MOTUNRAYO Alaka, Coordinator of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, Lagos, has been enlisted among the seven international members of the prestigious John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship Class of 2020, at Stanford University
Alaka is the only Nigerian and one of two Africans on the list. The other African is Divine Dube, the Editor-in-Chief of The Citizen Bulletin, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Others include a candidate each from Brazil, The United Kingdom, Venezuela, Poland and Israel.
“We are fortunate to have this group of terrific international journalists join the JSK community,” said Dawn Garcia, the Director of the JSK Fellowships.
“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.”
Alaka had led the inauguration of the Nigerian Network for Investigative Journalism in 2011 and was instrumental to the creation of the Report Women programme and its Female Reporters Leadership leg that has triggered discourses around gender issues in newsrooms.
A thorough professional, Alaka has developed programmes, strategies, curriculums and harnessed resources in people, competences and funds in the last 10 years to directly train over 730 reporters; mentor at least 86, and influence the publication of about 170 human-angle reports across the Nigerian media on issues about girls and women, education, oil and gas, and electricity.
“The fellowship is yet to start but I’m excited already because the JSK Fellowship is one of the most prestigious globally,” Alaka told The ICIR.
“I also know that my classmates are also people that have done great things in journalism around the world and I’m just excited about the value this opportunity is going to add to me and what it portends for the work that I do in Nigeria.
“This will definitely impact on what the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism does because it’s a knowledge-gaining opportunity and I’m going to be soaking it all in to ensure that not only will the centre become better for it but also the media in Nigeria.”
While she is away on the 10-month fellowship, Alaka said there are tested and trusted hands at the WSCIJ to keep the centre running.
“No names to mention yet because, ultimately it’s a board management decision, but we have competent hands that have been doing great work in the media space. We have a very large faculty of experienced reporters, broadcasters and media owners all around the country who, from time to time, support the work that we do. So we may be exploring those options because they have always been a part of the Wole Soyinka Centre family,” She said.
The JSK 2019-2020 Fellowship will kick-off in September and fellows “will spend 10 months at Stanford University strengthening their leadership skills while working on projects that address some of the most urgent issues in journalism”, according to the JSK website.
“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.”
More than 1,000 people from over 80 countries of the world have taken part in the JSK JournalismFellowship since the program was founded in 1966.
Musikilu Mojeed of Premium Times also is a JSK Fellow. He was a member of 2013 class.