Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Sierra Leone: Launch the First Public Broadcasting Service

Knight International Journalism Fellow Stephen Douglas discusses his ICFJ fellowship in Sierra Leone.

Stephen Douglas launched the country’s first media training center at the new Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), and served as its interim director. He coordinated all journalism and media management training funded by groups such as Deutsche Welle, Journalists for Human Rights, BBC World Service Trust and the United Nations. Courses range from media law and basic radio reporting to journalism ethics and TV camera operation. Douglas compiled a training “bible” that will include all of the guidelines he has developed during the fellowship, including a guide to help members of SLBC’s board of directors follow the principles of public broadcasting. As part of that effort, he developed hiring guidelines for all positions at SLBC. He also helped to design the new public broadcaster’s first website.


  • Dec 212010

    Building a Consortium of Media Development Partners in Sierra Leone

    Working with the media in Freetown can be enormously frustrating and tiring. But a quick comparison of where we were a few years ago shows just how far we’ve come.

    During the brutal, ten-year war, Sierra Leone suffered a massive brain drain/exodus of journalists, teachers, business-people, politicians and young community leaders. In many ways, the country's media has never recovered. As a result, there are many challenges, both large and small.

    Since the end of the conflicts in 2002, there’s been a proliferation of newspapers and radio stations.

  • Oct 222010

    Out With the Old and In With the New

    A much-needed cleanup day did more than clear the dust at SLBC. It became symbolic of the change from stale, state-run facility to the nation’s first ever public broadcasting network. The “rescue team” of thirty-five active, young volunteers – men and women – clambered out of the poda-podas (converted mini-vans) sporting white t-shirts that read, “Support SLBC” early last Saturday morning.

  • Oct 192010

    “Elvis is in the building…” Welcome Gbanabom!

    Gbanabom (Elvis) Hallowell was officially welcomed to the fold at SLBC as the new, permanent, Board-approved, presidentially-appointed Director General on October 1, 2010. After months of application forms, interviews, “politicking”, review committees and appointment processes, Gbanabom’s presence is a very welcome sign that things are moving forward in the transition from state-owned SLBS to the public broadcaster SLBC. Signs of progress can be few and far between but this giant step is hugely significant.

  • Oct 162010

    SLBC’s First Permanent Staff

    For far too long, SLBC has operated under interim management. The appointment of Gbanabom and S.B., as they preferred to be called, is a culmination of a large number of events, negotiations, processes and procedures. It’s been a long road and we’re just starting our journey…

    On October 1, 2010, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation bid farewell to its “Acting Director General” and “Acting Deputy Director General,” Patrick Tarawalli and Mohamed Samura, respectively.

  • Jun 152010

    Content is king...

    Does it matter how we communicate or is WHAT we communicate of utmost importance?

    They (the techie-geeks and widget-wacks) talk about the internet being “in the clouds” but really the words and pictures we put online/out-there are as immoveable as stone. They will last. They will outlive us. People far-and-wide will read them. Societies will be affected by them… and they will make a difference.

    From words carved in stone to papyrus scrolls and then to moveable type, words and pictures have travelled and evolved.