Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to say "NO" to political pressure on journalism?

By Aleksandra Temenugova

Something big is happening in Macedonia at the moment. And it is about journalism. And freedom of expression and political pressure. And it's been top news for last three days.
Ok, let me tell you the story. Eight journalists from one of the leading national TV station Channel 5 (I used to work there as a journalist and anchor for 6 years) out of blue were fired due to financial constrains that this TV station has been facing lately. When the journalists asked why they are fired at the same time when the TV station hires new journalists, they didn't got the right answer. It was more than clear for them that this is a punishment because didn't obey as the management wanted: follow the politics of the government.
But, among these journalists is a journalists, very tough and stubborn enough to say "No" to all of this. So, Vesna Kovacevska Trpcevska wrote two public letters: one to the Macedonian Prime-Minister and one to my previous employer, owner of the TV station. She spoke openly about the political pressure encountered while working there, sharing even some juicy details where the Chief of the Cabinet of the Prime-minister instructs the journalists on speaker-phone how they are supposed to cover a certain topic.
It aroused a huge impact to the Macedonian media society. And, of course to the asleep journalists. She's got an enormous support from her colleagues. Vesna speaks, as we say in Macedonia, without hair in her mouth and already there are some visible results: all electronic media (apart the above mentioned TV station) aired a minute silence and half black printed page at the print media as a protest to the political pressure, a lot of debates are going on on Facebook, there is a initiation for reforms of the Association of journalists in Macedonia in order to enhance the freedom of expression and to clearly divide journalism from politics. The case has got an international dimension: at his initiative, the fired journalists spoke to the American Ambassador, the European Ambassador, OSCE etc. We'll see the outcomes of this discussions in their annual reports. For sure, they won't be bright.

I wasn't sure should I bring this case out here. I've been thinking of it since the very begging. Not only because it is about my best friend and empathy with her as a single mother of nine years old son who out of blue lost her job, but because I admire her bravery to talk about the unpleasant experiences from point of view of almost all journalists in Macedonia. You gave us a lesson. Thank you, Vesna!


Abhijit Bora
Today's SUSI 2010 team's visit proved to be quite an encouraging one. Because - it reaffirms the strong desire of human beings to be resolute against the attractions of a luxurious life in this new century. Also, I consider this as a confidence-building status that helps us stand firmly against the lusts and lures of life.
I just wish more and mor eof us human beings could have the strength to live a life like this community - not in exact similarity but trying to maintain its philosophy of life - simple thinking and a philanthropic living with all the care for Nature which gives us everything in life and caring for our families which is everything for us.
How many of our youths today can exactly overcome the lure of big money, charismatic jobs, a city life and joing the Rat Race.
Also, another things that has struck me very much has been the Community-Camaraderie of the people which is reflected in the fact that whenever there is need of some big works in one family's house, all the other members of the community help that specific family. I found this quite interesting because in the viallges of my country, at least in the state where I grew up, such community support was quite a normal affair in the olden days (about 20 years agao) and everyone would help others even without an invitation. The ocacsion may be anaything like marriage, funeral ceremony and feasts, usual religious ceremony etc. However, it is highly saddening that this tradition has been fast dying down in my state because of many factors.
I have been hearing about this community's way of life since my chidlhood and I consider myself lucky enough to have been ableto get a glimpse of its lifestyle, loads of thanks to Stephanie Madam and David Sir without whose cooperation this would not have been possible. This was one high point of the tour for me.
Besides, the food in the reastaurant was also very tasty. I am somewaht phinicky about foods of other countries with which I am not very accustomed to. But, today's was one of the several occasions which I found highly satisfactory and tasty.
However, I could not understand how do members of this community travel long distances when they need to travel, maybe across the states or countries. Or is it avoided.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do you have a dream?

Nicole Cameron

Between the Jimmy Carter Museum and Library and the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site it is evident that the state of Georgia is the reservoir of much history.

This makes me think of history in general and our relationship to it. I think all would agree that what we all are, in both the collective and individual sense, is the product of our histories. After all, where we have been shapes our identities and determines largely where and what we are today.

As someone once said, "if you don't know where you are coming from, then you don't know where you are going." If there is even only a hint of truth in this statement, then it is critical that we all invest some time in tracing the histories that we are all a part of- this begins from the micro sphere of our family tree and expands to that to our nations, regions and the world at large.

It is also important that we think about the role that we play in shaping history. In other words, what impact does my life have on others and the world? Martin Luther King Jr.'s actions aided in changing the entire history of the United States and beyond its borders. Jimmy Carter's unwillingness to abide by the status quo impacted positively the lives of so many in America and the world as well. These two stalwarts of history should make us pause and look at the legacy that we are leaving behind. Why? Because whether we are aware of it or not each of our lives leaves a trail behind. We are involved in writing history as long as we are alive and I think it is an awesome privilege and responsibility to have the power to impact lives.

I see people everyday who live selfishly. They are caught up only with hoarding the material and temporal things in this life and give no thought to the man, woman, boy, girl or animal that lives next door, in the next village, in the next nation or in the world. What kind of legacy is that leaving behind? What will be the history that will be told when they are gone. How will his obituary read?

Martin Luther King Jr. was not a fictional superhero. Likewise, Jimmy Carter has blood running in his veins like the rest of us. What these two men were able to do, the legacies that they were able to bequeath to us did materialize because they possessed something that the rest of us lack. No, they were able to rise above the rest of us because they were willing to risk all for the sake of a better tomorrow. They were willing to fight for others who in many cases were not able to fight for themselves. They were willing to have a dream and work to make it happen. Note: They did not know where the path would take them, but they were willing to take the first step. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. But, one has to dream first.

Therefore, I hope that all of us will cease to be myopic. Instead, I hope that we will all cast our visions backward and contemplate history. Then, I hope we will cast our vision around us and see the needs of our times and then chart a course for the future where we might see only a distant horizon, but we will press forward in faith knowing that our cause - whatever it may be - will benefit humanity.

I hope that when all our obituaries are written and our histories told, someone, somewhere will build a monument to us. I do not refer to a monument of stone or steel; but if it is only a thought of gratitude that we were willing to extend a hand when needed; that we were willing to do all that it takes for the cause of justice, truth, equality and the betterment of humanity, then our lives would not have been in vain.

So, do you have a dream? I dare you to!

Friday, August 13, 2010


It is 7.30 of a nice bright morning at New Delhi and I am sitting at the departure Lounge of the Indira Gandhi International Airport for my last leg of the journey to Sweet Home Sweet. It is a two hour journey but I am an indirect flight so it will take three-and-a-half hours in all.
Well, I had to spent about 8 / 9 hours at the airport after I landed up here at 12.30 last night from Frankfurt (Lufthansa). So during this period of solitude, the feeling that disturbed me the most was the sudden break from the enthusiastic and Gung Ho activeness everyone - right from the hosts to the Internationalists - of the SUSI 2010 team, whether it is Athens, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Atlanta or even Washington DC.
I am missing these days very much.
You see we meet to part and part to meet somehwere sometime again, though there might be hardly any chance of meeting a few of you which saddens me the most.
For me, all the academic, cultural as well as the practical exposure to each and everything that we did have been one GEM of an experience of a lifetime. I shall be cherishing them throughout my life.
Well, I am a pessimist to a big extent. But if I can be proved wrong in meeeting you people once again, I would be the happiest person in this world.
Let us make a pledge right here that even if not possible to meet personally, we shall keep ourselves as one the only SUSI 2010 Team of Internationalists at least by CYBERICALLY / TELEPATHICALLY.
By the way, my wife sends her regards and best wishes to you all for the creation of a family-like atmosphere during the entire period of the programme.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Nicole Cameron

I must admit that as of late the word international has me confused. The United Nations recognizes the existence of approximately 192 countries with the existence of around 5 more give and take. So we can safely say that there are approximately 195 countries in the world. Yet, I have noticed that the word international is used in a curious way when referring to maybe one or two countries.

Let me explain. If a reporter has traveled to one country and covered a story or stories there then they will brag and say that they now have international experience. If in a local news coverage, a story deals with one news item from another country, that story, in some cases that I have seen, suffices as the international coverage for the morning/evening. As of late, I even notice that when faculty members travel to another country, then they drop lines that they are 'internationalists' or have 'international' experience. Granted, if a report is from abroad since it is not local or national. it does qualify as in the category of the i-word. I understand that. But, I am still confused.

Why? It is a simple matter of percentage.

One's own country + another = 2.

If we should calculate the percentage out of total countries that would give us:

2/195*100 which gives us a grand total of 1%.

The fact that I have a scathing knowledge of 1% of the world, does that qualify me to use the word international? Please, help me!

Again, I will admit that the literal definition of the word lends itself to be applied to such narrow usage. The Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary gives relevant definitions of international as follows:

1. between or among nations; involving two or more nations: international trade.
2. of or pertaining to two or more nations or their citizens: a matter of international concern.
3. pertaining to the relations between nations: international law.
4. having members or activities in several nations: an international organization.
5. transcending national boundaries or viewpoints: an international benefit; an international reputation.

Now notice, that it does say involving two or more nations. I concede there. It then comes down to a battle between the literal and the connotative.

I am on the side of the connotative. I will throw a tantrum and insist that when I hear the i-word, I do expect the reference to be wider than 1% of the world. Am I unfair if I ask for at least 4-5%?

Why is this important to me? Simply because the world is such a colourful and diverse place that I think that such a loaded word such as international should be used with caution. There are many that have been insular in thinking and because they have touched their toes in a handful of countries for a couple days at a time think they have mastered the world and its peoples and this affects politics and even media coverage.

So, I ask you to think about it: What does (should?) international mean?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rock 'n Roll Quiz

Pirongrong Ramasoota

This rock’n roll quiz was written three weeks ago after our SUSI team went to the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. But due to a whiplash accident and other engagements, I was delayed in uploading it. Anyhow, here it is and I challenge all the SUSI participants and program staff to test your knowledge on rock’n roll. Be aware that this was written by a rock’n roll dummy.

Score rating 5-7 – highly knowledgeable
3-4 – moderately knowledgeable
2-1 – slightly knowledgeable
0 -- dummy

1) Which of the following artists would qualify least as Rock & Roll?
a. Simon & Garfunkel
b. Madonna
c. Aretha Franklin
d. Michael Jackson

2) Which of the following is not the British invasion of Rock & Roll?
a. The Beatles
b. The Byrds
c. The Animals
d. Rolling Stones

3) At what age did Jim Morrison die?
a. 25
b. 26
c. 27
d. 28

4) Which is not Elvis Presley’s song?
a. Can’t help falling in love
b. Heartbreak Hotel
c. In the Ghetto
d. Nighttime in Paris

5) Of the following pairs, which has no relationship with each other?
a. Rolling Stones – A Bigger bang
b. Rod Stewart – the Motown song
c. Guns N' Roses' – Chinese Democracy
d. The Byrd – With a little help from my friends

6) If Nirvana is classified as Alternative Rock & Roll, what would Jimmi
Hendrix be?
a. Punk New Waves
b. Psychedelic
c. Rockability
d. Souls

7) How many of the Beatles members are still alive in 2010?
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. None

Answers: 1. d. 2. b. 3.c. 4. d. 5. d. 6. b. 7. b.

Quiz on U.S. Presidents

Pirongrong Ramasoota

Score rating 5-7 – highly knowledgeable
3-4 – moderately knowledgeable
2-1 – slightly knowledgeable
0 -- dummy

1) Which President introduced the New Deal?
a. Harry Truman
b. Herbert Hoover
c. Richard Nixon
d. Franklin D. Roosevelt

2) Which of the following Presidents had two terms in office?
a. Jimmy Carter
b. George Bush
c. Dwight D. Eisenhower
d. Lyndon B. Johnson

3) Under which of these Presidents did the US not engage in war?
a. Franklin D. Roosevelt
b. Jimmy Carter
c. George W. Bush
d. Harry Truman

4) Which of the following statements is true?
a. Lyndon B. Johnson was the only President who did not run for his second term
b. Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the Korean War and engaged the US in the Cuban
Missile Crisis
c. Ronald Reagan revived US foreign relations with China and the Soviet Union
d. Crime rate fell to the lowest point in 30 years during George Bush’s era

5) Walter Mondale was a running mate of which President?
a. Ronald Reagan
b. Harry Truman
c. Jimmy Carter
d. John F. Kennedy

6) What is not true about JFK?
a. He was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
b. He founded the Peace Corps.
c. He was a US Senator from Maine.
d. He founded the Peace Corps.

7) Under which President did the US witness the most prosperity with lowest
inflation and unemployment in 30 years?
a. Dwight D. Eisenhower
b. Richard Nixon
c. Ronald Reagan
d. Bill Clinton

Answers: 1. d 2. c 3. b. 4. a. 5. c 6. c. 7. d

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I wonder...

Nicole Cameron

What do you do when thrown together
with differences
with cultures
with people
with biases
that are are different, unyielding
(or is that just me perceiving?)
an unwillingness to see, to let up, to understand, to ignore,
the other side, the differences
and maybe just say that
the other side
that you sideline;
the different colours that you see
might just be as a result of the glasses that you wear
and not really the personalities out there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

See you again Athens

By Julien Mahoro Niyingabira


It is a windy and rainy morning in Athens, Ohio and through the window from my appartment room at the University Courtyard I can watch the greyness of this strange sky. It has not looked like this before, since I am here. This is a different day. This is a day I have to spend on highway and ride away from this town I loved.

I want to go to "Detangles hair and nails care" to say goodbye to that lady who cut so professionally my hair and tell her that I won't come back shortly. When I stepped in few days ago, she was the first I saw and she smiled to me. I felt I was in the right place. We chatted (sometimes looking each other in the face through the mirror) as she cut my hair. She is a pride of Athens in customer care.

I wish I could go to "Chipottle", that Mexican rstaurant to thank those cool guys in dark green T-shirts who most of the times have made me smile by packing for me a beautiful chicken burritto. "some beans?... some vegetables?..." Their burrittos have made me fall in love with Athens.

I wish I could just jump to that newly constructed circle, to say goodbye to those road constructers who have always told me "Hi, how are you doing?" and added "Have a great day". I have understood more what "the home of the brave" means through these small gests. Just as small as people who stop their car to let pedestrian cross the road while they had priority to continue driving.
I want to stand on the top of any longest thing in Athens and scream "THANK YOU" to everyone.
Now I'm going, miles and miles away from you but I'm convinced I will see you again Athens. Your lovely being has been a very nice experience for me and I will remember you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


As the days were passing by many of us, at least myself were starting to feel homesick and were looking forward to arriving home. But, after all the activities, both academic and cultural here, with detours to Cleveland, Pittsburg, today suddenly I am feeling nostalgic to this place - mainly to Ohio University, Athens city and University Courtyards which has becxome the second home to all of us. We became used to the daily grind of arriving at Scripps Hall or RTV building everyday by 8.15 and return back in the evening tired with all the days' works under strict taskmasters (it is a complement).
But, the things I would be missing include Baker Centre caffe, the Chinese, Mexican and the Indian resturants on the main street which became our destinations everyday at noon for lunch, the tree-lined nice campus of OU and of course Walmart and Kroeger's.
Probably, as I myself grew up in a small town tucked away in the north-easternmost corner of the great country India, maybe I feel more at ease with such places like Athens. And my present university is also a small and cosy campus somewhat like OU.
Now, with a sad heart I bid Athens and OU a broad 'adeiu'.
We meet to part and part to meet somewhere sometime in life.
So long, freinds.
#SUSI 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bobcats to the World!!

Nicole Cameron

Today, Monday August 2, 2010 marks the end of the academic portion of the Study of the United States Summer Institute on Media and Journalism hosted by the School of Journalism at the Scripps College of Communication on the beautiful Ohio University Campus.

As I reflect on the last four weeks, I must register kudos to the program faculty and staff members. A big thank you for:

  • hosting us with such grace and generosity
  • accommodating personal and cultural idiosyncrasies
  • giving us the opportunity to dig into the culture of Southeast Ohio and beyond its borders
  • working assiduously and efficiently to ensure our comfort
  • providing avenues for us to satisfy our needs and many wants
  • proving the opportunity of networking with a cadre of top-notch professionals and academics
  • everything else that you did that I fail to remember

While our time in Ohio has come to an end, we look forward to the Atlanta and Washington D.C. leg of the journey knowing that we are in safe hands. Once again, thank you Ohio.

Go Bobcats!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Spiritual Resonances

By Nicole Cameron

It is truly amazing where it is that we we can find resonances in life. Take me for example: I am Jamaican, but the truth is that due to my philosophical and religious beliefs and practices many times I feel as if I am on the fringes of the Jamaican culture - I eat differently, I read differently, I enjoy 'weird' things and in general my lifestyle is not typically Jamaican - even though I am 100% Jamaican and would have it no other way. I love the fruits, the language, the heritage, the history, the vibrancy, the life, the colour and the spirit of the little island I call home.

Yet, when the SUSIJ group visited Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio yesterday, I felt quite at home. As I listened to our tour guide explain the roots of the Amish, Hutterite and Menonnite people, it resonated with me in a very powerful way.

You see, outside of the particular individuals that were named from which the groups above descended, the exposition we were given was basically that of Christianity in general and as a Christian that is also my roots. While scholars agree that one's sense of identity is a combination of multiple segments of one's self, history and experiences, the strongest shade of my identity is my spirituality. My religious and spiritual beliefs shape practically everything I do - from what I eat for breakfast, to who I marry and even the career I pursue. Therefore, I can totally understand why the Amish's religious beliefs shape their way of life.

Religious liberty is one of the foundation principles upon which the American constitution was built and so after the discovery of the New World, many religious sects from Europe fled to America in the pursuit of the freedom to worship according to the dictates of one's own conscience. The Amish were among this group that fled in order to escape religious persecution from the Roman church. As a Protestant myself, religious freedom is also one of the cornerstone doctrines that I subscribe to. Therefore, like the Amish I agree wholeheartedly with the principle of the separation of church and state. In fact the Behalt (mural depicting church and Amish history) in many respects depict quite astoundingly, the development and progression of Christianity its early years to its expansion into Europe and then to the New World. As our guide explained, I felt as if I were snuggled up in my chair at home reading one of the many volumes that my church publishes on Church history.

As a listened to the basic beliefs of the Amish, I realise that we share so much. I felt as if I was visited spiritual brothers and sisters. You see, while it appears that the Amish are ultra conservative, the fact is my religious faith is equally ultra- conservative. To a large extent if someone has time to sit with me for a while, I would probably argue that I am more conservative than the Amish. For sure, I do not shun the advances of science, education and technology. On the contrary, the church in which my membership resides has one of the largest pool of educational institutions in the world, from Kindergarden all the way up to institutions of higher learning. In addition, we do not live as secluded as the Amish do, but our conservativeness is reflected in nuances such as our diet, adherence of certain biblical principles, interpretation of bible prophecy and of course, our take on eschatology.

While there are some striking differences in practices of faith between the Amish and I, the spiritual resonance that I felt during my time in Amish country went deep. It reminded me that there are many peoples and cultures that I may never meet, but there are some threads that bind us together. It reminded me that we may be strangers but spirituality has a way of transcending all spaces, all times and all barriers.