As the only International Studies student on this Journalism study abroad program, I felt that my internship was a bit unique. Instead of working in a newsroom or at a radio station, I spent my five-weeks with a non-governmental organization that aims to define and protect press rights and freedom of speech in West Africa.
The piece below was my final assignment at my internship. My task was to put together a brief write-up of my experience at the Media Foundation for West Africa which will be posted on their website.
My name is Daryl Anne Mogilewsky and I am a student of International Communications from the University of Oregon, USA. Fifteen of my peers and I went to Ghana for six weeks during the summer of 2013 in order to experience, in depth, the country’s media culture. We each were placed at five-week internships at various media houses. I was fortunate enough to be placed at the Media Foundation for West Africa.
From day one, I could quickly see the dedication and talent of the MFWA staff, not to mention their welcoming and friendly demeanor. This impressive organization taught me about the importance of passion and belief in the causes that we fight for. At a time in Ghana where the boundaries of freedom of speech and freedom of the press are being reevaluated, I was lucky enough to participate in forums, discussions, press conferences, and initiatives through the MFWA that are working to fight for these freedoms across the sixteen West African countries.
To say that I learned a tremendous amount during my time here doesn’t do justice to my experience. I’ve become a more thoughtful and concise writer by composing alerts of press rights violations, I had the chance to see the inner workings of a press room, I covered conferences that brought together some of the greatest political, legal, and journalistic minds of Ghana, and I was able to bear witness to the various ways that the MFWA is working to effectively utilize technology in their goal to reach a broader audience and raise more awareness. In putting together a yearly report of the press rights and freedom of speech violations that have arisen in West Africa, I was able to gain perspective on just how complicated and prevalent these issues are.
The MFWA added such a unique component to my time in Ghana and the people that I worked with made me feel completely at home and like a true member of their phenomenal team. I’m honored to have had them as my teachers and mentors. It is my hope that international interns will continue to get the opportunity to work at this organization where the staff works around the clock to fight for freedoms that are put in jeopardy daily.
Working and living in Ghana was difficult, exhilarating, frustrating, wondrous, indescribably inspiring and the absolute best thing I have done during my time at the University of Oregon.