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Win a Frank Islam Fellowship to study journalism in the US

A mid-career reporter from India will spend six months at the Missouri School of Journalism and at the staff of a major US newsroom.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   28-06-2017
Smitha Rajan will work in the
Smitha Rajan will work in the "Washington Post" as part of the FIDD fellowship program.

Smitha Rajan, an assistant editor with the Daily News and Analysis (DNA), in Ahmedabad scored the first Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman (FIDD) Fellowship. She will spend six months studying at the Missouri School of Journalism and working in the newsroom of the "Washington Post." Rajan will also hone her investigative journalism skills at PolitiFact, a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims made by elected officials on its Truth-O-Meter.

The fellowship will be administered by Alfred Friendly Press Partners, which has trained over 300 journalists from the developing world.

IT entrepreneur Frank Islam and his wife, Debbie Driesman helped Alfred Friendly Press Partners select the eponymous Fellow.

“Debbie and I consider the fellowship a strategic investment in the free press," said Islam, who is a well-known Indian American business baron, philanthropist and political activist.

Rajan impressed the selectors with her body of work which included reports on the environment, pollution and the plight of the Dalit community.

"Smitha Rajan is a fearless fighter, a foe of the power structure and a friend to the disadvantaged," said Islam, while introducing Rajan at a reception in Washington to highlight the fellowship program.

In America, journalism was regarded the fourth most endangered profession in 2016, nestled between farmer and logging worker. Newspapers have been battered by the internet and their finances have been decimated by the collapse of classified advertising. Journalists have naturally been feeling these ill winds.

"I would like to use this fellowship opportunity to learn how journalists and newsrooms in the US are battling increased government and corporate control, reduced budgets and the onslaught of digital journalism to be stronger and bolder," said Rajan. 

According to Rajan, the lack of availability of public records to scrutinize, despite India’s relatively good Right to Information Act, is a major handicap to producing high quality journalism.

Program at a Glance
The FIDD fellowship will be awarded each year to an enterprising Indian journalist who will spend six months training at the Missouri School of journalism and work on the staff of a major US newsroom. 

 
Eligibility
  • To apply for the fellowship a candidate must have at least three years of professional experience as a journalist.
     
  • The candidate has to be employed as a journalist by an independent news media organization in India.

     
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