Creating High School Journalists
Feburuary 6, 2010
Journey to my career
After my birth, I got into struggles among many people, friends, neighbors, classmates, and schoolmates for several years. There were a lot of difficulties I experienced because of financial support in Monrovia during the 1990s, while I was with my mother. A lack of food caused me to leave my home and go out to find food in order to sustain my life and because of my lack of needs, I was intimidated and joined the National Patriotic Front (NPFL). I later found myself in the Northeastern part of Liberia, Voinjama, Lofa County, wondering if I could re-build my self-image. The idea that came to mind was through listening to my own big and bright ideas, making my thinking a habit, then that habit became a life style and the life style, I believe, is leading me to have a crown deserving honorable self worth.
Before moving to Ricks Institute, Liberia (the land of transformation, learning, and great culture), I worked at my former school, Voinjama Free Pentecostal Mission School, Lofa County, as student Editor and Chief-Reporter for the department of Mass Communication.
Here, I was able through hard work, to go out and find resources by interviewing the local people and Journalists and sharing their experiences and difficulties. This enabled me to compare and contrast ideas that keep directing me as I go through high school. With the experience I had with other Journalists, I was able to compile notes on high school Journalism called Information on Journalism from 2008 to 2009. This process took me many days, moving from place to place under sunshine, rain, even moonlight, meeting friends who have different abilities and ideas than me, believing that I can learn from them through conversations. One such friend is Alexander Sonnie, a great friend of mine, now a graduate of Voinjama Free Pentecostal Mission School, who once served as Press Director while I was serving as Chief-Reporter.
Now at Ricks Institute, one of the best schools in Liberia, I’m glad and very excited to become part of the larger family of this noble institution. When I came to Ricks I had to gain enough strength and courage in the midst of people from different backgrounds. However, I worked hard, meeting and talking with friends who were members of the Press Club, about how we could best cooperate in shaping our skills and abilities.
Today, I’m proud to be among them as a student Journalist. We’ve just held our first workshop, which was fantastic. My career has just begun.
Media Workshop for Students
February 6, 2010
The Dragon News Network (DNN) is a campus-based news organization run solely by students. In other words, it is a students’ Press Club. The Dragon News Network gathers news around the campus and the environs of Ricks Institute, and blends this with national news. The news is proofread and edited by students, and it is then submitted by the coordinator, who is an instructor, before it is sent out for printing. The news is read to the Ricks community every Friday during Assembly.
The need for a workshop
For the academic year 2009/2010, the administration of Ricks introduced a new academic program in the school where students are required to take THREE quizzes and FOUR assignments for each subject. If we consider only the four major subject areas (Math,Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies/History) it means that students will be taking (12) twelve quizzes and (16) sixteen assignment for every period (six weeks). Gathering news on time was always a problem. This was a big challenge for the students in the press club. In addition, new students came to form part of the Press Club. For the first time students began using a recorder to conduct interviews, and also to do live interviews with teachers, students, and guests during news presentations. All of these presented challenges to the students and young Journalists like me, Lassana Kanneh; thus the need for a workshop to highlight those areas that needed improvement, and to learn new ideas about Journalism.
The workshop was conducted on Saturday, February 6, 2010, and lasted for three hours – from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The materials for the workshop were provided by Ricks Institute administration, while the pamphlet used was written by me Lassana Kanneh, student Journalist of the 10th grade class. The presenters were all students from grades 9 to 12. We were able to highlight those areas we have weaknesses in, and other areas we have strengths in. Our coordinator Mr. Edmond Ponga, also passed on responsibility to the 10th and 11th graders because the 12th graders were preparing for their national exam to leave the school for University.
We have resolved to have regular workshops here at Ricks Institute, especially as our seniors are no longer with us. We as student journalists also hope that more materials will be made available for our work so that we will improve our skills and abilities as young Journalists from both the school and other international partners. We are anticipating that one day you will come and visit us here at Ricks Institute to see what we are doing.
I extend my gratitude to our photographer Mohammed Kamara for the great effort he applied. Both of us contributed the amount of $500.00 Liberian Dollars to have refreshment for participants of the workshop. And many thanks to all my beloved brothers who contributed their own prayers towards the beginning and end of this process (THE BIG SIX, Future Guardians of Peace).
With best love, care and regard,
Report by Lassana Kanneh
Future Guardian of Peace