Through IJNet, Hanan Solayman found training that transformed her career and launched her on a path of helping Egyptian journalists transform theirs.
"IJNet has been for long my hub for career development," Solayman writes. "Since 2007, I've been regularly checking it for different opportunities. I have many qualifications in my resume that can be traced to IJNet."
Solayman's career transformation began when she discovered an IJNet announcement for a 2010 World Press Institute fellowship. She applied and was selected for a two-month-long program that took her to Chicago, Washington, New York and San Francisco. When Solayman watched hyperlocal reporting in action at the Bay Citizen and Chicago News Cooperative, she was intrigued.
Solayman started to imagine how a community-based model for news could inform and empower underrepresented areas of Egypt. "I returned to Cairo in October 2010 full of hopes, ideas and dreams," she writes. The following month, a flawed parliamentary election resulted in a citizen uprising. More than ever, Solayman believed, Egypt's rural areas needed a voice.
Solayman quit her position as deputy head of the foreign desk at a daily state-owned newspaper and began building the foundation. "Today, we are officially registered as Mandara Media Foundation; an Egyptian Media NGO committed to improving the media landscape in Egypt," Solayman writes.
The organization has attracted grants from the Tow Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York (CUNY) and the International Press Institute (IPI), which will allow Mandara to "expose local journalists to the latest techniques and methods that can be used to improve the way news is covered and also the way data is visualized."
The foundation's training program for local journalists in the 11 states of Upper Egypt will start in November.
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