SEAPA sets a specific timetable to conduct the activities below to implement the Annual Fellowship Program. Please refer to the theme announcement for the year. Normally, the end of activities are timed to target the date of a commemoration related to the year’s theme.
1. Applications (minimum of one month)
SEAPA makes an official announcement of the opening of the Fellowship, including the theme for the year. The announcement is made through the SEAPA website, social media accounts, emails to members and partners, and arrangements with news organizations.
The online application microsite is also opened to accept applications. To help those who have difficulty accessing the microsite, SEAPA also accepts applications submitted by email.
The application is also an interactive process. SEAPA staff may communicate with applicants and/or their references for verification and/or clarifications of information, including on the story proposal/plan.
A deadline is set as a cut-off point for completing application requirements. Ongoing applications which are not completed by the date specified shall not qualify for selection.
2. Selection (maximum of one week)
Selection is a competitive process. The SEAPA Fellowship staff shall review each application for completeness and appropriateness of the story proposals to the theme and the Fellowship objectives. The staff may make recommendations of a short-list of applicants that excel in meeting the eligibility and selection criteria.
There are no special considerations for applicants from SEAPA members and partners, except for the normal recommendation/endorsement letter. Any application from SEAPA members and partners will be reviewed in the same manner as all other applications.
SEAPA will appoint a Selection Panel, composed of at least two academic experts or journalist specialists in the selected field. Their task is to review all story proposals in terms of relevance to the year’s theme. Their selection will be final. The number of SAF participants each year is set according to the available budget.
3. Consultation and preparations (about one month)
Selected participants will begin a process of preparation to facilitate their fellowship. This includes arrangements for travel and accommodations for the orientation and debriefing, travel to the fieldwork country, and return to their home countries.
Fellows must plan the details of their stories, and make their own arrangements for the logistics of the fieldwork, including accommodations, based on the allotted budget.
Fellows are usually responsible for contacting prospective interviewees. SEAPA may provide assistance in terms of suggesting contacts and soliciting the help of the network and Fellowship alumni.
Fellows begin with the desk work for their stories and for their story proposal presentations during the orientation.
4. Orientation (three days)
All Fellowship participants are required to attend the standard three-day orientation that includes:
a. Technical inputs and perspectives based on the theme.
b. Presentations and discussions on the story proposal of each fellow to help refine and possibly coordinate their stories and fieldwork.
c. Consultations and feedback from the in-house editors to finalise the outline and fieldwork plan.
d. Inputs on basic skills required for writing the story: conducting fieldwork, investigative journalism pointers, digital and personal safety in the field, as well as gender considerations.
5. Fieldwork (around 10 days, including travel)
Participants go to the second country to conduct the fieldwork for the stories. The pace and schedule depends on their respective plans, given the time limits of the fieldwork.
6. Debriefing and writing (six days)
The debriefing session is also required. It is highlighted by a newsroom environment that assists fellows to produce final news stories by the end of the session. The process includes:
a. Sharing of and reflection on fieldwork experiences, highlights, and insights.
b. Time for writing and finishing stories by the end of the writing sessions.
c. Review, advise and consultations with editors, who will work with two fellows during this period.
d. SEAPA consultations on post-fellowship follow-up activities.
e. Evaluation of the year’s Fellowship programme.
7. Dissemination and Publication
SEAPA sets a target release of the stories, timed with a commemoration or event relevant to the issue. All material produced during the Annual Fellowship will be made available in the SEAPA’s main website, both as a webpage and as part of a compilation of the year’s Fellowship articles.
Fellows are encouraged to pitch their story proposals to their respective news organisations for publication. Broadcast journalists, freelance journalists and bloggers must be able to demonstrate where these articles can be placed.
SEAPA also arranges for distribution of Fellowship stories, either locally in each Fellow’s respective fieldwork country, or through regional and international partner organisations. These may include specialized media organisations focusing on the specific Fellowship theme.
If budget permits, the stories are also printed as a compilation for distribution.
8. Follow-up activities.
SEAPA maintains links and contacts with Fellowship Alumni, to maintain the community spirit both as a yearly batches and as a network for the everyone who completed the annual programme. Interaction is maintained through online groups via email or in social media.
Sometimes, fellowships are linked with SEAPA advocacies, (See 2013, 2014) so fellows can join theme-related activities.
A few fellows have also contributes articled for SEAPA, either as contributions or as assigned articles. SEAPA is in the process of developing a systematic followup programme for Fellowship alumni to sustain them as a network.