Emerging Middle Eastern Media Leaders Complete US Fellowships
- MENA MEDIA Emerging Leaders Fellowship: Twelve mid-career Arab media professionals to win a three-month fellowship in the United States
- Eighteen Arab Media Managers to be selected for a six-week fellowship in the United States
- MENA MEDIA TV Production Fund: Small Grants Available to Arab TV Companies to Produce Local Content
- Grants available to Arab TV companies to produce local content
Media managers from the Arab world successfully completed IREX’s six-week MENA MEDIA Emerging Leaders Fellowship, a program funded by the US Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative. Participants in the program’s second year included editors, executive directors, and managers from media outlets and businesses representing several countries in the Arab world, including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank/Gaza, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The program included an academic component at Northwestern University’s Media Management Center where the fellows met with US media executives and participated in interactive training sessions addressing current issues affecting Middle East media. Courses included presentations by faculty with expertise in online development, strategic planning, marketing, market research and leadership. One fellow described the training as “eye opening, educational, and related to rapid changes in the media and information age.”
After the academic portion, the fellows worked for two weeks with host mentors at US media outlets such as washingtonpost.com, The Associated Press, National Geographic, and ABC News. This fellowship component allowed them to enhance their working knowledge on media management trends and strategies, as well as learn about the structure of the US media sector.
Upon completion of the program one fellow stated “Before I joined the program, I had [little] knowledge about management and finance. I can say now that I have a different approach--a broader and deeper one. My editorial expertise is now enriched with a background of management techniques which I hope will make my leadership more solid and creative.”
Last year’s fellows have found their experiences in the United States a useful springboard for professional development, regional networking, and media development initiatives. As of four months after the fellows had returned home, every one of them had shared the resources and knowledge they acquired during the training with their staff. As a result of knowledge acquired from the training, fellows are implementing changes in the outlets, such as focusing editorial content towards a targeted audience and modifying advertising and marketing strategies to become more financially sustainable.
One prominent success story is that of Al Hadath Acharki. The Emerging Leaders Fellowship program has had a profound impact on the small, eastern-Moroccan newspaper’s staff and success. A few months after returning to Morocco, 2006 fellows Mounia Lahlou and Zahreddine Taybi decided to reach out to a very specific but usually overlooked section of society: youth. The paper launched the weekly “Youth Section,” soliciting articles and stories from young writers on issues important to them. Not only were the youth given a platform to publicly express their views and opinions, but the paper found itself with a strong and finely targeted customer base. Each week, the paper received more and more stories to publish and had to turn down young writers due to lack of space. Based on the success of this experiment, Al Hadath Al Charki decided to partner with a local school and held workshops on writing, journalism, and media at their outlet for interested students. The youth outreach program has so far proven very successful, and Al Hadath Acharki is planning to adapt the same model towards another underserved section of society: women.
Information for the 2008 program is available at www.irex.org/programs/MENAMEDIA/mena_info.asp.