by Lindsay Boyle
The Year for African Journalism, a joint effort between the Institute for International Journalism and the African Studies Program, has kicked off at Ohio University with the arrival of Glidden Visiting ProfessorErnest Waititu.
On Oct. 10, Students for Global Media and Diversity and the African Studies Program co-hosted a welcome reception for Waititu in Scripps Hall. Speakers included Bob Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Steve Howard, director of the African Studies Program at OU, and Waititu himself.
Waititu is an OU alumnus who participated in the graduate programs of both the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the African Studies Program from 2003 to 2006, obtaining master’s degrees in both. Additionally, he is a past recipient of the Institute for International Journalism’s John R. Wilhelm Foreign Correspondence Internship.
Currently, Waititu is the program director of health and digital media at Internews, an NGO in Nairobi that is supported by the U.S. government, provides training for journalists throughout Africa and has a goal of promoting freedom of expression.
Throughout Fall Semester, Waititu will teach the Foreign Correspondence course and will assist with International Media Systems course lectures. He will also deliver a public lecture about his work at Internews.
Ernest Waititu poses with people affiliated with the IIJ and the African Studies Program after the welcome reception.
Additionally, Waititu will advise students about international opportunities, help create and launch the Scripps College of Communication’s New African Media for Social Change conference, and help plan an IIJ study abroad program.
The Glidden Visiting Professor is hosted by the African Studies Program and by the IIJ. Those organizations will combine to pay for event hospitality and incidentals for Waititu.
Ultimately, the Year for African Journalism aims to capitalize on a noticeable increase of student interest in Africa by teaching students more about African journalism. During Spring Semester, another African media scholar — Kojo Yankah — will come to OU for the African Studies Program’s West African Research Association Residency. Additional events and conferences will be held throughout the year.