Though I have more than three decades of experience working in the US media at the national and local levels – primarily broadcast journalism – I have never before experienced such a passion, a fervor, for understanding the political landscape and presenting fairly and with journalistic distinction the day’s news, than what I am experiencing thus far during our media exchange in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
They key, to me, is the same as it is anywhere in humankind: education. In one day alone, we have been hosted by BRAC University, visited the budding film and TV studies program at Dhaka University and taken part in a panel on Media Leadership at the University of Liberal Arts in Bangladesh. The energy, enthusiasm and technological expertise is noticeable. Dhaka University’s new program will feature Apple computers and Final Cut Pro, just like many outlets in the U.S.
It is the enthusiasm and positive energy that fuels the efforts that stands out most. At the aforementioned panel, where I humbly sat alongside my fellow Oklahoma travelers Dr. Elanie Steyn and Bob Dickey of OU as well as former Daily Oklahoman editor Ed Kelley, a renowned newspaper icon, I felt the energies coming from the room filled with eager – and awake – students and young professionals. I make the “awake” comment because as an adjunct instructor in the U-S, keeping our students enthused with the concepts of fairness and objectivity, leadership development and departmental communication is at times a mammoth task.
Not only were the bright, intelligent faces in the room eager to ask us about our experiences, our thoughts on the day’s stories, our perspective on keys to developing dynamic, working newsrooms, but we actually had to cut off the questions from the audience because dinner was getting cold. So the session went from the podium to the dinner table, where these bright, young minds soaked in every word from all of our contingent – which of course also included fellow media members Lacey Lett, Brent Wheelbarger, Vance Harrison and Gan Matthews.
I left feeling refreshed, humble and driven in my own right to better understand not only this emerging culture but the ways we might help usher journalism and a free press into the psyche of a nation that is so driven to succeed, so conscious of its politics and its problems, that it can’t help but one day be heard loud and clear on a global front as a watchdog of this emerging democracy.
MORE: to come at postcardsfromtheweb.com