Saturday, July 30, 2011

Random Thoughts from My CNN Experience!

By Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu

The visit to CNN was one of the major high points of the cultural and media tours for me during this summer program. Apart from the classy nature of Atlanta, Georgia, CNN is truly a bride to behold.

Coming out of that study tour and the interactions that followed, I feel obligated to share these thoughts with you:
  1. CNN does not own any satellites. The company rents space on satellites because it is cheaper to do so! Considering this, it has done well meeting the news needs of its numerous audiences.
  2. At CNN currently, it is no longer about being FIRST but being ACCURATE. I was really impressed about this vital shift in operational focus!
  3. The accusation leveled against CNN that it is the mouthpiece of the American Government or that it is sympathetic to the American cause is just perspective. I honestly think it depends on who is analyzing the issues.
  4. The coverage of Africa on CNN has improved drastically. There are currently high definition programs like Inside Africa and African Voices that specifically focus on other areas of Africa other than news, which most of the time may be negative.
  5. On a lighter note, no one in CNN knows the number of TV monitors/screens at the Atlanta Head Office! I could not count but from visual impressions, we could start from 10,000! That is an idea about the hugeness and operational size of the Atlanta Head Office.
Again, I sincerely want to thank the State Department in Washington and the Administrators of this year's SUSI program under the Directorship of Professor Yusuf Kalyango for including such an important place in our media itinerary. I am completely impressed. We have visited community media firms, national media firms and now CNN, which is a recognized and reputable global brand. What more can we ask from SUSI? In fact, I am now tempted to regard myself as not just a Professor of International Communication but a Professor of American Media Systems!!!

Thank you SUSI 2011,
Dr. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu
SUSI Scholar for 2011
Representing Covenant University and Nigeria.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Common Word

By Abdulrahman Al-Shami

It doesn't matter if it's a private TV station or a public one or a private citizen. The common word that we heard during our cultural and media tours was “community.” They all work hard and dedicate their time for the benefit of their community. It is a great deed to dedicate some of your time to your community. This is a lesson we learned from those tours.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We Did it!!

By Abdulrahman Al-Shami

We were almost 100% sure that we will fall asleep in today’s afternoon session on social media due to travel exhaustion from our trip to Atlanta. But things went completely differently. We were involved in a hot discussion and the session lasted for more than two hours. I still can’t believe that we did it despite of our fatigue.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Understanding the conflict

By Syed Irfan Ashraf

Perhaps, understanding the conflict is more important than plunging headlong to report on it from the first shot. This is the way a reporter can help save himself/herself by not becoming a victim to wars and also making it possible to provide uncontaminated news to readers.

Last week, such observations were part of the discussion at the E.W Scripps School of Journalism, where 17 scholars from different countries of the world gathered as part of the SUSI program. Though, the scholars realized that it is increasingly difficult to understand conflicts in an era of proxy wars. Because in such a situation shadows are fighting, which makes it hard for reporters to understand the issues.

What to do then? Should a reporter leave the job and go home or should he work harder to understand what is going on? The first option is not possible as no media outlet can afford to shift focus from reporting wars and conflicts in their respective regions. The latter case, though, is not only possible but also preferable. However, it will add some more responsibilities on the shoulders of the already overburdened war reporters.

Keeping in view the changing patterns of global conflicts in terms of technological development and usage of new warfare strategies and tactics, it is increasingly important for a journalist to work extra hours. "We need 'thinking journalists' to stay aware in a conflict zone," one of the SUSI scholars said. "They must understand what is happening around and how he should report about it in the safest possible way," he added.

In fact, to get it done properly, it is important for a reporter to understand the history of the conflict and to stay in touch with the local people and conflict players. In addition, personal observations and analytical skills are the most sought after requirements of conflict sensitive reporting. It all will help a reporter to put information in proper context.

Usually, journalists are the victims of their own dull routines. Since they, in most cases, are used to work in normal environments for long periods of time, they expect the same when they find themselves in abnormal situation or when they are sent to a war zone to cover it. In some areas like the north west of Pakistan, such insensitive coverage of the sensitive issues are increasingly leading to the death of journalists.

Under abnormal circumstances, a better journalist is the one who is more professional. Who is not only aware of the skills of reporting but also understands the changing nature of conflict dynamics. And most important of all, who knows how to present information in its proper context. This is the job of a "thinking journalist." Such measures will help a reporter to access himself/herself every time by not becoming party to the conflict and also to avoid losing to it personally.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Global Spotlight-Special Edition for SUSI 2011

by Ashley Furrow
SUSI 2011 Program Assistant

In this issue of Global Spotlight, we have gathered a series of stories that provide an insight into the 2011 SUSI summer program at the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media is an annual summer institute of international journalism scholars and media experts from universities and academic institutions from around the world. The SUSI summer institute is funded by an annual renewable grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Study of the U.S. Branch in the Office of Academic Exchange Programs. It is administered by the Institute for International Journalism.

The first two pages — a map of the world with each scholar’s nation in various colors — give a glimpse into each scholar’s thoughts on the first two weeks of the program.

The program combines academic sessions with cultural experiences to enrich each scholar’s knowledge of the different media systems in the U.S. while also expanding each scholar’s knowledge of our nation’s history and culture.

We hope that with each story, you will experience a different aspect of the program.

Thank you for taking the time to read and appreciate the effort of each SUSI director, scholar and program assistant who participated in this special edition.

Click here to read this edition

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

IIJ-SUSI Scholar Cooperative Visit in Istanbul, Turkey

By Xueying Luo

SUSI 2011 scholar, Prof. Dr. Erol Nezih Orhon, organized a campus tour of Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey for the delegation led by the director of the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) and professor of journalism, Dr. Yusuf Kalyango. The IIJ’s mission to Anadolu University was to survey possible cooperative opportunities between the College of Communication & Journalism and the IIJ in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.The visiting team from the IIJ included Dr. Petya Eckler from the University of Iowa. Professor Eckler is a member of the advisory board of IIJ.

Dr. Orhon’s student also organized a city tour of Istanbul as well as the city of Eskisehir for Dr. Kalyango. The domestic travel from Istanbul to Anadolu University, Eskisehir was personally funded by Nezih Orhon and his university.

During the visit, Kalyango tweeted, “I’m getting the royal treatment in Turkey… What an amazing lively, historical, diverse city. Lovely people!” Kalyango said, “It’s a great research trip, it’s a promising IIJ-SUSI alliance tour, the delegation of E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will visit Anadolu University again.”

Nezih Orhon is one of the 17 international journalism and media scholars from universities around the world who are participating in SUSI summer institute. SUSI is funded by an annual renewable grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Study of the U.S. Branch in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Kalyango was in Istanbul to attend the 2011 annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). During the second week of the SUSI 2011 program, Kalyango traveled to Istanbul give a research talk at the conference.

Anadolu University- a world class university

IIJ Director, Kalyango was warmly received by the president/rector of Anadolu University, Prof. Dr. Davut Aydin and his vice president/vice rector, Prof. Dr. Ender Suvaci. The IIJ plans to lead a delegation of the Scripps College of Communication administrators for an official visit to Anadolu University in 2012.

Anadolu University was established in 1958, it annually educates 1.7 million students from around the world. It is one of the preeminent innovative universities in Turkey. As a state university, Anadolu University houses 12 faculties or main colleges and three of which offer distance education. The university has the most successful distance education programs in the world that several national and international educational institutions replicate as a model.

Its main campus is located at the center of Eskesire, a city known as a scientific and cultural center. In Turkey, Anadolu University is the only authorized university as a center of excellence in aviation and railway systems and it facilitates the progress of transportation in Turkey.

A Glance at the City of Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus Strait and it extends both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus. It is the only city in the world that goes across two continents. Istanbul is situated in the northwest of Turkey; the whole city encompasses the natural harbor, Golden Horn.

Istanbul is a city of long history; its historic areas have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985. Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). After the Turkish War of Independence on Oct. 29, 1923, Ankara replaced Istanbul as the capital city of Republic of Turkey.

Currently, Istanbul is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. In the year 2010, Istanbul served as a joint European Capital of Culture and was chosen as the European Capital of Sports for 2012.

Yemeni Media System Presents at Ohio University

By Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shami

As part of the ongoing SUSI program at Ohio University, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shami delivered a presentation on the media system in Yemen, in which he reviewed the development of Yemeni media, including the private one, as well as the legislative framework governing the work in Yemen.

It is noteworthy that SUSI’s program is the U.S. State Department's media exchange cultural program, hosted for the second year by E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, which is one of the top-ten media schools in the U.S. Seventeen scholars from different countries in the world participated in this program. More/Arabic

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Visit to Athens Farmers Market

By Syed Irfan Ashraf

Excursion trips and study tours are the prominent parts of SUSI fellowship. However, experiencing the American culture is another fun during the SUSI program. To explore the cultures in small towns, about 15 SUSI 2011 scholars visited the Athens Farmers Market on Saturday morning. One could see vegetables and fruits including green onions, kale, basil, chard, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini etc. and the market is put up twice a week.

Frankly speaking, about 80 small vendors set up along the street is not a glorious view at all. However, the fun part of the activity is not in what the farmers were selling there, it was in how they were selling them. Perhaps any vegetables' market in my home country (Pakistan) would offer a much more glorious look, but here in Athens I observed a unique approach to business. The way farmers were talking and exchanging views with their customers seemed to me more of a family affair than a business.

To get a feeling of the market, I reluctantly went close to a farmer selling pies by the name of Grandma's Rolling Pie. Both the husband and wife sitting in the stall were extremely cordial fellows. Not only were they friendly but also they offered me a piece of pie to eat. Ummmmm it was really a treat to eat the home-made pie out from a 100-year old recipe that the gentlelady claimed to have learnt from her grandmother. Here started the family story. In fact, the story was more juicy than the pie itself. " I am not happy with my husband because he doesn't like to do enough work with me," said the lady while looking away from her husband. But her husband Tom was quick to reject the complaint saying, " If I am right, and I know that I am right, the whole of the kitchen work is my duty, which I always did." It took me half an hour to enjoy their conversation and observe the way they were handling their customers.

Moving around for another half an hour in the remaining stalls, I got to know that this is how thing works in the farmers market. Buyers and sellers enjoy so much intimacy that one cannot distinguish between them. Why? Because they all are members of a single large family called Athens.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hugo and Me

By Adam Liebendorfer

In Venezuela, the popular chant for solidarity with Hugo Chavez goes as follows:

"Ooooh... Aaaah... Chavez no se va."

"Ooooh... Aaaah... Chavez isn't leaving."

After hours of telephone interviews, countless Venezuelan state television reports and transcribing speeches, I was beginning to the same feeling.

For the past two weeks or so, my life has been Hugo Chavez. Though not as adventurous as going into flood country, reporting from my desk in Bogota was just as entertaining. In some ways, I know him better than my best friend. When Hugo is on painkillers, he riffs about his idyllic childhood, Nietzche, being Superman, and how Fidel Castro brought him homemade peanut butter when he was recovering in the hospital.

"He promised me lamb," Hugo blathered.

Hugo was admitted to a hospital in Cuba about a month ago and had been under the radar for most June, while his country was dealing with prison riots, blackouts and runaway inflation. Back home, where Hugo needs permission to travel abroad for more than five days, legislators were contemplating the constitutionality of Hugo governing from Cuba for a month, at times under anesthesia. At the end of the month, he announced to his people that he had undergone two surgeries, the first to remove a malignant tumor, which threatens to tarnish the indefatigable, saint-like image Hugo has established among his discipular supporters. The whole situation showed weaknesses in Hugo's socialist Bolivarian Revolution, with his brother alluding to a military coup to stay in power and many questioning whether or not it's a good idea to have all the aspirations of a revolution rest on one person.

Hugo came back in typical Hugo fashion — fanfare and metaphor-laden speeches. His arrival coincided with Venezuela's Independence Day, but it was apparent he wasn't quite up to where he was. Rumors are abound that he has colorectal cancer and will need chemotherapy, and he addressed the military Independence Day parade from his presidential palace — an odd thing for a man who has been known to give several-hour speeches in the hot sun.

The stories we did for The Post explored the underlying dynamics behind Hugo's illness. When things were still uncertain, we did a story on how Hugo's insulated himself, and later we looked at what would happen for Cuba, which receives 100,000 barrels of subsidized oil from Venezuela, should their closest ally fall from power.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Working on My Golfing Handicap at SUSI 2011

By Isaac Mutunga (Kenya)

My view of golf has been like Mark Twain's; a good walk spoilt by occasional golf shots. Other than that, in Kenya we view it as an elite game. Golf club membership fees and other incidentals like bending elbows at the 10th or 19th holes can bankrupt one.

This was the word on the street and I never tried to prove its authenticity. My reasoning was simple. Why waste good pasture or farming land with grass that no herds of cattle grazes on and tuffs of mini-forests with no wild animals to attract tourist?

My perception of the game took a 360 degrees turn on Sunday 10th July 2011 morning when I joined Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, the Director of IIJ, and two SUSI scholars, Dr. Vajaya Laksmini, from India and Dr. Olga Gresko from Ukrain for a game of Golf. For the three SUSI scholars it was our first time in a golf course.

The nearest I have ever come to playing golf was using a slasher back home in Kenya to trim the lawn. But it looked easy. Place the golf ball on a knoll (sorry a tee) and whack it hard. Good eye to hand coordination. This is what I thought. The other two had their own perceptions about the game.

Perceptions without practical experiences can be deceiving. Most of the information we have about other cultures and people is through 'words' on the street without any proof or personal experiences. Like my perception about golf.

I learnt that golf is not a good walk spoilt the hard way. It's not only use of imagination, shot making skills, unlearning previous practices and beliefs but also interpersonal communication skills. Getting personal and professional information without intruding.

To start the game one has to tee. Simply put placing the golf ball on raised platform (tee) and hitting it as near as possible to a hole on the ground marked by a flag. May be the flag is supposed to elicit discovery of new experiences. I am yet to ask Dr. Kalyango why a flag and may be not post with faces of the player.

I bit my lower lip and wielded my wedge (the one that looks like an angry cobra) like a Maasai 'rungu.' Another of my colleague gripped it like a hockey stick. All from our previous experiencves.

Dr. Kalyango took time to show us how to grip not wield the golf club.I struggled between adapting the standard way and retaining my maasai rungu swing.Change is good but old ways seems more comfortable.

I managed to unlearn the maasai rungu grip and adapted the correct way but hitting the golf ball was a different story. It looked easy when Dr. Kalyango hit the ball but my efforts turned the driving range into a garden.Instead of hitting the ball I hoed the ground. My two other colleagues were not faring any better.

This humbled me. I Learnt that before criticizing anybody I had to try to walk in their shoes. I am who I am because of my past experiences, socialization and culture. I have to accept to unlearn somethings in order to learn new and efficient ways.

Lesson number two from Dr. Kalyango. Keep your eyes on the ball and not where it is going. With eyes on the ball I hit it into a beautiful lop and I was elated. At least I managed to put the ball on the air.

To me this was a metaphor of life in general. Life is like a game of golf, Our challnges are the golf balls we want to hit. We must keep our eyes on the challenges and not look at where we will be if we overcome the challenges. One has to hit the ball before it flies where he/she wants. Keep eyes on the ball.

I am not hoping to compete in Masters any time soon but I experienced something that I have never thought of in my life.

I found the discussions in the golf course spontaneous which allowed for diversity of topics about our own countries punctuated by pauses to allow for golf shots and ruminate on the discussion threads. It made us know more about each other than it would have been possible in other circumstances.

As I left the half hoed golf course and the driving range courtesy of the different golf clubs I wielded, I found a parallel between a game of golf with international collaboration and scholarship.

It is not a competition. We all know our handicap and are working hard to improve on it. Colleagues advice us on how to improve our handicap, not because they are better than us but because that is not their handicap.

I now know my handicap not only in the golf course but also academically. I am working hard to improve on it and with the SUSI program I am sure I will improve it. I am joining Dr. Kalyango for another round of game not because I want to finish hoeing the driving range with my wedge but to learn and unlearn my past experiences, beliefs and practices that are causing my handicap

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random thoughts from My SUSI Interactive Sessions Tuesday

By Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu

Do media set agenda or do they build agenda? In other words, is news a reflection of people's sense of what has happened around them?

The so-called battle between Libertarianism and Social Responsibility is more philosophical than practical. For me, Libertarianism is what it should be and Social Responsibility is what we can have. Any freedom that is executed outside of any obligation or responsibility to society or even to an individual is not fit for human experience. Libertarianism is idealistic while Social Responsibility is pragmatic.

American freedom is based on the idea of tolerating what people hates.

  • The United States Constitution is built on the platform of mistrust. Because we don't trust ourselves and our government, let us make this written document to guide us.

  • The CNN Effect is a myth.

  • News is a cultural construct.

  • Objectivity is not practicable in journalism; and transparency should replace it as one of the elements of journalism.

  • The basic foundation of American Culture is built on discord and harmony; contradictions and consistencies; conflict and consensus.

  • Criticizing our government, having a dissenting voice just to enrich the conversation and disagreeing with the system are indicators of patriotism.

  • I came up these ideas from my little jotter in the SUSI seminar sessions on "Ethics of Journalism in U.S.,"" The Role of the News Media in a Democracy," etc. What a revealing session for me!

    SUSI is turning out to be one of the best things that is happening to me and my career in this century.

    Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu
    Director, International Office and Linkages
    Covenant University, NIGERIA.
    SUSI SCHOLAR 2011.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Communication Curriculum Updates arising from SUSI 2011

    By Dr. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu

    The communication curriculum in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University is very unique and cosmopolitan in many respects. I like the idea of the specializations and providing students workshop trainings. This is the way I think we should go in the next 20 years.

    Some scholars have, however, expressed fears that employers now prefer graduates who can cover news events, write stories, take and edit videos and pictures by their own, and even present the story wherever and whenever is applicable. So, to dance to the tune of the so-called market forces, such scholars are advocating for a redesigning of the communication curriculum to train students to become master of all. This may never be the situation.

    I do not think the employers can win this one. They will have no choice in the matter. In the face place, I believe a reasonable employer will prefer a graduate with the requisite skills and be talent in a particular field of communication than those who have a secondary knowledge of different aspects of the communication arena and are struggling to be what he is not. This is the main reason why I think "Mass Communication" should be abolished. We don't have "mass" in the sense of the word anymore. The current practice at Scripps College of Communication should be a model to be photocopied across the globe.

    Let students make a choice of their areas of interest and enable the curriculum to fit their needs. We can no longer have jack of all trades. Lugging a camera around is not equal to taking an ecstasy shot that tells a story more than words will have. In Nigeria, we have attempted experimenting with students knowing something of every aspects of this discipline. This is good but should not be the practice for a four-year program. The major areas should be emphasized and students should be made to go into such with a sense of detail. Most respectable disciplines have no generalists but specialists. A medical doctor only make sense to me when he is a specialist surgeon, gynecologist, etc.

    So, let's go ahead and produce photojournalists with an eye for photographs; a great newscaster with such elegance and elocution in her voice; an eloquent speaker, a visual communication, experts artist, a print writer etc. This is where the industry is headed to. Kudos to Scripps College of Communication for being on the track already. Others should not step outside but participate it soon. What they want is a commitment that this will work. I know it would work.

    Thank you SUSI 2011 for this exposure on curriculum issues focusing on the U.S. and other universities represented.

    Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu
    Director, International Office and Linkages
    Covenant University.

    The American Higher Education System: Questions, Questions and More Questions

    By Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu

    The American higher education system is a paradox of possibilities. It sounds simple but somehow complicated. I just came out of a session with Professor Kalyango discussing research, teaching and services in a typical U.S. higher institution. Some of the issues raised were very revealing and others completely negated my existing knowledge.

    For example, the tenure issue beats my imagination. Yes, it guarantees the professors' positions at universities but may cause problems the university can no longer handle. I can imagine the situation in my home country of having a tenured professor, one cannot easily be sacked or sacking may be expensive because of legal issues. This, coming from America, causes me some headaches. However, I love the reward system. It only pays for productivity but cannot deal with non-productivity. One lazy tenured professor may never get a pay rise but may also continue to take a salary he can no longer earn. This is a shock coming from my beloved America.

    Worse still is the Mugabe/Ghadaffi Syndrome in higher institutions here in America. How can a dean sit as long as he wishes? How can a director serve a institution as long as he desires? And in God's own country and the custodian of democratic culture in the free world! Are the universities not supposed to reflect and mimic the larger society? Are such tendencies not against the greater America project built on democracy? When a child begins to ask so many questions at the same time, then there is a problem. I'm sure that they do have a problem with this arrangement.

    I may have exaggerated the situation, but one clear factor that have endeared me to America is its democratic values and culture. Finding out today that the universities are disconnected in such a way, also give me a serious disconnect with what I think America was.

    SUSI 2011, I hope I am not getting further shocks!!!

    Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu
    Director, International Office and Linkages
    Covenant University, Nihgeria.

    Why I like America

    By Syed Irfan Ashraf (Pakistan)

    The best thing I ever liked about America is the value it has put on preserving 'truth' for its generations. Nothing could best explain this phenomenon than the enriched history of this continent. The way 13 colonies clubbed together to give birth to a model world, which we know as America today, is not only a unique example but a lesson to learn from. Hey, I haven't explained yet why I like America the most. Simply explaining the theory would make me defending half truth.

    But anyone who doubt my observation should visit the Marietta museum and see for themselves. Many authors have declared the treatment awarded to African-Americans as the shameful chapter of "American History," however, irrespective of criticism the "Shameful Chapter" is preserved so neatly and keenly that one never miss out bad things about American history. So much so that the museum gives enough space to the native Americans and their way of life, which truly explains the way they lived and the way they were treated. This may be quite a common fact for any student in world history. But for me, who belongs to a county where everything related to "history" is censored and tempered for the sole purpose of developing artificial identity, the American experience is quite enriching.

    Whenever, I put a question to my student about the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, few remember exactly what happened that year. Because, our ruling elites never liked our young generations to know that Pakistan lost its eastern part 40 years ago, which emerged on the map in the name of Bangladesh. Instead of honoring the contribution of Bangla People, who lived with us like brothers for over 30 years, we preferred to ignore them and in some cases even denounced them as conspirator. Perhaps we have to learn from Americans. For a reason that their forefathers treated some people badly at one point of time, does not made them indifferent to this fact. Rather they have celebrated it as part of their history to learn from it and to reward it, in some way, by making an Afro-American their President.

    My Views From Marietta

    By Dr. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu

    Saturday, July 9, 2011 was another memorable day for me in the SUSI 2011 program as we undertook one of the cultural tours that exposes the SUSI Scholars to the rich American history. I was amazed at the efforts made to preserve the history of this great nation from diverse perspectives. The visit to Marietta gives Ohio history meaning, liveliness and relevance. I am tempted to belief that part of what makes America great is a connection to its history. Knowing where one is coming from may actually influence where one is going.

    The second most intriguing aspect of my trip to Marietta is seeing older persons volunteer to serve their communities in different ways. Coming from a culture where "nothing goes for nothing" I was really impressed how people give back to their communities and happily too.

    Then, there is this pride the average American exudes when they talk about America! I wish I can take and share this back home. I think what makes America thick is the Americans!! They believe in who they are and what they stand for.

    Thank you SUSI for this great experiential learning opportunity.

    Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu
    Director, International Office and Linkages
    Covenant University, Nigeria
    SUSI Scholar 2011

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    IIJ Delegation at Health & Development Comm. Conference in Kenya

    By Xueying Luo

    In order to improve health communication in Africa, several institutions, including the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) at Ohio University, organized the 2011 International Health and Development Communication Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The IIJ delegation held training workshops and presentations at the conference.

    Given the inconsistency between the generation and dissemination of health information, the conference aims to provide an efficient collaboration between health practitioners, both those who have experience in health and journalism and those who have the ability to disseminate that expertise.

    As the conference stated on its website, “ the availability to the general public of information on health is critical for social development.” Delegates from different institutions addressed the status of health communication in Africa and discussed the approaches to improve the health communication for the sake of empowering people effectively. The conference ran from June 25 to 29.

    The 2011 International Health and Development Communication Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

    Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, assistant professor and director of IIJ at Ohio University, presented the paper titled “Journalism Training, Practice and the National Development Agenda” at the conference. He said African journalists should be given a lot of praise and respect because of the bad conditions within which they report.

    "I remember personally I went to cover hebora when it broke out and I knew I would have died within three hours but I did it, and I saw how people were dying, the pain that they were going through, but that's like a breaking story that you cover once in a year, but you know these journalists go and cover stories every single day that actually has some component of health," said Kalyango on the, on July 4.

    Kalyango also said that these bad conditions have impeded the growth of African journalism even though there are still journalists risking their lives by exposing themselves to deadly diseases to cover health stories. In addition to the inferior physical conditions, the lack of freedom in the private-owned media and limited funding are other bad conditions African journalists are facing, he added.

    "And I believe African journalists would do a better job if conditions were made better by organizations who fund media performance," he said on the

    As a delegate of IIJ, Kalyango suggested that more training workshops and reporting tools be available to journalists as well as to open up the relationship between journalists and health practitioners.

    Dr. Aimee Edmondson, assistant professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, held a workshop about Computer Assisted Reporting to facilitate the health reporting in Africa. This training program was rated as the best training workshop of the conference.

    As part of the conference, the IIJ delegation took a safari tour and visited the slums and villages in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Tours in Kenya

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    SUSI Scholars on the Hunt

    By Syed Irfan Ashraf

    Today was a busy day for the 17 SUSI scholars who spent all day working at Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. They were hunting for knowledge, fun, and of course, expertise to facilitate their research work, which they will continue going through in the next six weeks of the fellowship.

    I haven't told you about the fun part of visiting the journalism school. If any of you wants to visit the Scripps School of Journalism, be mindful not to miss eating at Mexican restaurants along the Court Street. Even though the food may not bring you home tastes, surely it shows you diversity. However, it is enough for today and the rest we should leave for tomorrow.

    Immediate Feedback from Nezih Orhon, Turkey

    By Nezih Orhon

    Where to start... Hmmm, Turkey is one of the leading Facebook using countries. It is one of the top 4 countries in the world. Young generations love Twitter, Facebook and Blogs. Now, I understand them very well. I was late for Tweeting and Blogging, but here I am.

    I loved the way SUSI and Scripps approached us. As our backgrounds are diverse, it's so grateful that SUSI project a team sharing their experiences and expertise with us.

    Now, I am a Tweeter and Blogger generating so many new ideas. Thank you very much.

    SUSI 2011: Academic Explosion!

    By Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu

    The SUSI 2011 program has turned out to be an academic explosion for me. I'm being exposed to research resources and pedagogical issues from a different perspective. I'm also getting the opportunities to collaborate with international scholars from more than 17 countries of the world, United States inclusive!! This is an amazing international academic exposure for me. And given that the whole exposure is fully paid by the U.S. government, it makes this experience a great opportunity for me to leave the U.S. with a new understanding of the true meaning of America.

    I have been fascinated about the U.S., and now this close look at U.S. through SUSI program has even made me more loyal and addicted to the ideas this great nation and its people stand for. I do not regret being a Nigerian scholar but I believe that I would have been a better scholar if I had the access to the resources in terms of quality and quantity available to the American Scholars. I'm really grateful to God for making me a SUSI Scholar.

    Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu, Director International Office and Linkages, Covenant University and SUSI 2011 Scholar.