by Lindsay Boyle
Two Nigerian scholars have spent almost three weeks in the United States learning about journalism as part of the International Journalism Educator-in-Residence Program.
The scholars, Godfrey Danaan and Taye Obateru, are both professors at the University of Jos in Nigeria. They arrived at Ohio University on July 28, and will depart for Nigeria from Washington, D.C. on August 17.
Though the program was primarily hosted at OU by the Institute for International Journalism, the residence program also included trips to Chicago, Ill. and Washington D.C.
In Chicago, Obateru and Danaan attended the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2012 Conference that occurred mid-August. There, they went to a variety of teaching and research panels, presentations and sessions.
Additionally, they spent five days in Washington, D.C. visiting several media outlets and cultural locations, including National Public Radio, The National Geographic, Voice of America, Smithsonian museums, national monuments and more.
The primary purposes of the residency program are to bolster the participants’ professional development, to teach them journalism techniques and to give them new tools and methods to apply to their careers.
Obateru described the program as “quite diverse” because he has had many different opportunities. Some of those included interacting with international journalism scholars who are participating in the Study of the U.S. Institute on Journalism and Media, listening to lectures from professors from various universities, and learning some digital editing techniques.
“I’ve found it very enriching,” Obateru said of the residence program. “It has broadened my horizon in terms of exposure to things and seeing new things, new situations, new circumstances.”
Professors Taye Obateru and Godfrey Danaan share a laugh during an International Mass Media class led by 2012 SUSI scholars Trang Nguyen and Alexandre Twizeyumukiza.
Danaan, who is visiting the United States for the first time, said he has enjoyed not only learning about the 2012 SUSI scholars’ diverse international perspectives, but also being able to share his own perspectives with others.
“I’ve interacted with so many scholars who have come from all parts of the world to share what they teach and to share what they experience and practice,” he said. “To me, it is the most enriching experience I’ve had because it crosses beyond borders.”
Obateru, too, said that conversations with the 2012 SUSI scholars have been one of his favorite parts of the residence.
Both scholars expressed a desire to practice and teach what they learned at OU upon their return to Nigeria. Danaan said that he believes his students will truly benefit from his international exposure when he shares it with them.
“I know I’ve learned a lot and I’m going back with so much,” he said. “My program should be broadened in the perspectives that have been shared here.”
Obateru said that he is interested in looking into possibilities of partnerships between OU and the University of Jos.
Additionally, they each expressed a desire to one day attend the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Ph.D. program.
“I’ve fallen in love with the school, with the facilities,” Obateru said.
Both Obateru and Danaan heard about the program from one of their colleagues, Nancy Katu-Ogundimu, who is currently a doctoral graduate student in the School of Media Arts and Studies of the Scripps College of Communication at OU.
Danaan said he was “enticed” when she explained the prospects of programs at OU. According to Danaan, she spoke with Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, Director of the Institute for International Journalism, who agreed to get Obateru and Danaan involved in the International Journalism Educator-in-Residence Program.
Because the program is a cost-share program, it was funded partly by the Institute for International Journalism at Ohio University, and partly by the University of Jos.