31 May 2022

The Singapore International Foundation’s Impact Media Fellowship Returns to Equip Journalists with Skills to Effect Social Change for a Better World

Fifteen new Fellows from Asia exchanged ideas and gained new perspectives on addressing challenges in the newsroom and on the ground in the second run of the Fellowship.

IMF 2022 participants
Impact Media Fellowship 2022 participants

Impact Media Fellowship 2022 brought together a new cohort of 15 changemakers from the media industry in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

From 9 to 13 May 2022, Impact Media Fellowship (IMF) 2022 brought together a new cohort of 15 changemakers from the Asian media industry. The Fellows participated virtually from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

After five days of interactive workshops and panel discussions with industry leaders, the Fellows discovered a common thread – the need to constantly innovate and collaborate with their peers across borders to address pressing societal issues through their reports and inspire positive change.

Low Youjin, senior journalist from TODAY (Singapore), said that the Fellowship had challenged him to look at social issues from a different perspective. He said: “Oftentimes we [journalists] are focusing on very depressing news, which I think affects us mentally. It is a good idea to move away from that and focus on how people are trying to solve these problems instead.”

Indrastuti, editor from Media Indonesia (Indonesia), concurred and added that the programme was a wake-up call.

“I have been lingering on the COVID-19 pandemic reports for about two years, and the Fellowship has reminded me that we need to study new issues and approaches to improve our reporting and hopefully create better solutions,” she said.


IMF 2022 Speakers

(Top row, from left) Mr Jeremy Heng, Our Better World, SIF; Ms Kavita Chandran, Consultant and Journalism Trainer, Thomson Reuters Foundation; Ms Chung Lyn-Yi, Deputy Chief Editor, CNA Digital; Ms Serla Rusli, Editor, LinkedIn News; Mr Lim Chong Tee, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Wateroam; Ms Swati Mandloi, Assistant Market Transformation Manager, WWF-Singapore; Ms Melissa Low, Research Fellow, Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore.

(Bottom row, from left) Mr Simon Scarr, Deputy Head of Graphics, Thomson Reuters; moderator Mr Augustine Anthuvan; and Ms Trinna Leong, Southeast Asia Teaching Fellow, Google News Lab; Mr Victor Zhu, Co-Founder and CEO, Hatch; Mr Abhishek Kahol, Managing Director; Intelligent Platform Services Lead - Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Accenture; and Mr Matin Mohdari, Strategy Director, Tech for Good Institute.

A diverse pool of speakers shared perspectives and strategies on how to write with the goal to create greater awareness on social issues. They comprised subject matter experts and accomplished media professionals from CNA Digital, Google News Lab, Hatch, LinkedIn, NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, SIF’s Our Better World, Tech for Good Institute, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Wateroam, World Wildlife Fund Singapore, and more.

There were robust discussions on a wide array of topics including impact storytelling, solutions journalism, visual journalism and social media, big data, climate action, and technopreneurs for social change.

Mythreyee Ramesh, senior correspondent from The Quint (India), said that she enjoyed interacting with her peers, especially during the breakout sessions.

She shared: “The breakout sessions during the workshops really gave us a chance to interact one-on-one. It was a place for us to share ideas coming from different parts of the world. That was an amazing experience for me.”

Sam Sopich from Cambodianess (Cambodia) and Dinh Vu Nhat Hong from Viet Nam News (Vietnam) – both in their first year of journalism – said that they felt inspired to strive in their field after hearing insights and experiences shared by other senior journalists.

Sam said: “During the breakout session at the Big Data workshop, I learnt a lot from other Fellows who shared how they overcame common stumbling blocks such as accessing accurate and quality data for their stories. Moreover, we still must be discerning after obtaining the data sources.”

For Liu Bo, opinion editor of FTChinese.com (China), he learned about the importance of working together. He said: “Cooperation and diversity are my biggest takeaways. As journalists, we face many cross-border challenges. We must meet these challenges through the cooperation of people from different countries.”

At the end of the programme, the Fellows looked forward to meeting their peers at the IMF Study Visit to Singapore when travel restrictions ease. Nguyen Thi Duc Hanh, deputy managing editor of Vietnam Investment Review Group of Print and Online Newspapers (Vietnam), said: “IMF has made us realise that we share many similar challenges and experiences in our line of work. I cannot wait for us to physically meet so that we can have more time to continue our conversations in person.”

Launched in 2021, the IMF programme aims to build capacity and promote an exchange of ideas among media professionals, publishers, and broadcasters who want to use their platforms for social change. The programme focuses on professional training and knowledge-sharing via training workshops, panel discussions, and cross-cultural exchanges.

If you are a journalist seeking to contribute to positive change, we welcome you to register your interest for the next edition of IMF. You may also catch the latest updates on our social media via hashtag #SIFImpactMedia.