The Simon Cumbers Media Fund was established in 2005 by Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development aid programme. The Fund honours the memory of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers, who was killed in 2004 while working for the BBC in Saudi Arabia. The aim of the Fund is to assist and promote more and better quality coverage of development issues in the Irish media.
About the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme
The Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme awards students with an opportunity to travel to a developing country to research and produce a media project focusing on development issues. Applicants will be asked to submit a multimedia proposal, including their story idea; a detailed treatment of who they plan to interview; contacts they have established on the ground; and what kind of outputs they would envisage at the end of their project. These could include, but are not limited to: broadcast, print, photographic and online outputs. Applicants should also outline how they plan to use social media to document their experiences. Three awards will be granted, and the prize for each winner will include:
- Funding to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses.
- Guidance and one-to-one mentoring from journalists within three of Ireland’s leading media organisations: Newstalk producer, Susan Cahill, The Irish Times’ Foreign Policy Editor, Paddy Smyth, and TheJournal.ie deputy editor, Christine Bohan.
- Publication or broadcast of the resulting work on Newstalk; The Irish Times or TheJournal.ie, provided the editors deem it to be of sufficient quality.
- Showcasing of the media projects produced by winning applicants on the Simon Cumbers Media Fund website and in other online and print materials produced by Irish Aid.
- Hands-on support from Irish Aid personnel in Ireland and in the developing countries to which the winning students travel.
The Simon Cumbers Media Fund is promoted and administered by DHR Communications, on behalf of Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
How to Apply
To apply to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme, students must complete and submit an online application form. In their application form, students must describe the project they would like to undertake if awarded funding from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. All proposed projects must entail travel to an Irish Aid priority country (see https://www.irishaid.ie/what-we-do/countries-where-we-work/) and must have a strong focus on development issues.
- Along with the online application form, students must submit three samples of journalistic style work when applying to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme. These can be sample print / online articles, broadcast projects or multimedia projects, or work that has previously been published or broadcast in media outlets (including college media outlets).
- All work submitted must demonstrate applicants’ journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research.
- Samples of print / online articles should be no longer than 1,000 words each.
- Samples of broadcast projects should not exceed five minutes each in duration.
- Students must also submit a letter of recommendation from a member of staff from their academic institution.
The judges will select a shortlist of applicants who will be invited to attend an interview with the panel, which will be made up of the mentors listed above, in addition to a representative from Irish Aid. The aim of the interview is to assess the capabilities of the applicant and also to equip the applicant with real-life experience of pitching a story to an editor, which can be directly applied to a future career in journalism.
Who Can Apply?
- The Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme is open to all full-time or part-time third-level students over the age of 18, including students at institutes of further education; institutes of technology; universities; and those participating in PLC (Post-Leaving Certificate) courses.
- Entries will only be accepted from students who are currently enrolled in a third-level educational institution based in the Republic of Ireland.
- Team entries or joint applications will not be accepted.
- Entries are welcome from students of all disciplines; however, students are required to demonstrate journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research by submitting samples of their work with their application forms.
The judging panel will select a shortlist from the applications received, who will be invited to attend an interview.
The shortlist will be decided up by a panel of judges, comprising:
- Members of the Cumbers family (Bronagh Cumbers and Louise Bevan).
- A representative from Irish Aid.
- Susan Cahill, Producer, Newstalk.
- Paddy Smyth, Foreign Policy Editor, The Irish Times.
- Christine Bohan, Deputy Editor, TheJournal.ie.
- Rodney Rice, former broadcaster and media / development expert.
The interview panel will choose three winners of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme.
Applications will be judged on the following criteria:
- Overall quality of the proposal.
- Demonstrated capacity to undertake research-based media projects.
- Demonstrated understanding of development issues.
- Potential impact and reach of the proposed media project (note: proposals for multimedia projects will be favoured by the judging panel, whereby students commit to documenting their experiences through a variety of methods and media – written, online, audiovisual, photography, etc.).
The three winning applicants will then be invited to meet with representatives from Irish Aid and the Fund administrators to decide upon an appropriate budget to fund their trip.
Terms and Conditions
- Students may only submit one application to the current funding round for the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme (i.e. multiple applications from the same individual will not be accepted).
- Applications must be made using the official online system.
- All proposed projects must entail travel to an Irish Aid priority country (see https://www.irishaid.ie/what-we-do/countries-where-we-work/) and have a strong focus on development issues.
- All proposed projects must be new, i.e. they must not have been broadcast or published in any format previously.
- Proposals that promote the work of a single agency / organisation or are of a campaigning nature will not be considered.
- Applicants must submit samples of their work along with their application form. These can be sample print / online articles, broadcast projects or multimedia projects, or work that has previously been published or broadcast in media outlets (including college media outlets). All work submitted must demonstrate applicants’ journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research.
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview.
- Funding to cover travel to and accommodation and subsistence expenses in the relevant country will be disbursed to the winning entrants upon signing a contract between each entrant and Irish Aid.
- The copyright of the final product will remain with the applicant. However, materials produced must be made available – free of charge – for potential future use by Irish Aid, including on the Irish Aid and Simon Cumbers Media Fund websites. Irish Aid will at all times acknowledge copyright.
Details regarding the opening and closing dates of upcoming rounds, as well as specific requirements, will be announced in the news section of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund website and via social media on its Twitter and Facebook platforms.
If you have questions about the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme, or any aspect of the application process, please contact: Simon Cumbers Media Fund, c/o DHR Communications, 80 Francis Street, Dublin 8. Tel: 01-4200580, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.