Three Africans -- from Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria -- are among eight media practitioners chosen to participate in this year’s Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships. The fellowships were created in 1984 by Alfred Friendly, a former managing editor of the Washington Post. They bring accomplished journalists from developing countries for hands-on training in US newsrooms.
The fellows are Betty Abah, a staff writer for TELL magazine in Lagos, who has begun training with the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado; Franklin Bayen of the Weekly Post in Cameroon who is now with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in Seattle, Washington; and Peter Makori of Kenya's Weekly Citizen newspaper, who is now with The Kansas City Star in Kansas City, Missouri.
From Washington, the executive director of the program, Susan Albrecht, said the journalists will be with the American papers for six months “and ultimately return home and share what they have learnt with their colleagues with the idea that they will improve journalism in their own countries.”
Before beginning their internships, the fellows spent two weeks attending seminars and a journalism refresher course. The real challenge arises when they go home and prepare to implement changes in their own countries.
Albrecht says they are taking care of that: “We have a session called ‘Training the Trainer.’ We train our participants to learn how to share once they go home. How to perhaps deal with difficult editors, which is often a problem; also mechanisms like how to stand in front of others during sessions. You don’t only have to do it in front of 50 people. You can be a coach to some body who is a junior journalist and you can encourage them.”