Drowning Prevention 2019 Reporting Fellowship

“For me, the workshop was useful. 100%. There was so much I learnt that I didn't know and there are so many things I am currently doing that I can build on and elevate based on the tips and skills we acquired from the training.” 

                                                                                               – A 2018 ICFJ Safety Fellow

We are no longer accepting applications for this program.

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 320,000 people died in 2016 as a result of drowning, making it one of the deadliest public health threats in the world. In many countries drowning is the leading cause of death after one year of age, and is also frequently the leading cause of death for children between 5-14 years old. More than 90% of drowning deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries.

​ Photo courtesy of The World Health Organization.

With the continued support of WHO, ICFJ will recruit 10 journalists from across the world to attend the 2019 World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Durban, South Africa and to produce impactful and data-driven stories to help illuminate this deadly but preventable issue. The conference will bring together the globe’s foremost experts and research on drowning prevention, rescue, lifesaving and water safety.

WHO and ICFJ have organized similar opportunities for journalists in the past, including workshops ahead of Safety 2016, Safety 2018 and the 2nd High Level Road Safety Conference. In 2016, we also held a regional road safety journalism training in Sri Lanka.

Fellows who participated in these programs produced more than 200 stories that have raised awareness about underreported safety issues, spurred public dialogue around urban infrastructure and policy, and even engaged lawmakers. For example, the opening of a controversial footbridge in Manila was postponed after a story by 2018 Fellow Makoi Popioco spurred online debate about the project’s impact on road safety. 

Reports have included a story on measures for preventing some of the 1,100 deaths caused by drowning in Sri Lanka, an article about the dangers of “unfit vehicles” on the roads of Bangladesh, and two five-part series that examined the risks of driving in El Salvador and the challenges of road safety in the country.

Beyond story production, ICFJ’s reporting fellows introduce new data and tools to their newsrooms and incorporate new and engaging methods for reporting on safety issues. 

About the Fellowship

ICFJ will recruit 10 journalists for the Drowning Prevention 2019 Reporting Fellowship taking place in Durban, South Africa. The selected fellows will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of drowning prevention and hone the journalism skills needed to cover this often underreported and misunderstood topic by participating in a two-day workshop ahead of the 2019 World Conference on Drowning Prevention. After the workshop, fellows will have the opportunity to attend conference sessions and to meet and interview leading global experts on drowning prevention to help inform their reporting.

Apply to the Fellowship

ICFJ invites journalists from around the world to apply for the Drowning Prevention 2019 Reporting Fellowship. The fellowship will include a workshop prior to the conference on Oct. 6-7, 2019 and attendance at the conference sessions on Oct. 8-10, 2019. 

During the interactive workshop, ICFJ trainers and WHO technical experts will provide an overview on different aspects of drowning prevention. Trainers will also work with fellows on strengthening the fellows’ reporting skills, using the lens of solutions journalism with a particular focus on tracking down data from different sources, creating data-driven reports, and developing visualizations to engage audiences. 

The Drowning Prevention 2019 Reporting Fellowship will cover all fellowship-related costs, including travel to the conference, accommodations, emergency insurance, meals and registration. 

Journalists who apply for the fellowship must be fluent in English. Priority will be given to journalists from low- or middle-income countries. Applicants will be asked to provide the following:

  • An essay (no more than 500 words) detailing your motivation and goals for seeking the fellowship, including specific changes or achievements you hope to make to your work as a result of the workshop;
  • At least two story ideas (300 - 500 words) for in-depth drowning prevention reporting projects that incorporates data. Applicants may focus on their own countries, and include ways to use digital tools and visualizations to engage audiences in a dialogue about drowning prevention;
  •  A commitment to produce at least three stories about drowning prevention total during and after the conference; 
  • A brief letter of support from an editor or newsroom manager endorsing the journalist’s participation in the program to demonstrate understanding of the fellowship’s value and support for publishing, posting and/or broadcasting the journalist’s coverage of the conference and story project;
  • A brief biography written in the third person (up to 300 words);
  • A resume or curriculum vitae;
  • At least two examples of recently published stories, ideally ones related to public health, safety and development;
  • Proof of a valid passport. 

Selection will be based on the journalists’ professional qualifications, relevant experience such as demonstrated interest in the topic of drowning prevention and those interested in developing their data reporting skills in service of public health journalism, English-language proficiency, and endorsement by a newsroom manager. 

We are no longer accepting applications for this program.

Please email Cassandra Balfour (cbalfour@icfj.org) and Alexsandra Canedo (acanedo@icfj.org) if you have questions.  

Resources from The World Health Organization:

This program is funded by The World Health Organization.

Program Dates:
10/5/2019 - 10/10/2019
Program Type
Workshop