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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

A Few Clouds, 77 °F

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Ernest Waititu

As the first of two Glidden visiting professors, Waititu lectured in courses, advised students about international opportunities and delivered public lectures about his experience throughout fall semester.

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Face in the Crowd

Glidden Visiting Professor bids students to develop self, country, continent through education


For Kenyan native Ernest Waititu, opportunity comes with responsibility.

As the Glidden Visiting Professor of African Studies and Journalism, Waititu spent the past semester engaging with students on this topic. His message to students of all backgrounds rang clear: Take advantage of your education, and use opportunities to develop yourself, your country and your continent.

Waititu's visit kicked off a Year for African Journalism, a joint effort between the Institute for International Journalism and the African Studies Program. The Year for African Journalism aims to capitalize on a noticeable increase of student interest in Africa through two African journalists-in-residence as well as a planned symposium on African journalism.

As the first of two Glidden visiting professors, Waititu lectured in courses, advised students about international opportunities and delivered public lectures about his experience throughout fall semester.

Waititu is currently the program director of health and digital media at Internews, an organization committed to developing the skills of journalists and other media practitioners to enable them tell better stories that develop the lives of citizens and better inform their audiences.

Proud of the work he does at Internews, Waititu said a good number of journalists have been mentored and trained and are currently affecting African lives positively with the stories they tell from their respective countries and communities. Waititu has also worked with the Daily Nation and the Standard newspapers in Kenya.

As an alumnus of Ohio University's African Studies Program and the E.W Scripps School of Journalism, Waititu said he owes a lot of his professional achievement to the solid foundation he received while obtaining master's degrees from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the African Studies Program from 2003 to 2006.
 
"The Pan African nature of the African Studies program really prepared me for what lied ahead of me as an African scholar determined to work for the good of my people. Likewise, the Scripps College of Communication helped shape my orientation as a development oriented journalist and provided me with the platform of skills and good content," Waititu said.
 
While growth in global media and means of communication have expanded reporting from and about the African continent, the kinds of events or trends being reported and the relationships between reporting and African socio-economic development remain serious concerns, according to Yusuf Kalyango, director of the Institute for International Journalism in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

"We hope the Year of African Journalism will advance a better understanding of the critical role of media and journalism to promote participatory democracy, alternation of political power, equality in global citizenship, and economic growth and stability on the continent,” said Kalyango.

During spring semester, another African media scholar, Kojo Yankah, will come to OU for the African Studies Program’s West African Research Association Residency. As president of the African University College of Communication in Accra, Ghana, Yankah has extensive journalism experience in addition to his work in parliament and as a Ghana government minister. For more information on this and other events, visit http://www.african.ohio.edu/.