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Carleton University expands journalism partnership in Rwanda

(Ottawa, March 30, 2006) — Carleton University is launching the second phase of its journalism partnership with the National University of Rwanda — dubbed the Rwanda Initiative — and will be sending at least six more journalism teachers and up to a dozen media interns and exchange students to the central African country this spring and summer.

In the first phase of a successful journalism teaching partnership, launched in January between Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication and its counterpart at the National University of Rwanda in Butare, project leader Prof. Allan Thompson and three other veteran journalists traveled to Rwanda to take up positions as visiting lecturers. All published regular blogs on the project website — www.RwandaInitiative.ca — describing their experiences.

The second phase of the project, launched this week with financial backing from Carleton International, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canada Fund for Africa, will send more teachers to Rwanda. Visiting teachers will include journalist and media trainer Michelle Betz, CBC journalists Lucy van Oldenbarneveld and Andy Clarke, Maclean’s magazine chief photographer Peter Bregg, Carleton journalism professor Kanina Holmes and Robert Lacroix from Carleton’s Instructional Media Services.

For full teacher bios, visit the Rwanda Initiative website.

The central aim of the teaching partnership is to address the shortage of journalism educators in Rwanda, to build the university’s capacity to teach journalism and to improve media standards in the country. The partnership has already provided the journalism school in Butare with consistent access to visiting teachers from Canada and has also established media-training workshops for working journalists.

And in this second phase, the project will be expanded to include a media internship program that will see some of Carleton’s journalism students take up work terms at The New Times, an English-language newspaper published in Kigali. In addition, two exchange students will enroll in classes at the National University of Rwanda over the summer, adding another dimension to the burgeoning journalism partnership.

The Rwanda Initiative will continue to make effective use of its website to inform Canadians about the important task of working to foster greater media professionalism and freedom of expression in Rwanda. And with backing from CIDA, this phase of the project will place particular emphasis on public engagement with Canadians.
All of those who travel to Rwanda as project participants — visiting teachers, media interns and exchange students — will be required to report back regularly through their blogs. And in addition, teachers will be expected to work with their journalism students in Rwanda to produce articles and reports that could reach a Canadian audience.

In more detail, the new teachers are:

Michelle Betz, who arrives in Rwanda this week, graduated from Carleton’s Master of Journalism program in 1994. Betz, who has worked with CBC and CTV and taught broadcasting for six years at the University of Central Florida, has been to Rwanda twice before as a media trainer and Knight Fellow. Through the Rwanda Initiative, her focus will be working with the campus radio station in Butare, Radio Salus, which she last year helped to establish. Betz is being co-sponsored on this trip by UNESCO.

Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, the Friday host and field reporter for CBC-Radio’s Ottawa Morning, has worked in the Netherlands, China, and as a host, producer and reporter with Deutsche Welle World Service Radio. In 2003 she delivered a radio skills course for the Afrinet radio network and traveled to Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. In Butare she will be teaching a third year broadcasting course. Her Rwanda Initiative blog will also be posted to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website, www.cbc.ca.

Andy Clarke, Senior Coordinating Producer for Radio and Television News with CBC-Ottawa, got his start in journalism nearly 25 years ago at CKCU, the campus radio station at Carleton University. A graduate of Carleton’s Master of Journalism program, he has worked for the last 10 years at CBC Ottawa. Along the way, he taught at the Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. In Butare he will be teaching a second year radio broadcasting course and his Rwanda blogs will also be posted to cbc.ca.

Peter Bregg, chief photographer for Maclean’s for the past 16 years, began his photojournalism career with Canadian Press in Ottawa in 1967 and has since worked with CP, Associated Press and Maclean’s in Boston, Washington, London, New York, Ottawa and Toronto. He also served as official photographer to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1984-85. Bregg, who first visited Rwanda in 2004 to photograph Romeo Dallaire’s return to the country, will be teaching photojournalism in Butare.

Kanina Holmes, a journalism professor at Carleton and freelance journalist, worked with CBC, Global Television and Reuters news agency before joining Carleton in 2003. She is a graduate (1992) of Carleton’s Bachelor of Journalism program and has an M.A. in international affairs (1995). She spent one year in Tanzania studying at the University of Dar es Salaam and went to Burundi for Global to produce a series on war-affected children. In Butare she will teach television broadcasting and plans to work with students on video documentary production.

Robert Lacroix, 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 broadcast production. Lacroix started his broadcast journalism career 30 years ago at the Mid-Canada Television Network, CFCL, in Timmins, Ontario and also worked at the CTV affiliate in Ottawa. In Butare, Lacroix will work closely with Holmes to build the capacity of the school’s broadcast journalism program.

The Rwanda Initiative grew out of Carleton’s March 13, 2004 symposium on the Media and the Rwanda Genocide, organized by Prof. Thompson, a former Toronto Star reporter who visited the country a number of times as a journalist since the 1994 genocide. Prof. Thompson went to Rwanda in January to teach a reporting course and launch the teaching exchange. He was joined by retired Carleton journalism professor Roger Bird, Montreal Gazette reporter and Carleton alumna Sue Montgomery and CBC producer and Carleton graduate Sylvia Thomson. Blog postings from each of the teachers are still posted on the project website.

The next batch of teachers preparing to take up their posts in Rwanda will gather at Carleton University this weekend, April 1-2, for a pre-departure orientation session.


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