On November 8, journalists representing 12 African nations visited PLNU. The delegation was invited to San Diego by the San Diego Diplomacy Council, an extension of the U.S. State Department and a nonprofit that seeks to “promote global understanding between San Diego citizens and…neighbors around the world.” While in the area, the group visited multiple institutions to learn about U.S. media practices; American social, economic and political structures; and the responsibilities of a democratic free press
While at PLNU, the group attended Dr. Dean Nelson’s Introduction to Journalism class, and afterwards, conducted a roundtable discussion about journalism education. The representatives addressed student questions, such as why they went into journalism and how journalism in Africa varies from journalism in the U.S. In addition to discussing why they enjoy their work, they also highlighted many of the challenges they face, including security risks, limited resources, lack of free speech, and illiteracy.
“I was really inspired by these journalists,” said Nelson. “When journalists talk about the risks they take to do their jobs—sometimes even at gunpoint, as one woman from Kenya described—I feel even more privileged to be a part of that great tradition as I practice journalism in the U.S. and teach journalism to our students.”
Listening to the struggles of these journalists helped junior journalism major Tavis Robertson gain a new appreciation for the profession and respect for those who work in the field.
“It was humbling, really,” said Robertson. “I often get so caught up in resume building and setting myself up for work at a good news organization while a lot of these guys literally risk their lives to do what they do. For them, this isn’t about a job or money. It is about making the lives of the people around them better, even if only a little bit. To me, that’s just powerful.”
This group of journalists is one out of several who have visited the PLNU journalism program over the past few years. Other groups have included journalists from Ukraine, Moldova, Kiev, and Kosovo.