Despite years of political contention and military conflict, many experts place the Serbian province of Kosovo on the path to independence. With such placement, the burgeoning nation provides a unique opportunity for Miami University’s journalism students, said assistant journalism professor Ed Arnone.
The department has coordinated a two-month, eight credit hour Kosovo study abroad program scheduled for this summer.
The program, though open to all students, targets journalism and communication majors, hoping to give students an opportunity to intern at a news Web site, KosovaLive.com, and take classes at the same time, Arnone said, coordinator of the program.
“This is a real chance to go and see journalism practiced in very different ways under different conditions,” said Richard Campbell, director of the journalism program. “We take our press freedom for granted sometimes here.”
According to recent news articles, Kosovo, or Kosova as the majority Albanian population calls it, is an autonomously governed province of Serbia, bordering The Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. Since 1999, after UN military involvement, Kosovo has been under the governance of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Students participating in the program will stay at a hotel in the capital city of Pristina and take classes while working four days per week in the KosovaLive newsroom.
According to Campbell, unlike many high profile news internships where interns spend much of their time pouring coffee and stapling papers, students will have opportunities to write their own stories and become intimately involved in the reporting process.
“It provides more hands on experience than you can get in most other places,” Campbell said.
Ed Arnone, journalism professor and coordinator of the Kosovo program, agreed with Campbell and said that the program offers unique opportunities for students.
“The educational experience of talking to people and seeing those people in their daily lives in the country and writing stories about that really is the kind of experience that prepares them very well,” Arnone said.
Arnone emphasized that while students would not likely be working on breaking news stories, they would have the chance to examine the human aspects of the news that the regular reporters might not have time to cover.
“They don’t have the time to do the more in-depth pieces-the meat and bones of what’s on the news,” Arnone said. “It’s the kind of reporting that’s a lot more fun to do and it’s the kind of story telling that, in my estimation, is at the highest level as a journalist.”
KosovoLive was chosen, according to Arnone, because of his own relationship with the publication’s editor, Kelmend Hapciu. Hapciu has spoken at Miami in past years and has since kept in contact with Arnone and the department.
The course will include credit for two courses and the internship for a total of eight credit hours. The courses, JRN 421 Enterprise Reporting and GEO 410 Advanced Regional Geography will be held at the Pristina Media Institute, just across the street from the KosovaLive newsroom. Enterprise Reporting can count as a journalism capstone.
In addition to Arnone, Carl Dahlman, professor of geography, and Grant Garstka, graduate student of geography with several years of experience in the region, will accompany students on the trip.
“My role in this program will be logistics, health and safety issues,” Garstka said. “And I guess you can also think of me as student mentor, or an RA in a dorm.”
Junior Matt Lobe, who attended the first information session Wednesday, said that getting his capstone done and the political dynamics and development of the region interested him the most.
“It’s kind of in a transitional period,” Lobe said. “Definitely interesting, you know?”
The program will cost $9,000 to $9,400 for Ohio residents and $13,575 to $13,975 for non-residents. Arnone said the department plans to accept 10 students into the program.
For more information about the program, students can contact Miami’s journalism program.