Africa: Three Knight Fellows to Launch Continent-Wide Media Projects

Sep 212011

Nairobi, Kenya – The latest Knight International Journalism Fellows are starting up three exciting projects designed to enhance the media landscape in Africa. Based in Nairobi, they will target:

  • Media Management, helping media owners develop new business plans and revenue streams;
  • The Environment, building a network of reporters to cover climate change; and
  • Rural Development, creating an association of multimedia journalists to cover ways to fight poverty.

The fellows are:

Meredith Beal, founder and chief executive officer of Lasting Value Broadcasting, a radio company in Austin, Texas. In 2007, he was named Texas Broadcaster of the Year by the Texas Association of Broadcasters, America’s largest state broadcasting association. Beal will focus on helping members of the project partner, the African Media Initiative, to beef up advertising revenue and find new ways to monetize content. His fellowship is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Joachim Buwembo, a former Knight Fellow who transformed coverage of agricultural issues in Tanzania. He previously had been an editor at several East African newspapers, including The Monitor, Uganda’s leading independent paper. In this fellowship, Buwembo will build a network of journalists in 20 African countries who can report on climate change. He will also develop a team of trainers on this important issue. His fellowship is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Program.

Joseph Warungu, former head of BBC’s African News and Current Affairs department. He oversaw a team of over 60 reporters across Africa and a production staff in London. As a Knight Fellow, he will work with South Africa’s Rhodes University to build a pan-African network of journalists with the skills to cover agriculture, health, small business and other development issues. He also will help news organizations across the continent launch new print sections, broadcast programs and websites to showcase the new content. The fellowship is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The International Center for Journalists, which runs the Knight International Journalism Fellowship program, officially launched the fellowship projects following a week-long orientation in Nairobi. The program is funded primarily by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.