Cleaning up: After Sunday School activities, three Muslim girls help each other while Muslim mothers talk in the background. Each MAP student chose a topic to report and Grosvenor chose children.
As the 21st century grows older, the medium by which the public receives its news is constantly changing. This semester, Associate Professor Lyombe Eko is leading a group of ten Master’s Professional Program (MAP) students in studying this change in his Master’s Media Project class.
Each student is required to write one in-depth news article and to also report the story in a second medium, using their backgrounds in areas such as film, radio and photography.
“One of the objects of this project is to teach students to be ‘multi-skilling’,” Eko said.
Lini Ge, a first year MAP student from China, is using her previous radio experience to create a broadcast for her second medium.
“I worked as a radio journalist for five years in China before I came to the United States last July,” Ge said. “This will be the first radio piece I produce in the States. I’m sure it will be a precious experience as I pursue my goal in broadcast journalism.”
This semester’s project is focusing on the Mideast in the Midwest: Islam in Iowa. Eko challenges the students to look beyond the clash of cultures to write appealing, fascinating and informative articles. To do this, Eko had the students read books and articles to educate themselves on Islamic culture before they searched for stories.
“It’s difficult to know what questions to ask,” Emily Grosvenor, a second semester MAP student from Lancaster, Pa., said. “You can’t go out with a story; you have to go out and try to find a story. In order to do this, good journalists educate themselves first.”
Grosvenor said one of her biggest challenges is finding people to talk, and added “Muslims aren’t just hanging out.” She said she has had to be creative in finding sources, as many Muslims tend to avoid journalists.
“Students can practice good, old-fashioned journalism. This is what journalism was supposed to be,” Eko said. “Most journalism is superficial and we want to practice depth reporting. We also want to gain an appreciation of the complexities of global journalism.”
The series of articles will be published as an insert in The Daily Iowan sometime in April. It will also be available via the web through The University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication website (www.uiowa.edu/jmc) by May 2.