Of the eight academic fields of study currently offered by the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, media is the third most popular field for the 2016-17 program year. This year, half of the participants enrolled in media studies are women, and for four CCI women studying media at Scottsdale Community College, they see the skills they are gaining through their exchange year not only as a vocational necessity, but also as a way to spread the stories of people, issues, and organizations in their host communities.
Television for Youth Engagement
South African CCI participant Tharina Malan is taking full advantage of her CCI experience by gaining hands-on experience in her field of study through two different internships. Tharina specializes in video production, and in one of her internships with Voices for CASA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting foster youth, Tharina helps with the pre and post-production process of the organization’s videos.
Tharina’s passion for television production intersects with her interest in childhood development. After teaching children for a couple of years, Tharina was awestruck at the significant role television plays in shaping the world view of children. “What really got my attention was seeing the social impact [television shows] had. Children would play extremely aggressively, mimicking the shows they were watching.”
Tharina hopes that when she returns home, she can create content for children that has a positive impact on their development. In that regard, working with CASA has been a great experience. “I feel that I get to make a difference in [children’s] lives by creating awareness [about children’s issues] and telling their stories.”
Neo Makgetla, another South African CCI participant, also has an interest in television production and its power to impact viewers—especially young adults. Like Tharina, Neo’s goal is to produce content for young adults and write short films to tell South African stories. It is no coincidence that Neo’s internship with Maricopa Television (MCTV) is helping hone her skills in production and script-writing.
MCTV is the primary television media outlet for the Maricopa County Community College District, and as an intern Neo is responsible for finding events happening in all 11 Maricopa colleges, assisting in script writing, recording the show, and sometimes doing on-air work. The content MCTV creates is created largely by and for its young adult audience, and aims to engage young people in MCCCD news and higher education opportunities. As a MCCCD student and MCTV voice, Neo is helping to spread information about her campus and inspire her classmates to get involved in the opportunities available to them.
Increasing Cultural Awareness through Citizen Journalism
Media studies students receive a well-rounded education that covers a variety of topics like media marketing, scripting, and film production, but they are also given the chance to focus their studies. While Tharina and Neo have focused on television production, CCI participants Olivia Aboui and Tayyaba Siddiqui have zeroed in on journalism.
Olivia says her ultimate goal is to become a cultural journalist in her home country Cote d’Ivoire, and she recognizes the impact of adding her voice and perspective to the field. She says, “I think it’s important for women to be involved in media … I think women have different ways of telling a story because we have different ways of approaching an issue.”
Olivia does not shy away from covering difficult topics, many of which often relate to women’s issues. Recently, Olivia collaborated with her CCI classmate, Tayyaba, to write a story about human trafficking which was published in Northeast Valley News. Olivia traveled to Nogales, Arizona, an area that borders Mexico, to report on the issue and also interviewed two Humphrey Fellows for the piece.
Like Olivia, Tayyaba also aspires to be a journalist in her home country of Pakistan. Tayyaba’s passion for writing began at an early age, which led her to pursue journalism as a field of study. Tayyaba, who says that her words sound better coming from her hands than her mouth, is especially invested in print media because it “is still the preferred medium in my region” and she wants her stories to be accessible to her community. Tayyaba has contributed a series of articles to Northeast Valley News, and has highlighted significant issues including breast cancer awareness, a local HIV/AIDS walk, and a LGBT Film Festival. Even though women in journalism is a rarity her home country, Tayyaba is committed to contribute her voice and stories to the growing media landscape in Pakistan.
As Tharina, Neo, Olivia, and Tayyaba continue to spread the stories of people, issues, and organizations in their host communities, we look forward to the impact their voices and talents will make in their home countries.