Tuesday, July 21, 2009


By IIJ News Reporter

One of our graduate students who received the John Wilhelm Foreign Correspondence Scholarship through the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) has secured a major international reporting enterprise in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ellen Schnier, MA’ 2009 will intern for three months at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC News – Television). SABC is the largest broadcast news corporation in Africa. She leaves for South Africa in September 2009.

"The scholarship funds given to Ellen are sufficient to cover her return air fare to South Africa, costs for ground transportation to go to work while in Johannesburg, and lodging for the three months," said Professor Yusuf Kalyango, Director of the Institute. Ellen joins an exclusive fraternity of more than 200 journalism majors who have received international journalism scholarships through the IIJ to intern in more than 30 countries around the world. Other recipients of this year’s international scholarships include Michael Barajas who will travel to Jerusalem in Israel to intern with the Associated Press and Stine Eckert who will intern with the Aljazeera network in Washington, D.C.

While in South Africa, Ellen hopes to learn about the international news environment in one of the largest news markets in the world. It will be a combination of an advanced, well-developed news organization in an industrialized city in the midst of Sub-Saharan Africa. The internship will give her an opportunity to experience South African life and culture. She hopes to investigate issues of poverty, race relations 15 years after the end of the apartheid, and health challenges the nation faces. “Hopefully, I will be able to travel to other African nations either with SABC or Channel Africa which is owned by SABC, to explore the culture and important issues in neighboring countries.

Ellen worked as a reporter and anchor on the Athens MidDay news, where she gathered news, wrote, and edited news packages for the television newscast. During an internship at WLWT, the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, Ohio, she had the opportunity to conduct interviews, including one with the governor of Ohio. She competed on a nationally televised reality music competition, Clash of the Choirs, and her winning choir won $250,000 for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. After the group was named Ambassadors of the Year in Cincinnati, she became a correspondent for WLWT Cincinnati’s local choir competition and produced profiles on several choirs for the evening news.

As for her graduate studies at Ohio University, Ellen has focused on African media and culture. Her thesis examined the U.S. network television coverage of events in Africa from 1977 to 2008. She also investigated and filed a special report for the IIJ’s Globetrotter Newsletter about Uganda’s successful campaign to reduce the infection rate of HIV/AIDS. A second special report investigated the Uganda Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate the use of the death penalty in Uganda.

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