Media Foundation (MF) kicked off its new program to support Nepali investigative journalists reporting on social justice issues using multimedia tools.
The program “Strengthening the Capacity of Nepali Journalists in Investigative Reporting (SCNJIR)” is supported by Humanity United (HU), and it focuses on reporting migration, human trafficking, and accountability issues. The first investigative multimedia reporting workshop in the series has been held in Kathmandu from March 15-21, 2019. Two more similar workshops will be organized in the coming months.
At the inauguration held at Hotel Himalaya, Lalitpur on March 15, Dharma Adhikari, chairperson of MF welcomed 20 fellows selected from all over Nepal and offered an overview of the year-long project, highlighting the importance of investigative multimedia journalism in Nepal.
Adhikari observed that quality journalism is not an easy task– it needs time, resources, support, and commitment. He hoped the fellowships offered participants these conditions to do great stories, marked by rigor, evidence, completeness and thoroughness.
Apart from the three workshops, he announced, the SCNJIR will include a national conference on investigative journalism, an innovation lab on journalistic collaboration, monthly Gufa talk series on best practices in journalism, and a news/media literacy seminar.
Subina Shrestha, an Al Jazeera journalist and a filmmaker, gave a keynote during the program and inspired the journalists by sharing her personal stories on reporting social justice issues.
“Facts have layers, but we normally choose to settle for the upper one,” Shrestha said.
Bharat Dutta Koirala, winner of the 2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award and founding chairperson of MF, encouraged the participants to do investigative reporting and said the scope of investigative journalism is limitless.
“You need patience, need to constantly work on it and need energy to do investigative journalism,” Koirala said.
Further, throwing light on the aim of the program, Tim Isgitt, a managing director of HU, said local journalism is very important to tell the stories to be told and to hold powerful institutions and individuals to account.
“Your role is essential for democracy and for local communities to flourish,” Isgitt said.
Mahendra Pandey, an investments manager of HU, said “Advocacy and journalism are different things. Journalists should do journalism and not advocacy. I hope these training programs will create a new discussion on this in Nepal.”
Both stressed on editorial independence of fellows to pursue the stories they like to do, explaining that the donors will not interference on the content produced by the journalists.
Twenty selected fellows from 10 districts (Banke, Bhaktapur, Jhapa, Kailali, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Rolpa, Rukum, Siraha, Surkhet) participated in the 7-day workshop.
During the 7-day workshop held in Kathmandu, Nepal’s prominent journalists and experts trained the fellows on various issues related to investigative journalism, multimedia storytelling, mobile journalism, migration, human trafficking, accountability, ethics, writing, fact-checking, safety, and first aid.
Rajneesh Bhandari, a global multimedia journalist, investigations editor, and executive director at MF said that the SCNJIR aims to empower Nepali journalists with investigative and multimedia reporting skills and to produce high-quality investigative multimedia stories using innovative tools and techniques.
During the workshop, fellows pitched their story ideas and worked on their story proposals. Fellows will receive a grant and mentorship support from experienced journalists that they have chosen as well as technical-professional support from the innovation lab at the MF to produce their story.
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