Month: April 2014

Training Journalists in a Former Dictatorship, Part 2: Kouichi Shirayanagi discusses issues in training journalists, Tunisia Live’s importance and plans for the future

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All photos have been taken, with permission, from Shirayanagi’s personal collection.

What were some difficulties in training Tunisian journalists?

A lot was based on peoples’ English ability. English writing is a skill that’s not taught well in Tunisia. (Many of the TunisiaLive journalists) had English teachers who were Tunisians who had gone abroad and come back, and even the English teachers in Tunisia didn’t have an excellent command of the written English language. That was the first barrier.

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Training Journalists in a Former Dictatorship, Part 1: Kouichi Shirayanagi talks about Tunisia’s pre- and post-revolution media landscape

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All photos have been taken, with permission, from Shirayanagi’s personal collection.

In 2009, Kouichi Shirayanagi, an American who had developed an interest in Tunisia while working as a legislative fellow for the Washington D.C.-based House Committee on Foreign Affairs, began building his knowledge of Tunisia as an Arabic-language student at the Bourgiba Institute of Living Languages in Tunis. After the Tunisian revolution, which unseated former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Shirayanagi returned to the country to work alongside Tunisians as part of Tunisia-Live.net, the country’s first post revolution English-language news site. “Unsatisfied,” in his words, with his writing and reporting skills, Shirayanagi plans to begin attending the Missouri School of Journalism’s graduate program in August. On a visit to the School this month and in subsequent email correspondence, Shirayanagi spoke to me about Tunisia’s media landscape, media reform in the former dictatorship and the country’s current issues.

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Egypt, the Military Establishment and Morsi: a former officer shares his thoughts

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This article was originally published in the Deutsche Rundschau. The interview was conducted in Arabic and interpreted by Elgebaly’s son, Ahmed. Views expressed below represent the source’s opinion only.

Brigadier General Mohamed Elgebaly spent 20 years in the Egyptian military under Sadat and Mubarak. Since 2000 he has lived in Madison, Wisconsin. Last summer, I met with him to speak about former president Mohamed Morsi’s ousting and its consequences.

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In Transitioning to Civilian Life, Student Veterans Can Face Trouble

Yukendra Wynn-Armstrong, senior VA certifying official at Columbia College’s Ousley Family Veterans Service Center, traced trouble in adapting to civilian culture to experiences in the military.

“Most of the veterans are usually coming from combat situations to the classroom, so they’re having to adjust from high-pressure jobs to low expectations. They don’t understand how to navigate being on the front line to sitting behind a desk in a classroom,” Wynn-Armstrong said. “They are used to being fired upon or having bombs thrown at them, or life-and-death situations, on a day-to-day basis.”

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Columbia College Supports Veterans Adjusting to Civilian Life

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“To do a job where people are trying to kill you or blow you up, you can’t think about it. You put it all on a shelf. When veterans come back, they don’t know how to take it off the shelf,” Nicholas Ryan Redford, an Iraq War veteran and philosophy major at Columbia College, said.

During his service Redford slept little, once working a 36-hour shift, and had trouble adapting to a daily lack of routine. After returning to the U.S., Redford noticed problems in his back and knees. The mental toll of service, though, was much higher, according to him. Redford’s personality had changed.

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Mobile Assignment: Atiya Abbas, a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism, shares dreams of creating a magazine for high school girls in Pakistan

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Recently I caught up with Atiya Abbas, a Pakistani Fulbright student in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Magazine sequence, on her way to the school’s Vox magazine. In her sequence Abbas is learning how to use HTML, post photos and design stories to fit a magazine format.

“(At Vox,) we have to be creative and come up with stories of our own. I think it’s great that Vox does that,” said Abbas.

She hopes that skills learned at Vox will eventually enable her to start a career advice-focused magazine for young girls in Pakistan.

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From the Teutoburg Forest to America: Hermann, eastern Missouri’s own German town

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When people think of Hermann, they often imagine a small, picturesque town nestled between the hills and wineries of eastern Missouri. A place where brick houses stand neatly along cobblestone streets and locals greet friends and strangers with warm smiles. A place where snow blankets trees during the Christmas season and life centers on the religious festivities taking place in the town’s two churches.

At first, Hermann seems typical of small-town America: friendly, comforting and calm. A closer look, though, reveals elements of the town’s unique origins.

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