New fellowship for journalists to study NE and work outside the region

The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research has pleasure in announcing the CNES-Setu Media National Fellowship, a program aimed at enabling metro media journalists as well as those from the North East of India to research, understand and communicate on issues relating to the North East as well as in other parts of the country.

Funded by contributions from Assamese professionals and scholars in the United States, the fellowship is to be administered by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research and will be spread over three months.

The fellowship is for an amount of Rs 75,000 and is open to journalists in all languages although, for the moment, preference will be given to English, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali.

The fellowship gives an opportunity, in alternate years, to journalists from the metro media and the region respectively who need to step back from the rush of daily reporting and editing and find the time and space to think through and write about issues of professional concern to them. In their normal circumstances, they would not be able to focus on these issues as they would be ?outside their beat?.

Yet, all professionals need a time to review their work and lives and get a chance to refocus and reconnect with the realities and issues, which mean a lot to them. The fellowship offers this much needed space so that professionals return to their work both recharged and with different perspectives.

The North East of India is a region which remains misunderstood and ?distant? from the ?mainland?. Although many perceptions have changed in the past years, many misconceptions still prevail, both in the media and in the wider viewing and reading public. This national fellowship is a modest effort by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, which has been active in bridging information gaps and policy advocacy with regard to the region, to develop better understanding, greater sensitivity as well as more accurate reporting of issues. If media persons are mis- or uninformed, the public cannot expect to be well-informed!

The CNES-Setu fellowship seeks to build better information, better communication and better networking between journalists in the North East and different parts of the country. It also advocates a better-informed and sensitive flow of reporting both about the region as well as other parts of India so that stereotypes are challenged and that policy makers, fellow media professionals and organizations as well as larger newspaper audiences are reached. Both regions need to change their approaches and views of each other and the media is a critical tool in this process.

There will be two sets of issues for the national fellowship: for those proposing to go to the North East, a specific range of concerns is flagged. And for those from the region wanting to moving out and look at problems and challenges across India, a separate list of concerns is outlined.

The fellowship will, in its initial year, be open to the print media and photo-journalists. In its first year, 2005, the CNES-Setu fellowship will be open to the media from other parts of the country (specifically not from the North East) who wish to travel to the NE and work on specific research projects. As of now, a CNES-Setu fellowship for North eastern journalists is proposed for 2006.

The selected fellow would need to produce both a monograph at the end of his/her assignment, which would be published after appropriate editing. In addition, the fellow would need to publish not less than six articles in his home paper on the issue for which he/she has been selected. This is irrespective of whether the journalist is a full-time employee of a newspaper/magazine or freelance. Indeed, freelancers are also encouraged to apply.

In an effort to encourage new talent, preference will be given to journalists who have not previously won awards or fellowships.

The CNES-Setu fellow will be picked by a Selection Committee comprising of Sanjoy Hazarika, C-NES Managing Trustee and media professional (former New York Times correspondent and consulting editor of The Statesman), Pradip Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free Press (Manipur) and Dileep Chandan, editor, Asom Bani, Assam.

Eligibility, terms and conditions

? To be eligible for the fellowship, an applicant must be a full-time journalist with a minimum work experience of 5-to-10 years
? The applicant must obtain an editor?s written consent for the period of the fellowship, including the publication of articles as specified in this outline and later in the contract
? The selected applicant will be bound, under contract, to complete the fellowship. Failure to do so will invite legal action.
? The fellowship will enable the awardee to develop specific recommendations which can be shared with policy-makers and which are time-bound and actionable.
? Rs. 50,000/- (Rs. Fifty thousand only) will be released at the start of project, the balance i.e. Rs. 25,000/ (Rs. Twenty five thousand only) on completion of fellowship, publication of articles and monograph as the fellowship stipulated.

Applications

Applications are welcomed in email format but only with MSWord attachments (not cut and paste). A printed copy of the emailed application must accompany the latter, with a letter on the applicant?s letterhead and full address with phone numbers and email details. The applicant must attach by email or enclose in a package (to be sent by mail or courier) the following details:

? a two-page research proposal
? a brief curriculum vitae (not more than a page)
? clippings of six major articles published in the applicant?s magazine or newspaper over the past calendar year (any vernacular language set of clippings must be accompanied with an adequate translation in English)
? a photo-journalist must submit one major photo essay published in the English language or vernacular media, also from the past calendar year
? a work plan (methodology, travel and research, contacts and prioritization of the case study)
? all applications must be neatly typed with double spacing. Hand-written applications will not be considered.
? Selected applicants must be fluent in English; a good knowledge of Hindi would be an advantage

The issues

Those applying for the 2005 Fellowship (traveling to the North East) would need to take one of the following issues as the research study:

(N.B. Each proposal must be limited either to one state or a maximum of two states, to enable better concentration on the issue selected.)

? Traditional governing institutions: defining grassroots democracy or patriarchy
? Coping with floods and natural disasters: what can be done — learning from villagers and rural administrations
? Human rights and the interests of the State: where reality and tragedy meet policy and pressure
? Herbs, healers and the environment: pressures, protection and patents
? The rape of the forests: the timber mafia and ordinary villagers
? How the other lives: the underground, the over ground and the middle ground
? Alternate employment and poverty-reduction strategies for the North East: going beyond projects and packages
? How missionary is the National Bamboo Mission: will it help the North East and other parts of India match the Chinese advantage in this sector
? The impact of conflict on women: unheard voices, unseen figures ? and the pressures from patriarchies especially in tribal societies
? Looking East through the North East: a dream or a real possibility ? investments, trade and connections to South East Asia

For the 2006 Fellowship, a fresh set of issues will be announced with a focus on other parts of the country. These would include questions relating to gender, micro-credit, rural development, watershed management, non-government organizations, successful development stories, the right to information, local governing institutions such as panchayats and municipal corporations as well as the Golden Quadrilateral and river-linking.

Submission deadlines

February 28, 2005

Announcement of Fellowship

March 15, 2005

Apply to:

The CNES-Setu National Fellowship
Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research
D 6, 6143/3 Vasant Kunj
New Delhi 110017
Tel 91-11-26121426
Email: c-nes@c-nes.org, sanjoy@c-nes.org
Website: www.c-nes.org

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