Step inside this year’s Thomson Foundation summer course in London where we help international journalists stretch their imaginations and innovate.
Recent alumni include South Africa’s Viasen Soobramoney who had a rapid ascent from being a reporter to spearheading Africa’s first mobile journalism newsroom, and award-winning Syrian filmmaker and now producer for Britain’s Channel 4 News, Waad Al Kateab. Both Viasen and Waad have shown particular boundary-breaking spirit and praise the foundation for its “considerable contribution to the development of journalists and journalism itself.”
The foundation has been running its intensive summer course every year since 1962 and, just like with previous years, this year’s cohort of journalists (pictured) is diverse, up and coming and brings new passion and perspectives. Hailing from Sri Lanka, Kuwait, South Africa, Oman and Ghana, the journalists will be spending five weeks in London being “nurtured and developed” by the foundation’s leading trainers, soaking up insights from the best of UK media, updating their digital skill set and growing their ability to think in different media.
Let’s introduce you to this year’s participants.
Photography by @danzongloatr
The Daily Voice’s Robin-Lee Francke is a relative newcomer to the industry. She follows in former South African alumnus, Monique Mortlock’s footsteps with a Vodacom Young Journalist of the Year accolade for her poignant contribution to journalism. Robin-Lee has a strong desire to make a difference in society and serve the public interest with her editor keenly describing her as “going places” and possessing “that winning quality of being passionate about both her job and her community.” Her stories include the safeguarding needs of young people trapped between gangs and the law, and a former drug addict turned addiction counsellor’s drive to reintegrate drug users back into society.
KC Saranga, an award-winning reporter for news and current affairs channel, TV Derana in Sri Lanka, first came to the attention of the foundation when entering its mobile journalism competition earlier in the year. His shortlisted and “well executed” report highlighted the biggest environmental and socio-economic crises of rural Sri Lanka, the human-elephant conflict where habitat fragmentation is impacting wild herds. He’s become a much-praised name by his colleagues for his intellectual, bold and studied approach to mobile journalism and has been the driving force behind the success of several national news brands in Sri Lanka.
Kuwaiti journalist, Muneera Alrabiah, who is a news editor for Kuwait News Agency and also writes for the Arab Times, is passionate about empowering women and helping to widen the cultural possibilities about the roles of women in her society.
Muneera celebrates Arab sportswomen in all their diversity with stories including the unwavering determination of Muslim wake-boarding women and the most competitive female trapshooters that the Gulf has to offer. She hopes to see female participation in sports in the Arab world increase and for a new generation of Arab women athletes to chase Olympic glory. She also writes on health and uses mobile for storytelling.
Meanwhile, William Boateng has been recognised for his contribution to broadcasting in Ghana and has been described as “the best and most promising newscaster in radio” by Ghanaian local radio station, Pluzz 89.9FM. He displays great journalistic potential and is regularly finding new stories and reporting on them with rigour and accuracy. In 2018, he was one of 100 student journalists from 50 countries invited to the Scottish parliament for two days of conferences, with Google, Facebook, Reuters and the BBC, through the British Council’s Future News Worldwide programme.
Musallam Al Mahri’s work seamlessly merges his interest in the world of business, and his economics degree, with his role as an economics news editor for the Oman News Agency (ONA). With his deep knowledge and informed journalism, Musallam is at the forefront of ONA’s reporting and analysing of national and international economic issues. He’s led interviews with some of Oman’s most senior officials, participated in a series of international events and regularly contributes news and analysis to ONA’s 110k+ Twitter followers. It’s an exciting time to be an economics editor, according to Musallam, as it dominates the agenda and impacts people’s lives like never before.
Another multi-platform player is Abdulaziz Al Mamari who joined the Oman Ministry of Information as an e-content specialist and hopes to reimagine Oman’s media and its presence in the social sphere. With social media having created a new generation of traveller, Abdulaziz has been recognising the trend and is developing innovative ways for the ministry to participate. He also advises the ministry on digital tools, how to find a defined and committed audience on Instagram and how to get the attention of an audience disengaged from politics and other government activities. His involvement has seen the ministry’s following on the social platform increase to nearly 94k.
The Thomson Foundation summer course will run until mid-September with all journalists completing a week of work experience at British media organisations, including the BBC and ITN.
To take part in next year’s summer course, or for further information on how the course could benefit your employees, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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