There has been a rise in the number of media fellowships and awards globally. The post COVID-19 world we live in might have contributed to this. Beside, we believe organizations which endow or sponsor these now realise the business of news will require strategic private interventions through quality investment.
In addition to this, organizations which invest in media fellowship had seen hidden values in it too. Often, media professionals who benefit from this largesse sometime develop a soft spot for the organization as they now have a better understanding of the organization’s operation and motive. This is a controversial conversation though but it is not uncommon to see or observe.
Media fellowships are awarded fundamentally to address noticed capacity shortage and hence targeted at building these gaps in the selected participants. This is the major reason media fellowships come in different shades. In this regard, many media fellowships call for applications are very specific in its criteria. Each media fellowship is looking for certain potentials participants must bring to the table. This can be basic as passion.
As a young journo, we recommend individuals apply for as many as they think are relevant to where they are going in life. Some had advised young journos to apply for as many as possible irrespective of whether it looks like where they are going or not. We differ here. There is no time to waste. Participants will pay a value- time to apply, time to attend and the transit involved.
This piece is not unaware of the values a participants stand to gain. We do know that the mere fact that an individual is selected for a particular media fellowship will boost personal confidence level- at least ‘I am one of the few who made it mentality’, In addition, a value selected participants has is that they can join a network of other likeminded awardees or enjoy an open access to certain mentor participant may not have without being selected. More importantly, the chances of learning new skills is there.
To maximize value of any media fellowship, here are some factors you must consider:
–Is this leading to where I am going in life: This is vital, Media fellowship can be free but attendance may mean mere waste of valuable time for an individual why everyone else is shouting ‘wow, wow[‘
–What value will attendance add to me: this is a critical factor. We have seen many who attended some media fellowship and were practically sleeping throughout.
–What is the motive? Money or ego: Many apply for and attend some media fellowships just for the money and other benefits in it. Some just want to add a ‘certificate of attendance’ to the ones they already have at home. That does not get you anywhere far in life.
-What are you willing to give? Always remember every organization which funded a media fellowship is not doing such at an ‘absolutely free of concern’. Something is burning in their hearts that they want to eradicate or improve on. Do not be a liability or burden to such organization if you are not going to justify their investments.
The need of the organization may just be as basic. Find out what this is. We have heard a few media fellowship sponsors bemoaning attendee attitude after leaving the venue.
Will I be able to do what the sponsor wants me to do post event? In some cases, especially a fellowship offered by international funder, some will require attendees go back to their countries and propagate their learnings. We have seen cases where some attendees just do the basic; return to their base country a day after the event but board the next available flight to go and permanently reside in such countries of training. Check your value.
Whatever you do, please be the one who says ‘thank you’. It may seem insignificant, but that can open a new door.