Michael Russell: Livingstone’s legacy lives on in scholar scheme

Michael Russell. Picture: Contributed
Michael Russell. Picture: Contributed
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THE potential impact of the Livingstone Journalism Scholars’ programme, for all involved, is incalculable.

It will change the lives of the two journalists who will take up the four-week study tour. It will give them the 
opportunity to travel 5,000 miles across the globe; study at the internationally recognised educational school that David Livingstone himself graduated from; work alongside experienced, professional investigative journalists at a national newspaper; and return home with skills they can pass on.

The greater impact of this partnership – between the Scottish Government, Scotland on Sunday and the University of Strathclyde – will be the investment of knowledge and expertise into the ­Malawian media sector.

As Malawi continues to ­develop, the expectation on journalism to reflect that growth, keep communities informed of what is happening around them and give a voice to the people has ­never been greater.

Last week’s celebrations of the 200th anniversary of ­Livingstone’s birth, and the visit of President Joyce Banda, showed the ongoing links between Scotland and Malawi are making real differences to people’s lives. Our investment and skills and knowledge exchange are targeting aid, healthcare, culture and economic growth.

This programme has an important part to play in supporting all of this work as both countries honour 
the deep legacies of Livingstone’s life, work and ­passions.

Journalism in Malawi is ­vital to raising awareness of this work, and the opportunities it creates, as well as underpinning Malawi’s ­democratic development.

We have seen how great the damage can be when trust in the ability or standards of journalists is lost. Events have demonstrated just how important it is to have an accurate view on the world.

I am particularly pleased that the study opportunity will include experience of digital media and the possibilities it provides in reaching wider and international audiences. The attention ­focused on Malawi has never been greater.

As the world watches the achievements being made, having a platform to articulate the hopes and ambitions of Malawi’s people will be a driving force in shaping further progress. All of the partners in this programme have high hopes for what it will achieve. I look forward to meeting the two journalists when they begin their study tour in September.