Fellow Since 1990
Forum for Development Journalists
This profile was prepared when Saleem Samad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1990.
The New Idea
Frustrated like so many of his countrymen by a sense that the promise of Golden Bangladesh is being lost in a sink of disappointing leadership, Saleem feels he can help energize a group in society that can fill the need for most concerned and able journalists around the country, especially those close to its grassroots realities beyond the capital.Drawing on the contacts and insights he developed over 12 years during which he covered Bangladesh beyond Dhaka much of the time, he pulls together three to five leading local journalists in each local region. This local forum then meets once a month with a leading development official. They collectively study and develop a sense of what needs to be done. They write about these issues in the local press, and contribute to the nationally syndicated articles that Saleem's Development Features puts out 10 times a month.Saleem and his central staff help start the local forums, provide formal and informal training, and conceive and help edit the syndicated pieces. They help the participating journalists with their work, and serve as a bridge to international outlets like London's Panos Institute. They will increasingly help draw the local Forums together into a mutually reinforcing network.Saleem's energy comes from his belief that this group of people, given these supports and bridges, can make a significant difference for the country as well as make journalism come alive.