Posts Tagged ‘WVU’

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Photos are up!

June 7, 2010

There are some photos up on my flickr account from our trip out to a village in Africa.

Check them out here.

The village is small, and all the people there are suffering from extreme poverty. They used to farm the land they lived on, but the corporations that bought the land in the area sold all of the topsoil to construction companies, leaving them with no workable land to grow their food on. The children there have very little education, since missionaries that were previously in the area had to change 10 cedi (1.4 US dollars = 1 Cedi) to go to school for a month, and no one could afford to have their children attend. The other alternative is to have the children walk all the way into Accra, which can take over two hours and is extremely dangerous.

The father of Kwami, our guide in Accra, is starting up a new mission to help this village and others in the area, and has been working at helping to educate the children and bring more modern facilities to the village to improve life there. I have never met a nicer, kinder group of people, nor more well behaved and loving children than I did in that village. It broke all of our hearts when one boy, as we were leaving, clang tightly to one of the girls in our group’s hand and pleaded with her to take him to America with her and buy him a bicycle. Its good to see, though, that these people are getting help from the missionaries and finding ways to get by and live better lives.

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TuneinTurnoff: Africa

May 30, 2010

After a long hiatus, due mostly to substantial burn out from spring semester and a sleepless finals week that resulted in some fine final papers, I have decided to return to my blog site and start posting again.

These new posts may not meet the standards of the original mission statement I used when setting up this page for the blogging class I took last semester. I’ll probably still be posting about art, technology, culture, etc, but for the time being will be incorporating a bit of personal experience journal-type writing into the posts. Why? Because I’m going to Africa for the next three weeks, and while I will be blogging on a class site for the trip, I want my own account of the trip that I can look back on when it’s over without having to filter out posts I wrote as part of the class assignments. At the same time, though, there’s a lot to be learned about African culture, art, society, technology, etc. while on this trip, and I’ll be reporting on that here as well as on the class site (which you can find a link to on my facebook page).

So, to kick things off, since I’m taking off for this trip tomorrow: a quick run-down of what I’ll be doing and where I’ll be going!

The group is leaving tomorrow at 6pm from Pittsburgh, flying to Paris, catching a connection to Amsterdam, then the final leg of the flight to Accra, Ghana, landing at about 6pm on Tuesday. I’m not all that thrilled about being on a plane for 16-18 hours, but I guess a cruise to our destination was a bit out of the question, so I’ll cope I suppose. Once in Accra, we’ll be spending a few days touring the city, bumming around at the beach, and doing some shopping while getting acclimated to the time shift before we kick off the class-aspect of the trip, and start touring newspapers and TV stations to get a better understanding of how the Media operates in this region. We will also be taking side trips to tour a nearby rainforest, a couple of old castles, and near the end of our trip, will be driving to Benin to tour another newspaper, and to check out the market in Lome, Togo and do a bit more shopping.

I’ll be posting pictures from the trip, taken on my old, trusty Nikon D-40, on to my flickr account as often as I can. We should have open internet access at our hotel, but not really sure how that will work out when we get there. If not, it will be intermittent trips to internet cafes, but I’ll still try to sneak a few in every chance I have. The group will also be tweeting this event, which you can follow on the hash-tag #SOJWA, short for School of Journalism West Africa.

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Where the Jobs are.

March 23, 2010

Tonight was the “Where the Jobs are” lecture as part of J-Week at WVU. The guest lecturer, John Harris, the editor in chief of politico.com, was tasked with informing a group of students and staff, simply, where the jobs are in the changing world that is the media. As the creator of his own blog, he should be well versed in the ways an aspiring journalist might approach seeking out the beginnings of a career in the media. However, there was little insight to be found, really.

Granted, Harris did an excellent job of explaining how he got started with his blog, but though he preached the importance of optimism throughout his lecture, he left little hope for we younger folks. Sure, it may have been simple for an experienced reporter and editor from the Washington Post to find a place in the blogosphere and develop his own niche, but what about the rest of us? If the roof is going to cave in on the traditional structures of the news business, where can we, as young journalists just starting out, get the experience we need to develop a reputation among our colleagues and our audiences? Like Harris said, news outlets are falling short on their end when it comes to building a new generation of journalists. There is no more room for growth in the traditional media, and certainly no room for the specialization necessary to take on blogging. So where are we to get the specialization and experience we need to set our careers in motion? And even if we can, where are the jobs? This question never got answered.

It’s obvious that the ideas Harris touts as so important to success do have their necessity in gaining experience and standing in the media, and especially in the online media. Impact, efficiency, optimism, and specialization are all clearly necessary, but what Harris doesn’t tell us is how to develop these aspects of our professional selves. He says we need to specialize, but how does a journalist do that without an audience? without an editor? without a platform to support them? Sure, we can all start blogs, but for the most part, we’re shouting into the darkness. We, as individuals, don’t have the funds or time (since we have to work, afterall) to promote our blogs, and take them mainstream as politico has. We can’t just go out and hire the best journalists to work for us – and we don’t have a way of becoming the next best journalist, since there are no traditional jobs left out there for us newcomers. So there goes impact and efficiency, and probably with it optimism and specialization. All in one fell swoop.

So where does that leave us? Where are the jobs? Where are the new places that are willing to give newcomer journalists a chance? To help them develop their specialization? their impact? their efficiency? their optimism? I sure would like to know, ’cause it doesn’t sound like politico is willing to give us a chance – given that their editor says he only hires really good, experienced journalists?