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Participants of the Refugee Journalism Project sit in the Guardian Podcast studio with Guardian colleagues.

Refugee Journalism Project calls for new participants for 2020

Written by Jake May
Published date 04 February 2020

The Refugee Journalism Project, which supports former journalists with a refugee background looking to re-build their journalism careers in the UK, is looking for new participants for 2020.

The project, which is based at London College of Communication, supports journalists with refugee backgrounds to acquire new media skills, publish journalistic content, and build professional networks.

The project has so far supported 48 former journalists reconnect their careers, and is hoping to recruit 15 new participants for 2020.

Over the six month project, successful candidates will take part in workshops delivered by London College of Communication, The Guardian Foundation and Google News Initiative; be mentored by experienced UK-based journalists; publish their work; receive career guidance; and take part in workshops to support their English language development.

Participants will then be invited to apply for a second phase of the project, which offers three six-month paid traineeships.

Participants of previous iterations of the project - who have come from countries including Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Cuban, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Yemen - completed work experience at the likes of the Daily Mirror, journalism.co.uk and the BBC, and had worked published by The Guardian Foundation as part of a series of features.

Ziad Ghandour, a former participant of the Refugee Journalism Project originally from Syria who now works as a part-time Broadcast Assistant with the BBC, said:

"If it was not for the connections I made through the Refugee Journalism Project, I would not be where I am today.

"I didn't have much confidence at first because my English wasn't great but RJP reassured me I shouldn't think about language as an obstacle, because the more important skill to have is ideas.

"I learned that having access to contacts was extremely important in this industry and that is what the project provided me with."

Vivienne Francis, founder of the Refugee Journalism Project and Reader and Senior Lecturer in Social Justice Journalism at London College of Communication, UAL, said:

"The Refugee Journalism Project aims to help refugee and exiled journalists build up their network of industry contacts, update their skills and get their voices into the mainstream media.

"Participants of the project have found the experience incredibly rewarding. Many have significant experience of journalism, but don't necessarily have a strong understanding of how the UK media operates, or access to important networks.

"The project is about helping to update skills, including in digital and social media, understanding the breadth of journalism the UK has to offer, and helping them to apply journalism in a UK context.

"But it's not a one-way street. Newsrooms, editors and publications have also found our participants bring incredibly useful insights, unique perspectives and broad skills to tell stories to their audiences."

The deadline to apply is 22 February 2020, workshops are due to start in March 2020. Find out more about the Refugee Journalism Project.

Photo © Veronica Otero.

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