$120K U.S. State Department Grant Launches Media Innovation Program

Ethiopia Media Accelerator to Build News Ecosystem

“We’re really growing the network of journalists across Ethiopia by seeding leaders who understand the current news environment and can help others see a way forward – safely and with authority.”

–Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Executive Director, Media Innovation Collaboratory

“We’re stronger together.”

That’s what Dr. Michelle Ferrier believes is at the heart of the media innovation and co-creation program she has developed to build resilient news and information ecosystems in media deserts. 

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, executive director of the Media Innovation Collaboratory (MIC), is the program lead and designed the curriculum that the Collaboratory team will be delivering in Spring 2023 to a cohort of Ethiopian undergraduates, early-career journalists and media professionals. 

In August, the MIC was awarded a $120,000 grant from the U.S. State Department to deliver a journalism innovation coaching program, the Ethiopian Media Accelerator. One of six organizations to receive funding for 2023, the program creates an educational exchange and mentorship model, builds regional cooperative networks, and strengthens the news and information ecosystem across Ethiopia. Collaborating on the Spring 2023 program are local media publishers Addis Insight and the Amhara Media Corporation and trainers from the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.

The program will kick off in Addis Ababa, with a three-day design-build sprint with Ethiopian media innovators and professionals. Coaching and development continues virtually for 12 weeks to help media entrepreneurs to build and launch their media enterprises.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, executive director, Media Innovation Collaboratory; Founder, TrollBusters

The program also supports another of the grant’s goals: To strengthen independent and state media through media literacy, to learn about how to discern reliable sources of information, how to identify mis- and disinformation, and how to stay safe as a journalist in digital spaces.

The Media Innovation Collaboratory will work with local partners in Ethiopia as well as international partners to provide training and support to journalists on building sustainable news platforms. The coaching will deepen journalists skills in using digital platforms to deliver news and information and explore technologies and solutions for building a safe network of communicators across the country. Ferrier will be working with local hosts and journalism programs across Ethiopia to recruit the 25 innovation fellows that will be part of the pilot program.

“We’re really growing the network of journalists across Ethiopia by seeding leaders who understand the current news environment and can help others see a way forward – safely and with authority,” Ferrier said.

Ferrier is co-editor of Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the open textbook adopted in communication, media and journalism classes around the globe. Ferrier is a former co-lead of the Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute at Arizona State University, a training program for journalism school educators on teaching media innovation and entrepreneurship. Ferrier teaches curriculum and pedagogy development and coaches educators through workshops and courses on media development. Named a 2018 Top 10 Educators to Watch by MediaShift, Dr. Ferrier has led hundreds of presentations on engaged journalism and digital technologies and developed curricula in digital media, media innovation and entrepreneurship, and online journalism and collaborated with international organizations like the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Freedom of the Press Foundation, PEN America, Article 19, and other professional organizations to ensure global press freedoms.

Published by Team TrollBusters. We can be reached at report(at)troll-busters(dot)com.

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