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Foundation launches Aries Rufo journalism fellowship

The Journalism for Nation Building Foundation (JNBF) has launched the Aries Rufo Investigative and Explanatory Reporting Fellowship Program for Filipino journalists who want to pursue and write stories on social issues, government institutions or politics.

The fellowship is in honor of the late investigative reporter Aries Rufo, who wrote for Newsbreak and Rappler on various sectors such as the church, judiciary, and elections. The award-winning journalist passed away 4 years ago, on Sept. 19, 2015.

Fellowship grants will be awarded to four journalists from across the Philippines who will demonstrate long-standing interest in pursuing investigative and explanatory reports on various issues concerning key social institutions such as the national and local government, military, churches, etc.

The fellowship program will run in two cycles in 2020. Two fellows – one based in Manila and one in the province – will be chosen for each cycle.

The deadline for application is on Nov. 8, for the first cycle, and on April 10, 2020 for the second cycle. 


• Each fellow will receive a maximum budget of P100,000, broken down as:

P70,000 professional fee, to be released in tranches; and

P30,000 research, transportation, and communication allowance (P1,000 daily for 30 days, subject to liquidation)

• Actual work – including plan fine-tuning, research, investigative fieldwork, and writing – begins on Jan. 6, 2020 for the first cycle and on July 6, 2020 for the second cycle.

• The chosen fellows must spend the first three days of the fellowship at the Rappler office in Pasig City to work with an assigned mentor. The program will shoulder the fellow’s hotel accommodation and food, and the two-way airfares of those who will come from the provinces.

How to apply

Interested applicants must fill up the application form at and submit the following:

A. A story proposal, including a research plan and timetable for the investigation.

B. For applicants employed in news organizations, a letter of commitment from his/her editor and/or publisher that:

i. The fellow will be granted leave or a reduced workload, or will be allowed to focus on this project for the 30-day duration of the fellowship to be able to do his/her story, and.

ii. The fellow’s output and any follow-up stories directly related to the topic of the investigative report will be published in his/her publication, even sister publication/s.

C. For freelance applicants, names of at least 2 news organizations (either print or online) where they wish to publish their work (apart from Rappler).

The JNBF is an independent, non-profit organization that produces public-interest works in various platforms. Founded in August 2011, the Foundation seeks to promote in-depth journalism that provides context to important issues and pushes for greater transparency and accountability of officials and institutions.

The foundation was established by the team behind Newsbreak, an investigative reporting group which is now part of Rappler. Its current board of trustees members are Marites Dañguilan Vitug, Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza, Miriam Grace Go, Maan Hontiveros, and Carmela Fonbuena.

JNBF is the publisher of Rufo’s ground-breaking book, Altar of Secrets: Sex, Money and Politics in the Philippine Catholic Church.

For more information on the fellowship program, email (pr)


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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