2017 Road Safety fellowship for journalists

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Jan 31 2017 04:56 PM

The 2015 World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety reveals that around 1.2 million are killed and 50 million are injured in road crashes.

Most deaths occur in LMICs (Low income and middle income countries) like the Philippines.

In the Philippines, 10,379 die every year half of them motorcycle riders, followed by pedestrians. It has become the 4th leading cause of death in the Philippines.

That’s more than 10,000 families deprived of a father, a mother, a brother, a sister or a member of the family, many of them were breadwinners caused by something that is preventable.

The country’s health system also share considerable burden in the treatment of injuries caused road crashes. 

Just think: If the public are more road- safety- conscious, so much misery and pain could have been prevented and government resources could have been spent in other urgent needs. It could free up beds for other patients in crowded public hospitals.

That is the basis for the collaboration of the World Health Organization, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and VERA Files (where I’m a trustee) for setting up the Road Safety Journalism Fellowship.

The Fellowship aims to strengthen the capacity of journalists to produce comprehensive news and feature articles and translate statistics on road injuries and deaths to human and public interest stories. The Program aims to generate interest in road safety reportage that is thorough, exhaustive and contextualized--one that goes beyond breaking news, body counts and police reports but which instead frames road safety as a public health and development issue.

The Fellowship is part of the multi-country Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety 2015-2019 carried out by a consortium of international partners, together with national governments and local organizations.

We are actually in the second phase of the program. In 2016, ten print, TV, radio and online journalists from Metro Manila and Central Luzon participated in the fellowship and produced a body of road safety stories published in their media organizations and posted in the VERA Files website. 

We are now starting the 2017 Program. We have expanded it to include not only print and broadcast journalists , free-lance writers and bloggers based in Metro Manila and Central Luzon but also from Metro Cebu, Iloilo, Metro Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

We invite journalists with at least three years of reporting experience to submit three story proposals (each story idea explained in 150-200 words) they wish to work on for the duration of the six-month Fellowship.

Story ideas can be developed from identified major risk factors that influence the likelihood of a crash and the severity of its consequences: (1) speed; (2) use of seatbelts: (3) child restraint; (4) helmets for motorcycle riders; and (5) alcohol or drunk driving.

Stories can provide an in-depth analysis of data, behaviors, and impact of these risk factors and the presence (or absence) of policy and legislative-related actions and their impact and status and nature of implementation and enforcement. Other topics of emerging importance such as distracted driving (this is most relevant in this age of cell phones) and pedestrian safety may also be tackled.

The Fellowship will open with an Orientation/Training Seminar in March. The Fellows will participate in a Roundtable on Road Safety involving editors and other journalists in June.

The professional qualifications of the applicants will be taken into consideration in the selection, but the quality and substance of the story proposals will be given greater weight.

Other requirements are bio data, two samples of published articles/video clips, a letter of endorsement from an editor or producer

Please visit Vera Files site for more information: http://verafiles.org/articles/apply-now-road-safety-journalism-fellowship-phase-2 

Please send the application to Lucille Sodipe ([email protected]) or [email protected] 

Deadline is next week: February 5, 2017



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