LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Dr. Sharon Stringer, associate professor of Communication at Lock Haven University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to teach radio journalism and conduct research at the University of Ghana at Legon.Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
The award offers Stringer an opportunity to partner with a local media analyst organization to conduct research evaluating the credibility of radio news among local listeners, with a goal of finding ways to improve the operation of, and appreciation for, free and unbiased reporting. This research is part of a larger project that is already underway in the country.
Stringer’s participation comes at the request of the department chair at the University of Ghana. Its Journalism School is involved with the Ghana Journalists Association and the Media Foundation for West Africa in a project to improve the standards of selected newspapers and FM stations. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) was established in 1997 to “promote, defend, protect, consolidate, and expand the fundamental freedoms of media and expression of citizens, communication professionals and organizations, and human rights defenders in West Africa.”
Stringer pointed out that “Many West African journalists live in fear of retaliation for criticizing the government.” The MFWA website currently reports numerous incidents of death threats and detainment of journalists. www.mediafound.org
Stringer will be in Ghana during the next academic year. “I’m really looking forward to my return to Ghana,” she said. “I was there in 1998 giving a presentation and didn’t have much time to interact with the locals. This time I anticipate immersing myself in the culture.”
The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Its goal is to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Participants are chosen “for their academic merit and leadership potential” and provided “with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.” More information is available at http://www.iie.org/Fulbright/