Three months after Thomson Foundation offered six young journalists a ‘once-in-a-lifetime chance’, its world-class mentoring programme ‘Connect 6’ is reaping rewards for both mentors and mentees.
The scheme was launched at the start of 2023 to mark the foundation’s 60th year of nurturing, educating and training journalists globally. Six of the best journalists in the industry agreed to mentor six young journalists including the winner and two runners-up in the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year Award.
One of those runners-up, Jyoti Yadav from India, says her editors has already noticed changes in her work since she began being mentored by freelance journalist Saptarshi Ray, who’s the former India correspondent for The Telegraph. “My editor at The Print can see a change – I am improving my writing style, storytelling and overall copy”, says Jyoti.
Saptarshi says the experience so far with Jyoti had been ‘great’. “Jyoti was very keen to improve her storytelling skills, feature structure and making her (already excellent) copy even better. It’s been wonderful to hear that she’s finding my advice useful and also practical.”
“My editor at The Print can see a change – I am improving my writing style, storytelling and overall copy”
Three months after the start of the six-month mentoring programme, it’s becoming clear that it’s not just the mentees who are benefitting from the experience. Patrick Greenfield who reports on biodiversity and the environment for the UK Guardian has been paired with Choon Chyuan Low from Malaysia.
“Choon has great instincts and does not need my advice on what makes a good story,” he says. “We spend a lot of time on the what/why/how/when of getting it. Mentoring is really rewarding. I love seeing someone grow in confidence about the skills and talents they already have.”
Those sentiments are echoed by US podcast executive Julie Shapiro who’s mentoring Carlos Raúl Kestler from Guatemala.
“For me personally it's been interesting to hear more about his responsibilities as a reporter, and some of the issues that he's covering in Guatemala -- and this also balances the relationship in a certain way, as he's teaching me, too,” she says. “I'm hoping to connect Carlos with others working in the Spanish-speaking podcast realm, before the end of the program.”
“I'm hoping to connect Carlos with others working in the Spanish-speaking podcast realm, before the end of the program.”
Alongside Jyoti, Carlos and Choon, the other mentees in the Connect 6 programme are Yashraj Sharma in Kashmir, the winner of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year Award 2022, Jamaima Afridi from Pakistan and Najm aldain Qasem from Yemen.
Joining Saptarshi, Julie and Patrick as mentors are the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Ewen MacAskill, Mohammed Komani, senior data editor and coach with Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) and Amber Rahim Shamsi, the Director of the Centre of Excellence in Journalism at the IBA University in Karachi.
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