OPINION: VERA Files Road Safety Fellowship

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Jun 11 2018 03:46 PM

The third phase of the Road Safety Fellowship being conducted by VERA Files in cooperation with the World Health Organization is now open for application.

Just like in the first and second phases, we are inviting members of print, broadcast and online media, including freelance writers based in Metro Manila and Luzon, to participate in this project which aims to improve quality of life by producing stories that would make the public be conscious of making our roads safe.

Rich or poor, we are all road users. Road safety should be everybody’s concern.

The WHO says about 7,000 Filipinos die each year from road crashes. The 7,000 is not just a number. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, persons we love and care. Many of them are breadwinners.

Thousands more are injured, their earning capability reduced, if not completely eliminated.

A 2015 study, Assessment of Philippine Media Coverage of Road Crashes and Safety, said, “The media has a tremendous opportunity to lead the discussion on road safety and to frame it in a way that helps the public see the importance of the issue, understand its real impact on their lives, and to both call for and support systemic solutions.” 

This is what the Fellowship is all about: to strengthen the capacity of journalists to produce comprehensive news and feature articles and translate statistics on road injuries and deaths to human and public interest stories.

This is part of the multi-country Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety 2015-2019 carried out by a consortium of international partners, together with national governments and local organizations.

The Program aims to generate interest in road safety reportage that is thorough, exhaustive and contextualized; one that goes beyond breaking news, body counts and police reports but which instead frames road safety as a public health and development issue.

How does one apply for the fellowship?

Just send us proposals (lsodipe@verafiles.org or editorial@verafiles.org) for stories that you would like to work on in the duration of the fellowship. Just an idea of the topic you want to pursue in 150 -200 words. 

Story ideas can be developed from the following subjects, relating to major behavioral risk factors that influence the likelihood of a crash and the severity of its consequences: (1) speed; (2) use of seatbelts: (3) child restraint; (4) helmets for motorcycle riders; and (5) drunk and distracted driving.

Fellows will produce a minimum of five well-researched stories/video productions that will be published in their own news organizations.

The Fellowship will open with an Orientation/Training Seminar in July. The Fellows will participate in a Roundtable on Road Safety involving editors and other journalists in September. And a large Media and Road Safety event in November.

When you send us your proposals, please include updated CVs (no more than two pages); two samples of published articles/video clips; a letter of endorsement from an editor or producer; and a completed application form (Download the form in MS Word from Verafiles website – verafiles.org). Deadline is June 25.

Twenty-one media fellows from around metropolitan Manila and other parts of the country had taken part in the two programs (2015-2017). They produced close to 80 stories on road safety published in different news outlets and also disseminated online by VERA Files in a special Chit Estella Road Safety page (verafiles.org/specials/road-safety).

For more information, please visit: APPLY NOW: The Road Safety Journalism Fellowship Phase 3

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Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
Email: ellentordesillas@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.