Irrawaddy Reporter Awarded US Fellowship

By The Irrawaddy 17 March 2015

Senior Irrawaddy reporter Saw Yan Naing has been awarded a US Fellowship by Alfred Friendly Press Partners, which will provide him with an opportunity to study at the Missouri School of Journalism and gain working experience with a Los Angeles-based media organization.

The foundation said in its announcement on Monday that Saw Yan Naing, 30, had been chosen because of his background and journalism experience gained at The Irrawaddy since joining in 2007.

“During his fellowship, he will work at the Tribe Media, a company founded in Los Angeles by Alfred Friendly Foundation board member Rob Eshman, and at its main publication, Jewish Journal,” Alfred Friendly Press Partners said.

Alfred Friendly Press Partners was founded in the early 1980s by Alfred Friendly, a Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post journalist. The organization works to strengthen skills and values by placing talented international journalists in US newsrooms and by establishing long-term training partnerships with news organizations

In the mid-1990s, Saw Yan Naing and his family were forced to flee their remote village in eastern Burma’s Karen State when it was under attack by Burma Army soldiers. He lived for years in refugee camps across the border in Thailand.

In 2004, he applied for a journalist training course at The Irrawaddy in Chiang Mai and in the following year he studied news reporting with the US-based non-profit Internews. After joining The Irrawaddy in 2007, Saw Yan Naing developed reporting expertise in ethnic issues, the Thai-Burma refugee situation and the long-running internal conflicts that have tormented Burma’s ethnic minority regions.

Aung Zaw, The Irrawaddy’s founding editor-in-chief, said of Saw Yan Naing: “Through his assertiveness, perseverance, and extensive reporting experience, he has developed high-level sources within ethnic armed groups in the Thai-Myanmar border area, ethnic community leaders, and civil society groups … which lead to accurate, insightful and in-depth reporting on such issues.”

In 2014, Saw Yan Naing was awarded a Jefferson fellowship at the East-West Center. He plans to start a special features and investigative program at The Irrawaddy and to eventually launch his own independent ethnic Karen media venture, Salween Cable.

The Irrawaddy Magazine was founded in Thailand by exiled student Aung Zaw in 1993 to cover developments in military-run Burma. Today, The Irrawaddy reports from an office in Rangoon, Burma’s commercial capital, and has an English- and Burmese-language daily news website and two print publications: a monthly magazine in English and a Burmese-language weekly journal.