Photo: Shayna Meliker, a senior newspaper journalism major at SU, reads about the turbulent history of the Old Fort Prison in Johannesburg, which housed political prisoners during Apartheid. In recent years, the Constitutional Court was constructed alongside the prison as a constant, physical reminder to justices and lawmakers of the human rights violations that once occurred on that same land.
Syracuse University is propelled by the concept of Scholarship in Action, which urges students to use their skills and talents to engage with the world. This past December, SU Abroad students had just that opportunity when they traveled to South Africa for a short-term program over the winter break.
Nine student journalists from SU's S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications journeyed to South Africa to document the lives of people in Grahamstown, on the Eastern Cape. The goal of the trip was to experience global reporting and give citizens on opposite sides of the globe to meet each other and explore their similarities and differences.
This trip was a continuation of a project developed in an Urban Affairs Reporting class taught by professor Steve Davis this past fall semester, which focused on the South Side community in Syracuse, N.Y. For the class, students produced for a free monthly print edition and website. They also created video profiles of a dozen South Side residents with the help of Professor Seth Gitner, who accompanied the group as well. The students took the reporting skills they learned over the semester to Grahamstown, and created a collection of impressive stories, such as:
• A piece on local boys' "trip to the bush," where circumcision marks their passage into manhood,
• A story on a sheep farmer whose pack of 50 dogs hunts down the jackals that would otherwise decimate his herd, and
• A profile on a local businesswoman who makes and sells beaded jewelry to put her daughter through Rhodes University, an institution that was out of her reach just two decades ago, during the Apartheid era.
To learn more about the project, visit http://worldjournalism.syr.edu/.