer data journalism training in Khmer and Burmese languages to 20 journalists.

Note: We were unable to select a Fellow from Myanmar during this round since the call for applications was announced during the beginning of the political turmoil there and cuts to the internet and other communication networks unfortunately prevented us from reaching out to journalists and editors.

(Banner photo: credit Simon Berger/Unsplash)