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Carleton University and Panasonic Canada help upgrade NUR broadcast journalism program

(OTTAWA, May 8, 2006) — Carleton University and Panasonic Canada Inc. are helping to upgrade the broadcast journalism program at the National University of Rwanda in Butare through the donation of television equipment and laptop computers.

The donations are being made through the Rwanda Initiative, the partnership between the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University and its counterpart at the National University of Rwanda. (Full details of the project at www.RwandaInitiative.ca) The goal of the Rwanda Initiative is to contribute to good governance in Rwanda through intensive capacity-building in the media sector and by supporting a range of activities to foster the National University of Rwanda’s ability to better deliver journalism education and media training.

"These donations are going to mean the world to the Rwandan students whose studies have been hampered by a lack of equipment. Now we can start seeing their vision of their community come to life," said Kanina Holmes, an assistant professor in Carleton’s journalism program. Holmes arrives in Rwanda tomorrow, along with Robert Lacroix, a media producer with Carleton’s Instructional Media Services department. They will teach broadcast journalism courses and help to integrate the donated equipment into the teaching program in Butare.

"These equipment donations will allow us to teach students hands-on television production techniques, a vital step in seeing Rwandan news and documentaries reach wider audiences," Holmes said.

Carleton’s contribution to the broadcast journalism program at the National University of Rwanda is the latest stage in a journalism teaching partnership formed in January 2006 with backing from the International Development Research Centre and the Human Security Program at Foreign Affairs Canada. Initially, Carleton project leader Prof. Allan Thompson and three other veteran journalists traveled to Butare as visiting lecturers. The second phase of the project, launched in April 2006, with financial backing from Carleton International, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canada Fund for Africa, deployed six more Canadian teachers to Rwanda and established an internship program for Carleton journalism students at The New Times newspaper in Kigali.

Panasonic Canada donated two new AG-DVC7 Mini-DV PROLINE Camcorders to the Rwanda Initiative project. Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication and the Instructional Media Services department are donating three Panasonic AJ-D200 television cameras from Carleton’s journalism program, as well as tripods, microphones and other related equipment and supplies. Carleton International is providing two laptops with editing software.

“The Rwanda Initiative and the donation of this vital television equipment are further evidence of Carleton’s efforts to reach out to the world,’’ said David Atkinson, Carleton University’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through our exciting work in Rwanda, Carleton’s international reputation for journalism education is being translated into action,’’ Atkinson said.

The central aim of the teaching partnership is to address the shortage of journalism educators in Rwanda and to build the university’s capacity to teach journalism. The media sector in Rwanda was devastated by the 1994 genocide. A great number of professional journalists were either killed in the genocide or implicated in the slaughter through their involvement with hate media.

Some of the journalistic output from students at the National University of Rwanda has been highlighted on the RwandaInitiative.ca website. In addition, Rwandan journalism students working alongside instructors from Canada have recently produced work that has been disseminated by such major Canadian news organizations as CBC-Radio, Radio-Canada International and the Ottawa Citizen.

The Rwanda Initiative grew out of Carleton University’s March 13, 2004 symposium on the Media and the Rwanda Genocide. This symposium explored both the international media coverage of the genocide and the role played by domestic media in Rwanda. The symposium inspired a collection of papers, the Media and the Rwanda Genocide, which will be published this year by Pluto Press and Fountain Press.

Carleton University and the National University of Rwanda are now planning an ambitious new project to conduct a comprehensive program and curriculum review at the School of Journalism and Communication in Butare and to embark on a major capacity-building exercise. We also hope to make a major investment in the infrastructure at the National University of Rwanda, to improve the teaching and learning environment for journalism students. Carleton and the National University of Rwanda will continue to expand their collaboration through student and faculty exchanges and joint research projects.

Kanina Holmes joined the faculty at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication in 2003 and currently teaches television and print reporting. During her graduate studies she spent one year in Tanzania, studying at the University of Dar es Salaam and conducting environmental field work with rural women’s groups. In 1996, Kanina spent a year with London-based Gemini News Service through an International Development Research Centre internship and spent four months writing feature stories from Tanzania. Kanina has been a producer and reporter with CBC-TV, CBC radio and was a national correspondent with Global Television in Winnipeg. With Global, she travelled to Burundi to produce a series on war-affected children. Kanina has also worked as a senior reporter with Reuters, the world’s largest wire service.

Robert Lacroix has been a media producer for 25 years with Carleton University’s Instructional Media Services department. A major part of his job is training third and fourth-year students in camera operation, video editing and producing newscasts and current affairs programs. Robert also edits documentaries produced by graduate students, a number of whom have had their work aired on major Canadian networks. Lacroix started his broadcast journalism career three decades ago at the Mid-Canada Television Network, CFCL, in Timmins and later worked at CJOH before joining Carleton.


For more information contact:
Prof. Allan Thompson ([email protected])
School of Journalism and Communication
613-520-2600 ext. 7439 (Mobile: 613-799-1791)





    © 2006 Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication DESIGN: SMDESIGN