Coordinator of Wole Soyinka Centre selected for top American fellowship


Motunrayo Alaka, Coordinator WSCFIJ

Motunrayo Alaka, Coordinator WSCIJ

The Coordinator of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Motunrayo Alaka, has been selected for the prestigious John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University in California, United States.

Mrs Alaka is one of seven fellows from Africa, Europe and South America selected into the 2019- 2020 class of the programme, starting September 2019 for 10 months.

In its official announcement on its website, the organisers said the fellows “are leading collaborations to share investigative resources, stories and training; reshaping storytelling in organisations large and small; and championing press freedom in the midst of government attacks on the media.”

Fellows selected in the programme include journalists and media practitioners from Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Poland, the United Kingdom, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. They will be joined by the US members of the class, who will be named on May 1, said Dawn Garcia, director of the JSK Fellowships.“We are fortunate to have this group of terrific international journalists join the JSK community,” Garcia said.

“They are bringing their tremendous drive and passion for journalism to Stanford University, which will welcome and celebrate their diverse perspectives and experiences. We are eager to have them make use of the vast resources available at one of the world’s top universities, and we look forward to seeing their ideas thrive. We can’t wait to learn from them and their families.”

The announcement said that beginning in September, the JSK Class of 2019-2020 will spend 10 months at Stanford strengthening their leadership skills while working on projects that address some of the most urgent issues in journalism.

“They and their spouses and partners will have the opportunity to sit in on Stanford classes and to access a diverse range of interdisciplinary experts and events at Stanford and across Silicon Valley,” the statement said.

“The fellows will test ideas and perform experiments aligned with the primary objectives of the JSK Fellowships: challenging misinformation and disinformation; holding the powerful accountable; strengthening local news; and fighting bias, intolerance and injustice.”

The JSK Class of 2019-2020 will include Joseph Poliszuk, editor and co-founder of in Caracas, Venezuela, where journalists have been imprisoned, detained and assaulted amid the political and social turmoil that have engulfed the country. Mr Poliszuk, winner of the 2018 Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists, will serve as a JSK Press Freedom Fellow.

Support for international journalists has always been a core part of the JSK Journalism Fellowships. More than 1,000 fellows from over 80 countries have been a part of the program since it was founded in 1966.The members of the JSK Program Committee will meet with the JSK directors in late April to select the U.S. candidates who will join the Class of 2019-2020. JSK plans to announce the complete class on May 1, 2019.

Aside Mrs Alaka, the six other non-U.S. fellows are Omri Assenheim, investigative journalist and author; Divine Dube, editor-in-chief, The Citizen Bulletin, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Anna Gielewska, journalist and Vice President, Reporters Foundation, Warsaw. Others are Alastair Leithead, Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya; Natália Mazotte, Executive Director, Open Knowledge Foundation, São Paulo, Brazil and Mr Poliszuk, Editor and Co-founder,, Caracas, Venezuela.

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