Judith Neilson Institute seeks fellows for second Asia programme

Australia's Judith Neilson Institute will reprise its Asia reporting fellowship in 2020, and is inviting applications.

In partnership with the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hong Kong University, the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas plans to take a group of early to mid-career journalists to Indonesia in June.

The two-week programme - open to Australian-based journalists, including freelancers - aims to deepen their knowledge of the history, politics and culture of Australia's largest neighbour. Applications close on February 24.

Last year, the Institute sent 12 Australian journalists to Hong Kong in its first Asian Fellowship programme.

Apart from learning about Hong Kong and China and meeting "high-level contacts, academics, journalists and dissidents" the fellows produced more than 40 stories during the visit.

The journalists came from media houses including News Corp, SBS, ABC, The Guardian, Nine and AAP, and visited the new newsroom of the South China Morning Post, as well as Bloomberg and AFP, and attended the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards dinner.

The trip coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, and reporters were able to report on those events and the impending passage of the extradition treaty with China which prompted protests in Hong Kong.

Every journalist on the trip was able to file at least one story for their home publication, with several filing multiple stories and staying on protest marches in which more than a million took part.

While the ABC and SMH/Age sent their China correspondents to cover the events, every other media outlet used their fellow to report the protests, enabling those media houses to have a reporter on the ground.

JNI senior executive Prue Clarke says an aim of the Institute was to improve journalists' understanding of the region. "Bringing Australian journalists here to see that, to understand, to feel and taste how China is impacting the region, especially Hong Kong, is really invaluable."

Pictured: Fellows during the 2019 programme visits in Hong Kong, including an encounter with a letterpress platen (Photos JNI)

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