TWO SunStar Davao journalists were selected to participate in an international leadership training organized by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and Temasek Foundation.

SunStar Davao Digital Services Head Ace June Rell S. Perez and multi-media reporter Ralph Lawrence G. Llemit are among the 27 fellows of the 2022 Young Media Leaders Fellowship (YMLF). The fellows were nominated by their peers and editors.

“The future of journalism is in the hands of the young and upcoming journalists. The Young Media Leaders Fellowship will sharpen their journalistic and management skills,” Esther Ng, WEF Asia Chair and Chief of Content, Star Media Group, said in a statement on June 27, 2022.

SunStar Davao is the lone community newspaper in the international fellowship.

Perez started as a reporter with SunStar Davao in 2015 covering business stories. In 2017, he was promoted to social media strategist. He spearheaded the digital initiatives of SunStar Davao. In 2022, he was promoted to Digital Services Head as the newspaper expanded its digital initiatives.

Llemit entered SunStar Davao in 2019 as a reporter, being assigned to the city hall and general beats. In 2022, he was promoted to multimedia reporter. While he covers stories, he also supports Perez in the newspaper's digital initiatives.

The fellowship started on June 27, 2022. Online masterclasses were held on June 27 to 29 and July 4 and 5. It will culminate "with an in-person Fellowship Finale at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Asia in November 2022."

"They will gather online and in-person over the next six months to share experiences, exchange ideas, amplify the impact of their news reporting, and learn to lead in an industry transformed by technology," WAN-IFRA said in a statement on June 27, 2022.

SunStar Davao Editor-in-chief Reuel John F. Lumawag said the fellowship will allow SunStar Davao team members to take on bigger leadership roles in the future.

"It is important to enable and empower younger team members to be able to take bigger responsibilities in the future. The YMLF will allow Perez and Llemit to learn leadership skills and principles in the media industry while navigating the digital environment," Lumawag said.

After the first set of master classes, Perez said this would help young media leaders to come up with sound decisions in guiding our team in navigating the changing media landscape.

"Some of the key takeaways from the sessions are how to be a more self-aware leader; the importance of getting all players involved in newsroom innovations; and new initiatives on how to stay relevant in serving the community better through responsible journalism," Perez said.

Llemit said the fellowship is a rare opportunity for media practitioners.

"The five-day session gave me tons of insights on various newsroom cultures and practices outside the Philippines. The event also served as an eye-opener on how the industry landscape has evolved throughout the years, and what needs to be done to brace for more changes in the years to come," Llemit said.

He added that the sessions also gave him "a deeper understanding of how anyone can be a leader, not only in their respective newsrooms but in their other daily lives."

Other fellows are "high-potential mid-career editors and journalists from 21 publications in nine countries." Also from the Philippines are Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz, Content Producer/Senior Reporter, Manila Bulletin; Martin Sadongdong, Content Producer/Reporter, Manila Bulletin; and Robert Jaworski Abano, Associate Editor for Regions, Philippine Daily Inquirer.