Over the past year, 24 students, including nine graduate students from Carleton’s Journalism and Communication program went to Africa for internships organized by the Centre for Media and Transitional Societies (CMTS).

Women with tapestries in Kenya
The interns worked with radio stations, newspapers, online media outlets, television production operations and media development projects.

The internship program, which is open to undergrads as well as grad students, was funded by Carleton University, the Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Government of Ontario’s Global Edge program. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA) also contributes up to $30,000 a year to the program for grad student internships – the annual amount depends on the number of grad student participants that year.

Photo Credit of Zebras in Kenya: Kristina Partsinevelos“At a time when Canadian media coverage of the rest of the world is contracting, these internships provide Carleton students with a unique opportunity to experience Africa firsthand, to gain valuable life experience and to grow as reporters,’’ said Prof. Allan Thompson, director of the CMTS and founder of the internship program.

Adds Wallace Clement, dean of FGPA: “We support experiential programs for our grad students because we know that on-site learning is one of the best ways to prepare our students for a successful transition into the work world when they graduate.”

Graduate Studies at Carleton University is a leader in experiential learning in Ontario. Twenty-seven per cent of Carleton’s grad programs offer a co-op, internship, field work, or practicum, providing graduate students with hands-on, experiential learning beyond the classroom.

Since its inception, more than 100 graduate students have participated in the African Internship program.

Marc Ellison went to the South Sudan.
As well as being an MJ student, Ellison is a Vancouver-based data- and photojournalist. Based in the capital of Juba, he taught a two-week, hands-on photojournalism course to local journalists from Radio Miraya which is operated by Fondation Hirondelle and the UN. Ellison then took a number of the reporters out into the field to practise their new photographic skills, visiting refugee camps in the remote northeastern corner of South Sudan and meeting the Ugandan army colonel in charge of the hunt for the LRA’s Joseph Kony.

His work can be found at http://www.marcellison.com/ and http://www.dwogpaco.com.

Photo courtesy of Marc Ellison

Says Ellison: “Life-altering. Perspective-changing. Stereotype-shattering. These terms only begin to describe how incredible the CMTS internship was. I got to work shoulder-to-shoulder with wonderful reporters in the world’s newest nation, and I think it was a mutually beneficial experience. Even if it isn’t your dream to be the next Geoffrey York, every journalism student should grasp this opportunity to bolster their professional and life experience..”

Since his return, Ellison has been writing and researching for outlets such as the Toronto Star and 60 Minutes.

Kristina Partsinevelos in KenyaKristina Partsinevelos went to Kenya.

“With a passion for TV journalism, I knew that going to Nairobi, Kenya and working at the Reuters documentary program Africa Journal would be the ideal preparation for my future career. Because of the Centre for Media and Transitional Societies, I was able to live in Kenya for two months, interviewing everyone from popular music artists to Olympic athletes. I went on a safari, vacationed in Tanzania, visited the Kibera slums several times and wrote and produced two five-minute documentaries, which aired in more than 10 countries. The hands-on TV training, trying delicious new bean dishes and my attempt to learn Kiswahli, all made my internship an invaluable experience that will stay with me for life.”

You can view Partsinevelos’s website by going to: http://kristinaparts.com/.

Anastasia Philopoulos went to Rwanda.

Anastasia in Rwanda“This past summer I interned at Hope Magazine in Kigali, Rwanda. Hope was a local PR magazine with a daily online business news component, which is where I worked for two months. It was a wonderful experience both professionally and personally. I learned everything from writing a story on the stock market to how to get on a moto (the local way of getting around fast) with a pencil skirt on. It was thrilling to be a part of a company that was growing and establishing itself and reflected the larger context in Rwanda, where strong economic growth and support for small and local business have helped many Rwandans rise out of poverty.”

Philopoulos’s website is available here: http://anastasiaphilopoulos.wordpress.com/.

All Blogs posted by all 24 interns during their placements can be found here.

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