Intercambio

Lola’s reporting from Bolivia for the BBC and other media had a marked effect. Bolivia is generally ‘off the radar’ in the UK media and there is little coverage of the country, and correspondingly little appreciation here of the life of the people, including those who live on the Altiplano. Lola’s reporting was instrumental, for the brief time she was there, in bringing the country to the attention of the UK media, and partly as a consequence of the awareness that created, the trust’s fundraising has been quite successful so far. We take the view that to sustain the capacity to fundraise to support activity in Bolivia, we need to engage both with the national media in the UK and locally there. In our view, an effective and economically-feasible way to do this is to support an exchange programme of young or aspiring journalists between the two countries. This is a way of helping to enable informed and professionally-produced information to have a presence in the media. It is also very appropriate as part of the trust’s activity in Lola’s memory, to seek to make it possible for other young people to follow her example, expand their intercultural understanding and produce reporting which both raises the public profile of Bolivia and assists their own career.

This exchange proposition, which we have called the Intercambio,  has been warmly welcomed by BBC World Service and BBC College of Journalism, who have offered a great deal of in-kind support, in the form of training, equipment, placements in production centres and contacts. We also have the support of several journalism courses at UK universities and the participation of the Fundacion para el Periodismo, an independent NGO promoting standards and good practice in journalism in Bolivia, based in La Paz.

From our perspective, sustaining the profile of Bolivia in the media is necessary to enable the trust to continue to raise funds to support its charitable work there. We do not have the resources to engage directly in promoting awareness of the country through the media, by advertising or media relations work. We think that the Intercambio is a cost-effective way of engaging the support of relevant organisations, putting informed reporting into the media arena, and sustaining the awareness of Bolivia in the public media, to enable us to continue our fundraising efforts. We intend to use some of our funds to enable the Intercambio to take place, as a pilot, in 2011/12, and then to evaluate its outcomes and assess the extent to which the exchange is serving the trust’s charitable aims by assisting in our fundraising enterprise.

Selection of beneficiaries for the proposed Intercambio journalist exchange, will be made in UK by public advertisement and through networks including BBC, Society for Latin American Studies and university journalism and latin american studies degree courses.

In Bolivia the selection will be made with the cooperation of UMSA (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz), the Bolivian network of community radio stations, the Fundacion para el Periodismo and through local contacts in Calamarca and the surrounding area.

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