UNL student selected for Middle East journalism boot camp

12 Americans, 12 Arabs, 3 weeks of Middle East politics, religion, culture and journalism

Senior news-editorial student Chris Rosacker has been selected to participate in the second annual Middle East Journalism Boot Camp in Egypt and Qatar. The American University in Cairo and Qatar University sponsor the three-week program in June. This is the second year a University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism student will participate in the program. Graduate student Lisa Munger participated in the first Middle East Journalism Boot Camp in 2008.

Rosacker, of Grand Island, Neb., will be one of 12 American journalism students to be paired with 12 Arab journalism students. The joint US-Arab reporting teams will produce stories for print articles, broadcast pieces or photojournalism packages. The reporting will be drawn from the site visits and briefings.

"The College is pleased to have its students participate in this important international reporting program," said Will Norton Jr., dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. "Now, more than ever, it is vital that our students are prepared to communicate with persons in other cultures to promote understanding and prevent media stereotypes."

Munger, who has graduated and now works at The Grand Island Independent, said, "The complexity of this region is often lost in America's media coverage of it. I hoped to include more nuance and context in my journalistic efforts and learn as much as I can." She was paired with an Egyptian journalist and wrote about Palestinians who travel to Egypt for medical care because they’re without official citizenship anywhere.

The first 10 days of the boot camp will be based at the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training & Research in Cairo, a city that is the historic heart of Arab politics. Students and faculty travel to Qatar, a rising new power in the Gulf, for 10 days of seminars. A pair of Middle East journalist-scholars - one American, the other Arab – will lead the seminars.

"This is arguably the most important region, politically speaking, in the world right now, and predictably for years to come," Munger said. "I emerge from this experience tremendously grateful for having had an up-close look at how differently Americans and Arabs perceive one another, often fueled by mischaracterizations in the media."

The project, jointly funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Qatar University and USAID, provide tuition and the costs for travel and accommodation.

U.S. journalism schools participating in 2008 were all members of the Carnegie-Knight consortium on the future of journalism education. They included Columbia University, Syracuse University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Texas-Austin, Arizona State, University of California-Berkeley, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and the University of Missouri.

Munger's "boot camp" blog can be viewed at http://adhamcenter.blogspot.com