In December 2022, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded their third annual Elevate Scholarship to 50 news media professionals from 31 countries. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
After graduating in 2019 with a bachelor of science in politics and economics, Belenn Rebecka Bekele launched her career working in international development for UN Women in Liberia. During Bekele’s time at UN Women, she focused on leading digital development projects and expanding strategic partnerships with the private sector.
These experiences were the perfect precursor to her current work as a community researcher for Sweden’s Schibsted.
“My interest and experience in working with marginalised communities led me to IN/LAB,” a new joint venture by Schibsted and Tinius Trust to safeguard and promote the future of journalism. In her role at IN/LAB, Bekele works to bring forward perspectives from underrepresented and underserved groups.
Being the daughter of African immigrants as well as being a Christian in a highly secular society has allowed her not only to see but also experience what it is not to fit in:
“In my work, I meet with and listen to groups of people who for different reasons and to different extents are not consuming and/or trusting traditional news media. Because of my personal and professional background, I bring a sensitivity to how we can reach and include their voices.”
Bekele looks forward to equipping herself with deeper knowledge about the news media industry and learning new skills: “As I do not have a professional background in news media, I see this scholarship as a unique opportunity to exchange best practices and connect with like-minded individuals from across the globe. This is important for me as I want to better position myself to contribute towards the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Schibsted.
“Ultimately, by being part of this programme, I hope that I can be part of opening up the Swedish/Nordic news media industry to different faces, voices and perspectives.”