Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) Program
Call for Media Trainers and Consultants
The IREX MEND Program: The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) is implementing the USAID-funded Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) program. The goal of MEND is to improve citizens’ access to balanced and reliable news and information, and to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen media freedom and democratic governance.
Summary: Under the MEND program, IREX will work with various groups of media stakeholders from media outlets to freelance journalists and media associations to strengthen their capacity, enabling them to play an independent and responsible role.
IREX will work with professional trainers and consultants who have proven expertise and a strong track record in offering needs-based, customized and focused trainings. IREX envisions establishing a pool of trainers and consultants whose expertise will be drawn upon during the life cycle of the program.
While the thematic areas for the MEND program have been broadly identified (Business and Operations, Digitalization, and Professionalism and Safety), each stakeholder will have individual needs. The selected individuals will be expected to work closely with the IREX/MEND program team to deliver these trainings and assistance programs. The following table provides an overview of specific areas of need:
Investigative Journalism (IJ)
Trainers should be able to train participants on the concept of exploring reliable data sources; document trails; data analysis; verification; story presentation; and writing and presenting a convincing investigative story.
This training will improve the knowledge and skills of participants broadly on gender-sensitive reporting. The trainer will also be expected to help the MDP partners use IREX’s proposed Gender Charter as a guiding document in reporting.
Reporting on Reconciliation
As Sri Lanka attempts to institute a process of transitional justice, the media plays a key role in reporting on conflict transformation, reconciliation and peacebuilding. Through this training, IREX will educate journalists on how they can shape perceptions, condition behavior and impact the minds, attitudes, and emotions of readers and the community at large.
Mobile Journalism has fast become a key form of reporting in Sri Lanka. Trainers will empower journalists to produce high-quality mobile video stories using their smartphones. The training should include key areas such as mobile filming, editing, live broadcast, integrating smart phones in newsrooms, and dealing with reliable mobile applications for iOS and Android. In addition, given the high mobile penetration in Sri Lanka, trainers should also be able to deliver trainings on the use of mobile journalism for conflict-sensitive reporting, which is pertinent in the case of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan journalists operate in a highly contentious environment. Through this training, media outlets will explore some basic theories, models and concepts in the field of media ethics. The trainer will introduce theories and perspectives, explore changing societal demands and expectations of media creation and media use, and will elaborate on existing ethical norms for media professionals.
Social Media Optimization and Digital Journalism
A priority area flagged was the need to train media stakeholders to creatively and efficiently use social media to maximize their audience, cater for different target audiences and digitally present their content through popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. The selected trainers will be expected to build capacity in social media storytelling, content marketing, innovative dissemination, revenue generation and user engagement.
Video and Audio Content Production
Trainers will be expected to train participants in producing high quality audio and video content. IREX expects that participants will be able to produce highly creative content for various web and digital platforms.
With general elections fast approaching, IREX is looking for a trainer who will be able to inculcate ethical and fair reporting techniques in journalists, including equal distribution of speaking time among candidates, female participation, journalistic ethics and violence issues.
IREX seeks to train its partners on various aspect of data journalism, including online and offline data processing and presentation, including infographics and other visualizations tools.
Safety and security for journalists
The training on safety and security is expected to provide holistic capacity development support on digital, psychosocial, and physical safety for journalists. This will include training journalists, developing in-house digital security systems for media outlets, conducting digital security audits, and helping media outlets develop comprehensive digital security policies.
Business and Operational Management
The MEND program will work with an organization or individual offering needs-based, customized and focused business, management and sales and marketing-related training for selected media outlets to develop their internal management systems.
IREX will be working with radio stations to develop innovative radio programs. In particular trainers will be expected develop programs to promote diversity, good governance and reconciliation. Training will help increase public participation and provide strategies to engage a wider audience. Trainers will also have a strong knowledge of community radio models and rural production.
In addition to this, individuals/organizations may also be expected to serve as a liaison between the IREX program and their media partners, recommending assistance, overseeing and delivering training, evaluating progress and related activities.
Duties and Responsibilities: Selected individuals/organizations will be asked to work closely with IREX staff members and the respective media partners to deliver high quality, needs-based assistance and mentoring. Specifically this may include:
- Producing an initial evaluation, quarterly reports and a final evaluation (if required)
- Planning and Coordination with media outlets on trainings (if required)
- Producing a comprehensive training session plan clearly indicating the methodologies, which will be approved by MEND staff.
- Preparing relevant learning materials in the local language(s). IREX staff can provide any translation assistance if needed.
- Delivering high quality training(s) in Sri Lanka and, in some cases providing remote mentoring
- Preparing pre-and post-evaluation questionnaires and providing a final report after the training(s).
- Other duties may be added per the needs of IREX or partner media outlets.
Qualifications: Individuals/organizations will have extensive experience and a variety of skills to uplift the capacity of journalists working for the selected media organizations. Specifically, trainers should have:
- At least five years’ experience working for international media development agencies as a lead trainer in one or more of the themes mentioned above.
- A high level of practical experience or demonstrated knowledge in a range of skills related to the themes mentioned above, to provide highly customized trainings. Competitive applicants will be requested to provide references.
- Speaking, reading and writing proficiency in English is required. Additional proficiency in Sinhala and Tamil is strongly preferred.
- Strong interpersonal skills, work ethic, ability to work in a multicultural environment, work remotely and travel outside Colombo.
- Demonstrated ability to plan strategically and creatively to meet objectives.
- Strong ability to anticipate challenges and generate solutions.
Previous consultants/service providers will be considered for this post, with past performance used as a major part of the selection process. Selected consultants may be approved multiple or no consulting agreements during the period of the program.
Compensation: This is considered a consultancy position and selected individuals/organizations will be paid a daily rate determined by IREX.
How to apply: Interested individuals/organizations are asked to submit a letter of application clearly stating which thematic area(s) for which they can provide training, a CV with summaries of prior training experience and previous work in a similar field, and their proposed daily rates (US $).
Deadlines: Application for this position will be considered on a rolling basis. Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. IREX has the right to withdraw this announcement at any time.