Rockwood’s Fellowship in Media, Communications and Information Policy is a multi-session leadership program for media activists, policy advocates, media makers and scholars committed to ensuring an open and democratic media environment. Launched in 2006 with support from the Ford Foundation, 2010 marked the fourth active year of the program. The program is now complete. Please visit this link to see a list of Media Fellow Alums since 2006.
The goal of the Fellowship was to develop strong leadership in and collaboration among key leaders working in the media reform policy sector. The strategy was to convene and train emerging and senior representatives from national and state advocacy organizations, academic and nonprofit research institutions, “alternative” media content producers and media justice organizations to create partnerships within and across these approaches to policy reform. The program also hosted several convenings which included Fellows from different program years in order to deepen partnerships and collaboration across the field as a whole.
The Fellowship was designed to teach powerful visioning, listening, speaking, presentation, coaching, team-building and feedback skills to emerging media reform leaders.
Key skills developed through the Fellowship were:
- Deal more effectively with leadership challenges
- Manage relationships to increase personal and organizational effectiveness
- Sharpen and sustain compelling visions for your work
- Inspire and align others to work effectively towards common goals
- Increase sustainability and engage with tools to prevent burnout
- Build partnerships inside and outside your organization
Each Fellow participated in two different residential retreats, peer coaching pairs and leadership practice assignments.
Art of Leadership
The first residential retreat Fellows attended was a 4-5 day Art of Leadership training, one of Rockwood’s signature programs.
Fellows selected one Art of Leadership training to attend in small groups of two to six Fellows. This means that the Media Fellows attended their first training in small separate groups, not all together as one complete cohort. By selecting from Rockwood’s already-scheduled Art of Leadership offerings, Fellows were in training with up to 24 other participants who enrolled separately from the Fellowship. This approach gave Media Fellows an opportunity to build connections and share learning with a broader, multi-sector community of nonprofit leaders. (Fellows had an opportunity to come together as one complete cohort group in the second Advanced Training and Dialogue Retreat as described below.)
Coaching is both an important leadership skill and resource for social change leaders. Following the Art of Leadership, Fellows formed peer coaching partners to provide support to each other in managing leadership challenges back in their organizations and reinforce tools from the training.
To reinforce the tools of the training, Rockwood designed leadership practice “homework” assignments for Fellows. Assignments involved “practicing” with the tools from the trainings. As an example, the Art of Leadership offers some strategies to engage with difficult conversations. One Leadership Practice assignment invited Fellows to identify an actual conversation that they can use the training tools for and then implement the tools. Leadership Practices were supported by group conference calls where Fellows could share stories and “meet” other Fellows in the program over the phone.
Advanced Training and Dialogue Retreat
The second component of the Media Fellowship was an Advanced Training and Dialogue Retreat: a 3-day residential training retreat. In order to deepen partnerships and collaboration in the field, this Advanced training convened new Fellows as a complete cohort, along with additional alums selected from past year’s Media cohorts. In addition to furthering the practice of leadership development, the Advanced training reserved time and space for Fellows and alumni to collaborate through essential conversations specific to the media reform sector.
Our programs are led by nationally and internationally-recognized thinkers, educators, and activists who are experienced in sharing the most in depth, leading insights on leadership development, collaboration and capacity building.
José is an expert in the development of leadership skills and the creation of high-performing organizations who has spent the last 25 years working with a broad range of organizations to help them function innovatively in pursuit of specific mission-critical results.
Helen S. Kim
Helen is an organizational development consultant, facilitator and executive coach with 18 years of experience working with social change organizations and leaders in the U.S. and internationally.
Rockwood’s optimal criteria for enrollment in the Fellowship included a cohort of leaders who:
- Are engaged in work focusing on media reform, specifically around issues related to advancing media rights, and access and openness
- Are emerging leaders in the field, having been engaged in the work for at least 3-5 years*
- Demonstrate personal/professional readiness for new leadership skills
- Have experience with cross-strategy collaboration and desire to strengthen such work
- Reflect the racial and gender diversity of our communities