VERA Files is inviting journalists to submit story proposals for this year’s Road Safety Journalism Fellowship, which will focus on the use of child restraints in private vehicles, and the safety considerations of using motorcycles as public utility vehicles.
Children and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the country and their safety is a continuing concern. This year’s Fellowship will focus on the two subjects under the over-arching theme of road safety as a shared responsibility of everyone in the community.
The government, through the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 11229), has signalled its commitment to protect children on the road. Requiring the use of child restraint systems (CRS) aims to mitigate the risks of injury to children travelling in private vehicles. The implementing rules and regulations of this new law are now being drafted.
The issue of motorcyclists’ safety has come under scrutiny in light of proposals to allow the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles. A technical working group formed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is assessing the viability of legalizing the so-called motorcycle taxis.
The on-going discussions will enable all sectors the opportunity to express their positions so that an agreement that takes into account the safety, security, and comfort of passengers, can be reached.
The media is in a position to inform the public of these deliberations as well as other initiatives meant to promote the safety of kids, motorcycle riders and other road users.
The Road Safety Journalism Fellowship is one such vehicle for writers from print, broadcast and online media to do this. Now on its fourth year, the Program aims to strengthen the capacity of journalists to produce comprehensive news and feature articles and translate statistics on road injuries and deaths to human and public interest stories, and frame road safety as a public health and development issue.
The Fellowship is part of the multi-country Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety 2015-2019 carried out by a consortium of international partners, together with national governments and local organizations. In the Philippines, it is carried out by the World Health Organization and VERA Files.
We are calling for story proposals on child restraints (car seats) and the issue of motorcycles-for-hire, also called “habal-habal” in the provinces, which journalists are to produce between August and November 2019, and published in their own news organizations.
These are well-researched stories/video productions that provide an in-depth analysis of data, behaviors, existing legislation, deliberations by different stakeholders of 1) proposals to legalize motorcycles as public vehicles, 2) the ongoing formulation of rules and regulations on the use of car seats for children, and related topics like use of seat belts, speeding, and other road safety concerns.
The Fellowship will open with an Orientation/Training Seminar in early August in Manila. The Fellows will participate in a Roundtable on Road Safety involving road safety advocates, government officials and media and a large Media and Road Safety event later in the year.
Who can apply?
The 2019 Road Safety Journalism Fellowship Program is open to journalists from print and broadcast media, free-lance writers based in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Journalists with at least three years reporting experience are invited to submit three story proposals (could be a series on the same subject, explained in 200 words) they wish to work on for the duration of the Fellowship.
The professional qualifications of the applicants and the quality and substance of the story proposals will be given equal weight.
How to apply
Applicants are to send in their:
a. updated CVs (no more than two pages)
b. two samples of published articles/video clips
c. a letter of endorsement from an editor or producer
Deadline: June 30, 2019