Female Nigerian Journalist, 15 Others Win Prestigious U.S. Institute’s Fellowship

Helen Eni

By Eni Olukotun


History was made at the weekend when a seasoned and versatile female top Nigerian Journalist, Helen Eni was named alongside other 15 notable persons as recipients of the 2015 The Media Project Coaching and Leadership Fellowship Award.

Eni, a distinguished alumna of University of Lagos has a robust journalism career spanning almost two decades. She was the editor of the respected, Broadstreet Journal, a sister publication of the Tell Magazine before she joined The Union Newspaper as the pioneer Saturday editor of the paper. She is now a member of the tabloid’s editorial board.

Meanwhile, there have been torrent of congratulatory messages since  the news hit the air, many of her friends, professional colleagues and fans have taken to the social media to congratulate her. Edward Oludele Oluwole described the recognition as well deserved. “Madam congratulation. A golden fish has no hidden place. More ink in your pen”, wrote enthused Oyewole.

Also protégé of the award-winning journalist, Eni Olukotun also wrote, “Powerful! A well deserved recognition”.

According to a press statement signed by Caroline Comport, general manager, The Media Project selected 16 international journalists from 13 countries this year.

Paul Marshall, the Media Project president, noted that “The journalists selected for this award practice their craft in different situations. Some have broad freedom, while others labour under heavy censorship.”

Marshall hoped the recipients would together develop leadership skills that transcend cultures and gain a better understanding of the challenges their colleagues face.

The Media Project Coaching and Leadership Fellowship aims to build a global network of journalists dedicated to ethical decision-making and leadership values, those willing to mentor the next generation of journalists.

The programme will begin with a weeklong workshop at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States where the Fellows would participate in a series of interactive sessions designed to help them recognise universal leadership principles.

The statement said the training topics include strategic and critical thinking, emotional intelligence, feedback, intrinsic motivation, conflict resolution, and collaboration.

The core training sessions would be led by Jill Geisler, who holds the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University, Chicago.

Geisler, whose leadership mantra is “helping others succeed,” is the author of “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know”. For 16 years, Geisler guided the leadership and management programmes of the Poynter Institute.

The Media Project fellows will also explore the intersection of journalism and faith with nationally syndicated “On Religion” columnist and Media Project Board Member, Terry Mattingly.

The fellowship requires participants to make a year-long commitment to explore, hone, and implement their new coaching and leadership skills, as well as agree to mentor two journalists working in their home country.

Other recipients of the awards include; David Blevins, Ireland; Francis Brewer Jr., Liberia; Tito John Burgonio, Philippines; William Bustos, Columbia; Lucy Chattopadhyay, India; Marcos Deles, Philippines; Liu Dong, China; Barbara Hough Roda, United States; Edyth Kambalame, Malawi; Comfort Mussa, Cameroon; Anna Ntemiris, Germany; Daniel Raus, Czech Republic; Beletu Sorsu, Ethiopia; J. Sam Daniel Stalin, India; and Iris Voellnagel, Germany.

Since its creation in 2012, forty-seven journalists from 31 countries have completed the fellowship programme.