Tempo Media Journalism Fellowships

Target group

Professional investigative journalists who wanted specialised training (e.g. how to handle sensitive information)

Country Partners Budget Duration
Indonesia Tempo Institute, PressLegalAid, various CSOs 120.000 EUR subgrant per year 2016 - 2020
Theory of Change Themes Donor
Intermediate Outcome 2 Access to Information, Accountability, Fact checking, Trust in media Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Tempo media is one of most important media outlets in Indonesia. It has a strong track record of conducting high-profile investigative reports. Tempo Institute is the NGO arm of Tempo Media.


Overall objective

Spread the culture of investigative journalism by bringing CSOs and journalists into collaboration with one another and encouraging them to both monitor the impact of their collaborative investigations.


The investigative fellowship started in 2016. For every program, ten investigative journalists are selected for this Tempo fellowship. They have 6 months to work on their investigation and get training, mentoring and support. At the end of the program, Tempo publishes the stories.

In 2017, the discussion shifted to how CSOs could be better involved in the first stages of the program. Since then, CSOs have not only been included in the selection process, but have also offered input for the call for proposals; for instance, by suggesting investigative themes based on their knowledge and expertise.

The fellowship began to collaborate with larger CSOs such as Indonesia Corruption Watch; Greenpeace; Migrant Care; and Auriga Nusantara. Representatives from these organisations have been included in the committee for all stages of the fellowship selection process: from selecting themes to the final selection of stories for publication. Crucially, the representatives are involved in the evaluation of sources, helping the journalists to corroborate their information.

After the selection process, CSOs help the fellows collect more evidence. Meanwhile, another CSO, PressLegalAid helps with the assessment of whether the evidence collected would hold in court. This is important since many court cases are brought forward from these investigative stories. While the journalists are working, they constantly receive support from a Tempo mentor (journalistic) and a CSO representative. The CSOs contribute by providing access to sources and victims, and also help the fellows understand certain (sometimes sensitive) documents.

Achieved outputs

Approximately 11 impactful stories have been published every year since the fellowship started.

An employee dedicated to monitoring impact is now included in the Tempo selection committee at the very start of the program.

Achieved outcomes

  • The monitoring of impact has improved since CSOs have more resources and incentives (than the journalists) to record what a minister or other actors do after a story is published.
  • Thanks to the involvement of CSOs in the program, the fellowship is now better able to see if an investigation is feasible because the CSOs provide input on the sources.
  • Due to the success of the program, Tempo has started to work more with CSOs for other projects/ initiatives.

Achieved impact

The program demonstrated how mutually beneficial collaboration between investigative journalists and CSOs can be. It wasn’t only the journalists that gained new knowledge, but the CSOs were also able to learn from the media. For instance, the CSOs learned how to understand and interpret some of the data and oral testimonies they had from the knowledge sharing with the journalists. The program shows that CSOs can gain more knowledge and build a bigger platform for their issues by collaborating with journalists.

The media outlets where the journalists (who were fellows) work after the program also become more interested in investigative journalism.

Role of FPU

The idea of this fellowship programme was generated during a meeting between Tempo and Free Press Unlimited. This idea was then jointly elaborated upon.

Free Press Unlimited provided grants for proposals from the investigative journalists selected for the fellowship. This enabled the journalists to work for several months on their story.


Lessons learned / Challenges

When one investigative journalist was threatened, they were brought to a safe house by Tempo, but in an ad hoc way. Now, there is a clearer protocol for handling such threats.

During the initial stages of the fellowship, the journalists became interested in how they as journalists could contribute to a media that fostered accountability for power holders. It was decided that increased collaboration from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) could bring added awareness to the investigations and also allow for greater impact tracking. Impact tracking is important to the program because the individual journalists that are granted fellowships get little financial compensation for participating. The investment, instead, is in their reputation as investigative journalists which is why following up on published investigative stories is so important.

More information

Long Trace – The Impacts of Tempo Joint Investigative Coverages (2016-2020) – a full report of the fellowship and the articles that it produced.

Tempo Media English Website