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Application advice from funded journalists

Interested in applying to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund? Check out some top tips from funding recipients.

 

Start working on your application well in advance

 “If you are applying to Simon Cumbers Media Fund for the first time, ring Irish Aid, speak to the relevant person who is working in the country you want to go to, and find as much as you can before you apply. Try to speak to people in the country as well and see what they have to say. Try to get costings right because if you underestimate, you might be stuck for money when you’re out. Start well in advance, just to give yourself some time.”

Aisling Hussey is a journalist with the Irish Farmers Journal.

 

Think outside the box and what you see on the news

“For those thinking of applying, I’d tell them not to look to the news for stories. I think that the Fund looks for applications that think outside the box and challenge our perceptions about countries. So countries that are typically in the news about the developing world, their stories have already been covered, so look for stories that haven’t been covered and look for an angle that is suitable for the funding and something that an Irish audience would be interested in.”

Fergal Browne is a freelance journalist. His projects have been published in thejournal.ie.

 

What to bring on assignment

“Bring a notepad and pen, a half decent camera, and a pair of comfy shoes. If there’s someone who is going to be heavily involved, be it a fixer or a translator or someone you are interviewing, it’s always nice to bring a souvenir from Ireland. Finally, I’d always seek any sort of documentation that is going to make your journey easier.”

Joseph O’Connor is a journalist with Ashville Media.

 

 Prioritise organising your visa and vaccines

“I would advise anyone to get their visa sorted as number one priority as the application process can take a long time. In terms of your health, make sure you get any vaccines needed before you go, and when you’re on the ground, don’t forget to check the simple things like if the local water is safe to drink”

Colin Brennan is a journalist with the Irish Daily Mirror.

 

Find a relevant topic and be organised before you travel

 “Keep your focus broad. Try to find a topic that is relevant to an Irish audience, whether it’s a theme that has resonance in Irish history, or whether it’s in an area that has a particular link to Ireland. Then, if you get accepted for funding, I think it is best to organise everything before you go. It’s best to have as many interviews as possible set up because you probably won’t have the time when you are over there.”

Catherine Healy, now a journalist with the Sunday Business Post, was funded under the SCMF Student Scheme.

 

Ensure your project is something you are passionate about

 “The advice I would give to someone thinking of applying to the Fund would be to come up with an idea that they are passionate about, something they genuinely want to know more about. If you find something you are genuinely interested in, it really comes across in the application.”

Jane Fallon Griffin is completing an MA in Journalism in DCU and was funded to under the SCMF Student Scheme.

 

 See our article on Research resources for journalists.