Monday, June 27, 2011

Reporting on the Floods in Colombia

In a 15-year-old four-wheel drive, we pulled into a driveway outside of Fúquene, Colombia. Sheep grazed in the by the house and beyond the fence that marked the family's backyard lied acres of flooded farmland.

We knocked on the door and a man came out and introduced himself as Jorge. When we asked him for an interview about the worst floods in Colombia's history, his brow furrowed.

"Ok, but on one condition," he said.

I began to get nervous. My Spanish was coming back to me and I didn't think it was up to par to tell him that it would be no use to us to give him anonymity or explain some other hazard in the ethical minefield we journalists operate.

Jorge laughed. "I want you to try this yogurt we made this morning."

And with that I conducted my first interview down here. I had talked to people about stories in Spanish a little bit before, but mainly just for getting cutlines. I hadn't taken a Spanish class for more than a year, but it's amazing how much comes back to you after going a few days without speaking to anyone in English.

Jorge had lost more than three quarters of his milk cows and half of his sheep. He said he hadn't heard of any government assistance yet, even after months of an unusually strong rainy season that's overflowed lagoons, broken dikes and triggered mudslides elsewhere in the country, claiming almost 500 lives.

We traveled up the road farther to the city of Simijaca and saw signs lambasting the government on the side of the road. City officials in Simijaca reiterated the same idea, though they did acknowledge that the government had given some material support. Simijaca is situated in the Ubaté region, known as the Dairy Capital of Colombia, and the rains have threatened up to 60 percent of the city's economy.

That night and the next morning I drafted what would become the story. The day after, I attended a press conference at the presidential palace celebrating the government-run non-profit's fundraising efforts for flood victims. Thanks to the semester I spent interning for the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire in Washington D.C., I felt much more at home there than the Colombian savannah.

We got some more quotes over the phone and last night my story went live online. Once I can get the photo freelance agreement signed and turned in, my pictures will accompany the story, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Follow-up with the SUSI scholars

As the 2010 SUSI program winds down to a close, we wanted to catch up with some of the SUSI scholars and see what they have done in the past 11 months.

Dr. Amani Alhalwachi, University of Bahrain, Bahrain

Dr. Alhalwachi has been busy since she returned to Bahrain last summer. Besides having a child in the last year, she has redesigned the course plan for computer assisted reporting at her university, the University of Bahrain. To redesign the course plan, she used much of what she learned during her six weeks in the U.S. to set new learning outcomes, formulate a new structure for assignments, and to get input from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).
Next year, she plans to implement American media theories and techniques and different aspects of American journalism into her academic research about “audience participation with media application on iPhone mobile.”
Dr. Alhalwachi continues to keep in touch with her SUSI colleagues, and the University of Bahrain publishes updates about her participation in the SUSI program.
“The SUSI Program was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had in my life,” Dr. Alhalwachi said.

Ms. Outi Hakola, University of Helsinki, Finland

During the past year, Ms. Hakola has taught multiple courses, earned a degree, attended three conferences, published articles, and was nationally recognized for her research.

In the past academic year, she taught four courses, two of which focused on American media (journalism, film and television production). She said the SUSI program helped her to update her teaching material and reading lists.
Ms. Hakola graduated as a doctor of philosophy, with a dissertation entitled, “Rhetoric of Death and Generic Addressing of Viewers in American Living Dead Films,” which she is currently turning into a book for an international publisher. After finishing her degree, she received media attention from major newspapers, radio shows, book fairs, and national television networks.

Ms. Hakola has published articles on contemporary audiovisual vampires, vampires as heroes, trends in U.S. media, and death events and the public sphere.
“I have started at a new job at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (University of Helsinki, Finland) where I am attending to an interdisciplinary research project on Human Mortality,” Ms. Hakola said. “Currently I’m working with a project on Human Mortality where I am studying death in media and especially in popular media, such as popular films and television series.”

Since the beginning of the year, she has been the chair of the Finnish Society for Cinema Studies, joined the editorial board of Media & Communications (Media & Viestintä) journal, and has continued working at the task group of International Institute for Popular Culture, the Lähikuva journal, and as an editor-in-chief in Wider Screen journal.

Mohammad Abualrob, Birzeit University, Palestine

Mr. Abualrob said he learned many different aspects of American media during the SUSI program, particularly about the role of social media networking and the media application of Facebook and Twitter. Because he has a specialization in media theories, he said he learned the most from Dr. Yusuf Kalyango’s theory sessions last summer.
Upon leaving the United States, after the six-week SUSI program, Mr. Abualrob attended a media conference in Palestine, where he presented a paper about Palestinian satellite channels, the Palestine internal conflict between the Fateh Party and the Hamas, and how each party uses the media to attack the other.
While continuing to prepare his Ph.D, he received a promotion at Birzeit University in Palestine. He also developed a media course, using information he learned from the SUSI program, known as computer for mass communications, and he taught part-time at the Arab American University in the West Bank.
Finally, he attended two conferences. At the second conference about “misusing media in conflict regions” at Turku University in Finland, Mr. Abualrob presented a paper about social media in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “the trick of free channels, free borders.”
Mr. Abualrob said he stays in touch with the media scholars and friends he made while participating in the SUSI program last summer.

Mofizur Rhaman, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Since returning from his time in the United States, Mr. Rhaman has been using books bought in Ohio to teach courses such as Concepts of Journalism and Communication Theory. He has implemented American media ideas into the classroom, as well as his experiences visiting American media institutions during the SUSI program.
Throughout the last year, Mr. Rhaman spent seven weeks working on independent research with faculty of the Department of Journalism at Oslo University. He also traveled to Bergen, Norway in November to attend a lecture on Media, Climate Change and Politics and a seminar organized by the Media Climate Network.
Mr. Rhaman submitted a book chapter to be published by NORDICOM, and he is currently working with Climate Crossroads Projects in conjunction with Bergen University in Norway. He received media coverage when Norwegian radio, NRK, interviewed him in May. He also made several appearances on a Bangladesh television talk show to analyze reports and newspapers.
In the future, Mr. Rhaman plans to submit work to the AEJMC and ICA conferences, and he would also like to begin working on his doctorate degree.

Dr. Manuel Ayala, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico

After finishing his time in the United States last summer, Dr. Ayala made changes to the course he teaches, continued his research, and helped the International Communication Association (ICA).

Dr. Ayala said he implemented many aspects of American journalism, which he learned during the six-week SUSI program, into his Communication Research Seminar. He applied theories and concepts such as, media clusters, social media, ethics, and development communication.

With the help of Dr. Anne Cooper-Chen, Scripps professor and SUSI research coordinator, Dr. Ayala is continuing his research of the representation of crime as portrayed by American television series such as, Law & Order, CSI, and Criminal Minds. He is currently working on the theoretical framework of the research.

Since concluding the SUSI program, Dr. Ayala had the opportunity to meet the American consul in Monterrey, Mexico. He also participated in a committee for the ICA to select the Outstanding Book for 2010.

Dr. Claudia Schwarz, Innsbruck University, Austria

After finishing the SUSI program last summer, Dr. Schwarz visited the U.S. again in May to attend the MIT7 conference-- "Media in transition: unstable platforms. The promise and peril of transition" at MIT in Cambridge, Boston. She gave a talk on “Media Activism in Search of ‘Truth’? Questioning the Mission to Restore Sanity” with one of her colleagues from Innsbruck at the conference.

At the end of last year, she attended two conferences in Austria, "The Visual Culture of Modernism" held by the Austrian Association for American Studies (AAAS) with the Swiss Association of North American Studies (SANAS), and a celebration conference for the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Commission (Austrian-American Educational Commission) titled "Impacts: Does Academic Exchange Matter?" Dr. Schwarz was one of the co-organizers for the second conference. In the meantime, she organized the "Media Day 2010" conference, which is focused on media and minorities at the University of Innsbruck.

As an assistant professor in the Department of American Studies, Dr. Schwarz used the material learned from SUSI to facilitate her class on "American Cultural Studies" with a focus on media studies. She also launched a one-day project to help high school students to learn about American culture, history, and literature through different perspectives.

However, Dr. Schwarz decided to quit her job at the university and to start working for the Academia Superior – Institute for Future Studies in a different part of Austria this summer. She continues to do research about American news parodies.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Graduation Highlights

Some international faculty members and students at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio (June 11th)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Undergrads Win AEJMC Awards

By Xueying Luo

Chu Yang
Two undergraduate students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University won two awards at the international writing contest at the 2011 national Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) convention.

Junior, Chu Yang, with the story about “Rap in the Name of Buddha,” won 1st place in the 2011 student international multimedia news story contest. Alex Stuckey, senior, got the 3rd place award for her story titled “Fuel Briquettes Help Reduce Charcoal Usage.” The contest is organized by the International Communication Division (ICD) of the AEJMC.

Alex Stuckey
Both students took the Foreign Correspondence class with Dr. Yusuf Kalyango in winter quarter, 2011. Their stories from the Foreign Correspondence class were published by the United Press International (UPI) university website and in the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ)’s international news e-magazine, The Global Spotlight. The e-magazine is distributed worldwide to 18 media advocacy agencies and news organizations.

Yang will receive a certificate and an award of $100. Stuckey will receive a certificate and a $50 award. The certificates and awards will be given at the ICD’s business meeting at the AEJMC’s national convention. The convention will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Students nominated for Zambia study abroad program

By Rachel Ferchak
SUSI Webmaster

The E. W. Scripps School of Journalism and the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) have nominated 18 students for the new journalism study abroad program to Zambia during winter break.

In coordination with Ohio University’s Office of Education Abroad (OEA), students who accept the nomination will spend 24 days in Africa, immersing themselves in the culture, observing various media outlets and taking two media classes. Kenny Makungu, a 2010 SUSI scholar, will be the instructor for one of the two classes.

The program attracted 49 applications from all journalism sequences and from the school of Visual Communication and from Communication Studies.

“Although this program was promoted as a journalism study abroad, I was pleased that many students from different sequences and programs actually applied and were nominated,” said Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, director of the IIJ.

The selection process became competitive because of the number of good students who applied.

“Every one of [the applicants] was poised, mature, articulate, and clearly excited about the possibility [the IIJ] is presenting to them,” said Dr. Steve Howard, director of African Studies and Graduate Studies for the Center for International Students.

Two of the nominated students expressed their excitement for the program. One said, “I am so excited to share this opportunity with my peers and enjoy the journey of a lifetime … I look forward to turning this dream into a reality!”

Another student said, “I am really looking forward to this trip and all of the opportunities that it will provide. Winter intercession can’t come soon enough.”

During the program, students will increase their understanding of the African history of monarchical rule, cultural norms and political structures shaping attitudes towards governance. They will be acculturated into Zambia’s socioeconomic welfare and fragmentation of ethnic groups.

Students will observe the inner workings of different media outlets and will be able to partner with non-profit organizations to do volunteer work.

OU students will also learn coalition-building efforts, cross cultural communication and problem solving skills as they apprentice with local journalists, other university students and as they interact with a wide array of academic and peasant contacts. It is designed to give OU students a stand-out lifetime discovery into the wonders of Zambia in an academic and enjoyable touristy environment.

Nominated students have until June 10 to accept.