The latest from SUSI
by Kiril Stojanov
“Carpe diem” is the best description for the activities we had on Thursday. Travel, lessons, visits — all in all one great day.
We left early in the morning for our destination: Spokane.
After we arrived in the city, we headed to the WSU Spokane campus where we had the opportunity to learn from longtime Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley about applying drone photography to photojournalism as well as other possibilities for drone use and rules for operating this device in the USA. After that, Jesse demonstrated how the drone is used in practice and we took photos.
Next was a visit to the Spokesman-Review. Editor-in-chief Rob Curley told us about the five most important ”P”s in newspaper coverage: passion, practical, personal, playful and pleasure. We had the opportunity to hear about the challenges of daily newspapers and how and with which tools to attract readers’ attention and stay in the game — since we live in a world where digitalization and large media corporations advance every day. We ended the visit with a group photo on the roof of the building, where you can see a beautiful view of Spokane.
The alternative, free Inlander newspaper was our next stop, and there we had the opportunity to hear about the way the media works on a weekly basis. This allowed us to compare how daily and weekly newspapers function.
“Thirty seconds, and we’re going live” is a phrase we’ve often heard from people who work on television — this time, at KHQ. We were present during its 5 pm newscast, following the teleprompter and other means the news anchors and other TV journalists have with their producers. At the end of the newscast, we had the honor to be a part of the program. The way of working on television is completely different from what we saw in the newspaper. The most important thing we will take away from there is the words of one of their journalists: ”Whatever you do, be yourself. There’s no need to try to be someone else.”
Our working day ended at a restaurant where we had dinner where Sandy Williams, WSU alumna and the owner, founder and publisher of the Black Lens newspaper, joined us. Every beginning is difficult, but you have to persevere if you know what you want. This is the best description for what she did. She started the newspaper by herself from the scratch and reached the moment where she has a respected newspaper that has a great impact on the environment. We have heard how important it is in journalism to stick to what you believe in and that you have to sacrifice a lot, but that it pays off in the end.
At the end of the day, we have not only made the most of it, but we have gathered knowledge and experience that will help us in our careers.
By Gabriela Leskova
“While you’re out there reporting on everyone and everything else, don’t forget to pay attention to your own stories.”
This sentence marked our day on June 27. It’s a solid conclusion made by our mentor Adriana Janovich at the end of the long, but worthwhile writing workshop we had that day.
After several visits to different media houses, including radio and TV stations, and lessons from various professionals and experts in the field of journalism, it was time to test our skills. Through a powerful exercise led by Adriana Janovich, we practiced how to cut a story from 400 words to only one word. It took several phases and lasted nearly two and a half hours.
This workshop impacted each of us because we were writing about personal stories from our own lives and meaningful objects that we brought from our home countries. Each one of us could read and analyze the stories of our peers.
“Don’t forget to pay attention to your own stories. And cut, cut, cut. Figure out what your story is really about, and stick to it,” Janovich said at the end of the workshop.
Besides this workshop, we had a hectic day. We spent the morning learning the area’s history and volunteering at the nonprofit White Spring Ranch Museum/Archive Library in Genesee, Idaho. The museum contains an extensive collection of first-hand documents, photographs, letters, journals, publications, and artifacts covering 140 years of American history and rural wheat farming collected by three generations of the family.
We all confirmed why volunteering is important and agreed that by volunteering we could make the world a better place for living.
by Melisa Bramka
Tuesday started early for SUSI participants. We had to leave at 6:30 am to visit the Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center. The center was full of history and art. The walls inside the center were beautifully painted with people of past centuries, describing the history of the Nez Perce in lots of detail. Near the painted wall, there was a leather painting where the skins of various animals were hung. While outside the center, there was a conical tent, or tipi, like those of the Nez Perce.
After visiting this museum, we went to the Snake River for a boat trip that lasted for several hours and gave us a great adrenaline rush. The captain, a man who made many jokes, told us the canyon ranges up to 150 meters deep and 400 meters wide, and runs for just over 50 miles. The most interesting stop was Garden Creek, a thriving place where you could see wild turkeys and eat fresh cherries under the shade of decades-old trees.
In the end, after the adventures in Hells Canyon, we visited The Lewiston Tribune, an independently owned newspaper. We met editor Nathan Alford who, after making sure that everyone relaxed while enjoying a coffee, walked around the premises introducing them to the employees and the work processes.
It was a great day full of adventures and lessons of new things.
by Ilirjana Hoti
Our day started earlier than usual. But the excitement to hang out with our host family wasn’t missing. Outside the dorm there were three happy faces to meet us and spend the rest of the day together. They were the Ponosheci family: Asdren, Liridona, and their 2-year-old son, Doni.
After grabbing a cup of coffee, we started the road trip to Spokane. Even though it was a little bit of a drive, the view that was waiting for us was amazing. Our first visit took place at Manito Park. The park was full of beautiful and colorful flowers, and we took many pictures to keep that in our memory.
The next stop was the nearby Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden. There were also beautiful flowers and a pond filled with little fishes. Little Doni was really enjoying looking in the pond which made our hearts melt.
After that we had a picnic at the Riverside State Park. We really enjoyed the food because the Ponosheci family got some groceries to make sandwiches as we make them at home, in Kosovo and in Albania.
After lunch, we took a walk in the park, then hopped back in the van and went back to Pullman, where the dinner at Shane’s house was waiting for us. All of the participants were gathered for the dinner, which ended with making delicious s’mores that we all enjoyed so much.
By Jasmina Ejubović
Our first Sunday in Pullman was quite interesting considering the fact that this was the first time our group was divided into three subgroups and had diverse activities. In my group, led by program manager Shane Johnson, there was Nevena, Iva, Marigona, Reka, and Kiril. We had planned to go hiking, but our enthusiastic leader decided to make a surprise and announced that we are going to play golf!
After making sure everyone got their morning coffee at Roost Coffee & Bakery in downtown, we decided to take a ride among Pullman’s neighborhoods and enjoy in diverse styles of houses. Shane showed us homes from many different decades, and it was actually one pleasant mini-architecture lecture.
After picking up some cold beverages, we were ready to learn some golf. The weather was really pleasant, and we practiced for two hours straight. After practicing, Shane took us to the mini-golf where we started competing and met one really nice family who was spending the weekend with their kids at mini-golf, too. When we counted our scores, it was quite clear that our Marigona was the best one, even in the practicing part before.
Tired, but still full of positive energy, we took a break for lunch and a quick shower before going to academic coordinator Adriana Janovich’s place. We all gathered again in her amazing garden and enjoyed some watermelon and homemade nachos.
When the sun began to set, we took a ride to Shane’s place and helped him with a baked potato specialty that was one of our favorite dinners since we arrived in the United States. We enjoyed his lovely backyard with the fire and some marshmallows, while everybody was searching for the perfect song to play. The stars of the sky, the magic atmosphere of summer, and we, tired of practicing sports, ended that beautiful Sunday and made sure that everyone goes safely to their bed and had sleep before tomorrow’s activities.
By: Egzon Musa
It’s a sunny day here at Washington State University in Pullman, and I can already mention the fact that it’s becoming a wonderful lifetime experience for my personal goals and objectives.
Never have I been so engaged and entertained at the same until I became part of this exchange fellowship program. The SUSI international program is advancing me in the good values and standards I always aimed to get, based on actionable ideas and concepts they teach us every day. The schedule and working method with great management by administrators is making this journey way easy for me and everyone here.
So, we started the work today at 10 a.m. at the Palouse Discovery Center by doing volunteer activities for this community center. Then we had a lecture on media literacy from 1 to 3 p.m. from where we learned more about the impact of disinformation and misinformation news on the democratic process. In addition, we learned how to spot fake news, while analyzing the information based on different criteria. The subject of the next lecture for the day was local independent journalism. And the last lecture was on the Rural Journalism Project at WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.
The ability to use the knowledge and tools they provided to us will allow me, as a social entrepreneur, to integrate skills into the new international networking and projects I will attend. Furthermore, this well-designed academic program is improving my leadership skills.
I am enjoying this great journey, and I’m so excited to apply this methodology to my current/future projects. The way everything is structured makes complete sense and is very practical in the real world. It’s nice to learn a methodology that actually sounds possible to implement on more of a theoretical level.
I look forward to connecting more with great members of this group and other stakeholders in new international projects and ideas. In the end, as always, #gocougs.
by Nevena Ivanovic
Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you are at it. – Horace Greeley
This is just one of the quotes found in the offices of The Daily Evergreen. The inspiring editorial room we visited, in which news stories, are created gave us a pleasant feeling. Megan Henry, who is a managing editor and has two years of experience in editing, welcomed us. Through conversation and browsing the newspaper archive, we saw interesting topics related to different sections. A large number of young people get information on the website, but there are also printed versions that come out once a week. In this way, we recognize differences and get ideas that we can use in our environment.
Meghan Henry during a conversation with SUSI students
It is a privilege to be part of the SUSI program and to have the opportunity to see how things work at Washington State University from another angle. The desire to know is present in each of us and we begin to fit in. In addition to formal attendance and learning new things, a nice part is when there is time for a break. Crybaby Café was the perfect option for socializing and starting the day. The sun, a walk on campus and a gentle breeze, made the day very pleasant. Also, we noticed the close-to-campus pub The Coug, and we want to go there soon. We want to remember, enjoy and take photos of every moment.
Photographing coffee as an inevitable part of posting Instagram stories
The organization and opportunities provided by WSU are very different from our universities. Students have a lot of opportunities here and everything looks professional. For us, the most interesting thing was to see the “nap zone.” Of course, we had the opportunity to try it for at least a few minutes, and it was great. In addition, great gratitude goes to the people who are in charge of our arrival and the entire organization. It was a pleasure to meet them. One of the nice things is that the flags of our countries are in their offices and in that way they stand there as a reminder how important international programs are for the community.
SUSI students from Serbia, during a tour of the campus
What it is like to study on campus, what challenges are present and how to use the knowledge are just some of the topics we discussed with people who graduated. We also had a wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Paul Bolls, associate dean of research and graduate studies at Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. In an interesting way, he shared his experience of journalism and gave us a rubber brain-shaped stress-reliever to squeeze. This connection with journalism has a lot in common, because the brain is the main organ and it should be applied while doing this job. Through metaphors, but also key things, we learned what influence the media should have.
Professor Paul B0lls during his lecture to SUSI students
The last but not the least important activity was meeting the journalist Benjamin Shors, the chair of the department of journalism and media production. He is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker specializing in public-interest reporting in the Pacific Northwest. His documentary series, “Sixty-Four Flood,” was selected for online distribution by PBS Indies. We had the opportunity to watch “The Blackfeet Flood,” a documentary about the 1964 Montana flood. We learned a lot through critical thinking and listening to each other. We are ready for new topics and learning.
By Marigonë Arifi
Today was our second day in Pullman, Washington, and I loved it. It is way less crowded than Seattle but people are very friendly. In the morning, we went to visit the Washington State University campus, and we saw a lot of the buildings for each department such as music and communication and so on. The campus had so many places for students to hang out outside. We learned that colleges in the U.S are huge in college sports, and Washington State University has basketball courts, baseball fields, football fields, athletic swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym and more spaces where students can train for their particular sport. It was so surreal to see what the students experience in their college life here in the U.S. while they are studying compared to us students in the Balkan countries, especially in Kosovo
In the afternoon, we went to see Northwest Public Broadcasting. It was very interesting to see a more local broadcasting news outlet. The best part was to see how much they include students and train them on how to write, produce and so many more steps a journalist has to do in their career. Students get to hone their skills and then go to work in a bigger newsroom but they never forget where they came from. Their coverage area is huge, but they try to focus more on the rural area where the citizens don’t have many information sources about what is going on in the world. We got to see that some of the rooms are named after Edward R. Murrow, who was a Washington State University student. He was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. During World War II, he recruited and worked closely with a team of war correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys. During the hybrid online part of SUSI last summer, we watched the movie “Good Night and Good Luck” and had to analyze it. It was very interesting to see and learn more about him and his career.
We learned so much about journalism here, from both points of view: students and full journalists. This is a great experience for us, which we can share when we are back to our countries especially for those who are journalists now and for those who intend to be.
This year’s SUSI student journalists are days away from their arrival. We asked our ambassadors, faculty and staff for what to include in their suitcases and carry-ons.
- Bring clothes that can be layered. Weather in our area can range widely even on the same day. Having layers guarantees that you are not too warm or too cold. Remember a swimsuit too!
- Pack comfortable footwear. During your visit with us, we will walk to many of our activities and when we explore our destinations. Comfortable footwear will make these excursions more enjoyable.
- Have at least one business casual outfit. We will be visiting many news outlets, so at least one business casual outfit would be appropriate for these visits. There is access to washers and dryers so don’t overpack.
- Pack emergency medication. Prescriptions can be hard to fill when traveling, having extra medication will allow for any delays to be sorted out.
- Prepare a binder with your important documents for ease of use.
- Bring an empty water bottle so you can fill it up after you pass through the security gates.
- Put your information on a tag and tie it to your luggage in case the suitcases got taken by others accidentally. If you have luggage that is hard to pick out, tie a ribbon or a colorful luggage tag so you can spot it on the luggage carousel.
- Remember chargers and adapters. Wall sockets are different in the U.S. Your best bet is to get an all-in-one adapter that works all around the world.
- If you have favorite teas or other items that might be hard to find in the U.S, make sure to pack them. There will be opportunities for shopping here but what items are available ranges widely.
These are just a few suggestions to make your visit more enjoyable. Don’t worry if you forget anything, there will be opportunities to shop locally.
We are very lucky to be working with a great team of student ambassadors to host this year’s student journalists. We want to introduce you to them.
“I was really excited to hear about the SUSI program and am happy to have the opportunity to be one of the SUSI ambassadors. I wanted to be a part of creating a welcome, fun, and memorable experience for everyone. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and experiencing new things, so I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone!”
Ph.D student, Computer Science
“I am a Ph.D. student in computer science, specializing in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. I am very much intrigued by how technology can help the health system be more efficient as, after all, algorithms are opinions embedded in code.
I am very excited to be a part of the SUSI program. I always love to meet new people and know their stories and experiences. When I am not studying, I love to spend my time listening to music and singing, and am guilty of sometimes indulging in binge watching. I am also a decent cook and love to try new recipes.”
“As I am approaching my last year at WSU, I’ve had the privilege of getting to experience many things. One of which includes being involved in the WSU community, a melting pot of many different kinds of people from all over the world, whether that was in the classroom or at an event. The exchange of experiences with one another is a desire of mine I seek to continue to encounter. My hope in joining the SUSI team as a student ambassador is to connect with those who share a different story. Part of my story involves passions of surfing, soccer, cooking, and drinking coffee!”
Postdoctoral associate, Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology
Ghana, West Africa
“I am elated to be part of the SUSI program. I love to meet people from different countries. My hobbies are dancing, watching movies and listening to music. I always love traveling and taking photos. I am so excited to meet you all and show you Pullman.”
Senior, International Business and Finance
“I am super excited and looking forward to gaining new experiences from the SUSI program and can’t wait to meet the other students as well! I can’t wait to show them what are the fun activities I love to do, and fun places to visit in Pullman.”
The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders from Europe on Journalism and Media is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by FHI360, in partnership with Washington State University.