Memorandum Builds on Strong Foundation of Caring About International News Coverage
Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 22, 2016) — Alfred Friendly Press Partners and the Missouri School of Journalism formalized a partnership that brings together the world’s first journalism school with a journalism fellowship program that’s trained more than 300 reporters, editors and broadcasters from 82 countries since 1984.
Missouri School of Journalism Dean David Kurpius and Alfred Friendly Foundation President Randall Smith announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding during an event held for the class of 2016 fellows at the Stueve Siegel Hanson law firm in Kansas City.
The purpose of the memorandum is to continue to develop and expand a framework of cooperation between the independent foundation and the university to develop mutually beneficial programs.
Missouri journalism faculty members have been training fellows for years, and in January 2014 the Alfred Friendly Foundation moved the fellowship program from Washington, D.C., to the Missouri School of Journalism. The office is in the Reynolds Journalism Institute, which engages media professionals and scholars in programs aimed at strengthening journalism in the service of democracy. Smith is the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism and began his involvement with the fellowship program two decades ago when he was an editor at The Kansas City Star.
“We think it’s a great partnership,” Kurpuis said. “It’s one that will build on a strong foundation of caring about international news coverage, something we’ve done since our founding in 1908, when Walter Williams made sure there were two Chinese students in the first graduating class.”
Kurpuis said the joint effort will amplify the benefits to both parties.
“The mutual benefit that we get out of it, and the resources that we share, the support that we provide each other and the opportunities to help train and have these wonderful fellows in our school and then out in journalism organizations across the country is one that would be very difficult to replicate in any other way. We look forward to building this out,” he said.
Alfred Friendly Foundation Chairman Jonathan Friendly, whose parents established the fellowship program 32 years ago, said the partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism coincides with an expansion of the fellowship program’s scope.
“We decided we’re not just training individual journalists to be excellent,” Friendly said. “We’re going to lift up journalism around the world. It’s a larger aspiration. We cannot have that aspiration without Randy Smith and without the Missouri School of Journalism. It is the combination of those forces that makes me so deeply optimistic.”
The Alfred Friendly Fellows go through two weeks of hands-on training at the Missouri School of Journalism in March. The fellows will have another two weeks of training at the Missouri School of Journalism in July and a final seminar in Washington, D.C., in September. The fellows work for five months in U.S. newsrooms as staff reporters. The quality of the training and the duration of the fellowship create a transformative experience for young reporters and editors, which sets the Alfred Friendly program apart from other journalism fellowship programs.
To broaden the impact of the fellowship, participants are required to develop training plans that they implement for their colleagues when they return to their home newsrooms. Graduates typically make a profound impact on journalism in their countries.