Chido Onumah, eleven international editors selected for IRP 2012



The International Reporting Project (IRP) of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), USA, has selected 12 senior editors and producers from around the world to participate in a nine-day trip to Kenya as part of the IRP’s signature “Gatekeeper Editors” programme. Among those selected is Mr. Chido Onumah, coordinator of the Abuja-based African Centre for Media & Information Literacy. Others are Juliana Resende (BR Press, Brazil); Charlott Schönwetter (Mädchenmannschaft, Germany); Sanchita Sharma (Hindustan Times, India);   Isaac Esipisu (Reuters; University of Witwatersrand, South Africa); Lola Huete Machado (El Pais, Spain); Julia Manning (Daily Mail, UK); Martin Robbins (The Guardian, UK); Lynn Schreiber (Jump! Magazine, UK); Irin Carmon (Salon.com, U.S.); Jeff Sharlet (Dartmouth College, KillingTheBuddha.com, U.S.); and   Mark Thoma (University of Oregon, Economist’s View, U.S.).

The trip, from June 17-26, 2012, is part of a special IRP bloggers’ trip focusing on issues of family health, reproductive issues and the impact of population growth. The senior journalists will take part in an intensive programme to learn about Kenya.

Each year the IRP selects two groups of “Gatekeeper Editors” to travel to a country or region to learn more about critical global issues to help them improve their news organisations’ international coverage. Many Gatekeepers produce stories or blog posts from the trips.

The Kenya trip will look closely at issues of family planning and health. The group will have a very busy schedule and will spend virtually every day visiting urban and rural residents, talking to youth leaders, doctors and health officials, leaders at NGOs, looking at the environmental, health and social impact of population growth. The group will begin in Nairobi’s Kibera community, where it will tour maternity clinics and sanitation projects with the nation’s largest and most vulnerable demographic, Kenya’s youth.

It will then travel to Lake Victoria to the towns of Kisumu and Kogelo where it will examine the impact of overpopulation on local health issues, look at cultural and religious aspects of population growth and see how local women (including Sarah Obama, President Obama’s step grandmother) are working with village groups.

The group will also travel to a pristine region such as Laikipia, where it will examine the effect of human population growth and migration on wildlife and water resources. On its return to Nairobi it will meet with government health officials and also with university students to discuss their views of the future of Kenya.

As one of the first non-profit journalism programmes in the United States, the IRP has sent more than 400 journalists in all media to more than 100 countries to report on global issues. One of its programmes takes groups of up to 12 senior editors and producers on what it calls “IRP Gatekeepers” trips. These trips, between 10 days and two weeks long, are intensive reporting trips to one country. The IRP has been to India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Egypt, Lebanon/Syria, Turkey, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Liberia and Rwanda. The IRP has run 16 of these trips since 2000. Its sole purpose is to give journalists the opportunity to meet people on the ground and to report on important issues. The IRP  runs a site, www.internationalreportingproject.org, where hundreds of stories are posted from the reporting trips by the nearly 400 journalists who have received grants over the years

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