WASHINGTON — The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced that it received a $4.4 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to expand and improve the Knight International Press Fellowships program over the next two years. The Program sends U.S. journalists to work with media overseas to promote press freedom and open societies throughout the world.
The grant was announced at ICFJ’s Excellence in International Journalism Awards Dinner on Nov. 9 by Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen via video. “The Knight Foundation is proud to support ICFJ. We’ve been proud of the over 200 Knight Fellows. We’ve been proud of the work they’ve done in over 75 countries,” Ibargüen said. “It’s been a wise investment of some $20 million.”
ICFJ has administered the Knight International Press Fellowship Program since its inception in 1994. Each year, the program sponsors up to 22 fellows from the United States to work with overseas partner institutions seeking outside assistance. The fellowships range from two to nine months and concentrate on working with the developing independent press worldwide, principally in countries experiencing political and economic transition.
“While many organizations parachute in and are gone after a week or two, Knight leaves a lasting impact. Knight Fellows live where we work, and our commitment gives us special insights into the problems and potential of journalism in these countries,” said former Knight Fellow Timothy Spence. “We educate, we train, we gain a lifetime of experiences, and hopefully we inspire.”
Knight Fellows consult and train in newsrooms, at universities and with media associations. They were the first American trainers to work in Syria in 2004 and are now working with journalists in Tsunami-devastated Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Knight Fellows have helped to set up media training centers, with the unparalleled example of the Independent Journalism Center in Chisinau, Moldova. They provide specialized curricula where needed, and were instrumental in assisting in Cambodia for the first democratically contested commune elections in three decades providing the training for local journalists to produce a voter's guide, a model subsequently used for training in Afghanistan, Egypt and other regions around the world.
The grant also will help fund other ICFJ programs that promote excellence in journalism worldwide and provide much-needed resources for media, especially for those working in emerging democracies. The International Journalism Exchange, which brings foreign editors to the United States to learn about media management first hand in American newsrooms, will receive $150,000. Also, the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet at www.ijnet.org) will be given $150,000 to help bolster this comprehensive resource center for media assistance and training opportunities, published in English, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish.
The International Center for Journalists was established in 1984 to improve the quality of journalism worldwide through professional training, fellowships and exchanges. During the past 20 years, ICFJ has worked with more than 20,000 journalists from 176 countries. The Center is an independent nonprofit institution based in Washington, D.C.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. For more information about the Knight Foundation, go to www.knightfdn.org.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.