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Students Offered Opportunity to Travel to Developing Country under New Media Scheme

A new scheme that will fund two media students to travel to a developing country has been launched today as part of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

The Simon Cumbers Media Fund was established by Irish Aid in memory of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers, who was killed in Saudi Arabia while working with the BBC in 2004.  The aim of the Fund is to promote more and better quality coverage of development issues in the Irish media.  The new student scheme, which is being piloted during the 2011/12 academic year, is being introduced to give students a greater understanding of development issues.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, the Minister for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan, said: “Irish Aid has funded the Simon Cumbers Media Fund since 2005 to increase media coverage of global development issues.  I am delighted to launch a dedicated competition to enable third-level students – who will be the reporters and editors of the future – to travel to the developing world and document some of the thousands of stories which show the progress which is being achieved in developing countries and the substantial challenges that remain.

“Irish Aid is committed to raising awareness of the immense challenges – such as global poverty and hunger – that affect so many millions of our fellow human beings.  The media has an important role to play in this effort: you can drive national and international action by increasing awareness and understanding of the problems which confront communities in the developing world and the solutions which exist.

“I hope that many students – who are just starting out on their careers – will take up the opportunity which this competition offers and I look forward to seeing and hearing their reports, both in the short-term and, I hope, over the course of long and successful careers.

Under the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme, students are being invited to submit proposals on an issue they would like to research and cover in a developing country.  Proposals must be submitted to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund by Friday, 10th February 2012.  Full details of the scheme are available at: www.simoncumbersmediafund.ie/index.php/students.

A panel of judges will award two students with an opportunity to travel to a developing country to research and produce a media project focusing on development issues.  In addition to securing a budget to cover travel and accommodation costs, the successful students will be offered guidance and one-to-one mentoring from journalists within two of Ireland’s leading media organisations: Newstalk Producer Susan Cahill and The Irish Times’ Foreign Policy Editor, Paddy Smyth.

As partners in the scheme, The Irish Times and Newstalk will publish the work of the successful applicants once they have completed their projects.  In addition to developing a print or broadcast media output, students will be encouraged to produce multimedia projects to include potential coverage in college media outlets and on social media sites.