A multi-year initiative to support great journalism on Asia was launched today by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.
For centuries Asia was the ‘centre of the world’ and is so again. It is home to half to world’s population. Its economy is bigger than all other regions combined. It is a centre for technological innovation and cultural influence. It is the frontline of the world’s most important geopolitical competition, between China and the United States.
The world’s story is now an Asian story. But to tell that story the world needs great journalism — great journalism in Asia and great journalism on Asia.
JNI Executive Director Mark Ryan said: “Asian Stories will be a decade-long effort to help Asian and international journalists tell the region’s most important stories in intelligent and compelling ways.”
“In particular, it will encourage greater engagement and collaboration between media in the region and counterparts elsewhere in the world,” he said.
“Wherever possible we want to involve Australian media organisations, freelancers and students in Asian Stories.”
The first reporting collaborations
As a first step, Asian Stories is funding reporting collaborations between Asian and international media on major regional issues and themes to be published in 2021.
The projects include:
- An investigation of digital crimes in Asia that brings together the South China Morning Post, the Korea Times, Tempo in Indonesia, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and ABS-CBN in the Philippines.
- An in-depth examination of regional energy, environment and resource issues by Tempo in Indonesia, Malaysiakini, the Centre for Media and Development Initiatives in Vietnam, Tortoise Media in the United Kingdom, the Australian Financial Review, Tokyo-based investigative newsroom Tansa and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism Newstapa in South Korea.
- A collaboration on media in South-East Asia by the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, Frontier Myanmar, Myanmar Now, the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and The Guardian.
- Asian Stories will also continue JNI’s support for The Australian Financial Review’s South-East Asia bureau in 2021. That project has already deepened the coverage of the region in Australia and built new connections between Australian and South-East Asian journalists. In just 12 months the AFR published 211 articles by correspondent Emma Connors and generated increases in page views and audience engagement for coverage on South-East Asia.
News in Asia report
A second initial component of Asian Stories will be a News in Asia report, published by JNI in collaboration with the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong and the News and Media Research Centre (NMRC) at Canberra University, the Australian partner institute of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, which publishes the annual Digital News Report.
The report, to be published in 2021, will map the region’s news media landscape. It will identify the key components of the news infrastructure in the region, highlight emerging news consumption trends and cover issues such as media start-ups, disinformation and fact-checking, social media, media freedom, donor funding for media and the impact of COVID-19 on Asian news media.
“JNI’s goal is to make the News in Asia report the go-to reference tool for anyone who is interested in journalism and the news media in Asia, from journalists and academics, to policymakers and businesspeople,” Mr Ryan said.
Just the beginning
New elements will be added to Asian Stories over time, including support for additional reporting projects and collaborations, as well as fellowships and peer-to-peer exchanges.
“Asian Stories is a long-term investment by JNI. In coming years, we will add new elements to the project to do what we can to encourage more and better reporting and deeper analysis of the world’s most important region,” Mr Ryan said.