South and Central Asia Digital Media Co-Op

A Digital Media Co-Op to Illuminate the Stories of South-Central Asian Diaspora Communities in the United States

The deadline for applying to this program has passed.

In the spring of 2016 the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) will implement a program for South and Central Asia journalists that aims to build bridges between South and Central Asia and U.S. media outlets. The opportunity will expose participating journalists to professional counterparts and practices in the United States and advance storytelling techniques rooted in social media, enabling journalists to produce work that engages youth in their countries. Additionally, the program will allow participating journalists to engage with their home nations' diaspora communities in the United States, specifically in the Silicon Valley region.

Participating journalists will work and train with U.S. newsrooms and multimedia experts to create story projects, using what they will learn about new digital media tools and social media practices in their story production. Resulting projects will connect readers back home with their counterparts living in the U.S.

The South and Central Asia Digital Media Co-op program will select 12 English-speaking journalists from 13 countries in the South and Central Asia regions. Journalists and media innovators from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are invited to apply.

Applicants will be chosen according to the quality and feasibility of the multimedia or digital story projects they propose. Applications that involve projects focusing on participants' home nation diaspora communities in the United States will be given preference. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, will have three phases.

Participants in the 2014 South-Asia "Roadblocks Along the New Silk Road" program exchange methods and ideas of using new media.

Phase 1: The 12 journalists will attend a three-day orientation in Silicon Valley to prepare them for their three-week mentorship placements at host organizations, where they will develop their individual projects. The orientation will include sessions on the U.S. media landscape and tech innovation in Silicon Valley.

Phase 2: Attachment "mentorship" phase at a U.S. newsroom or tech company, during which participants will locate and connect with diaspora communities in the area. Working out of the host organization and relying on the resources available to them in Silicon Valley, the journalists will build out their multimedia projects highlighting those communities.

Phase 3: The journalists will meet in Washington, D.C. where they will present their projects for feedback from peers and ICFJ staff.

Upon returning to their home countries, journalists will receive three months of online mentorship. During this post-program phase, they will be guided on utilizing new techniques to publish their stories as well as implementing multimedia methods in their newsrooms. Prizes will be given to the participants with the most innovative and impactful projects.