Senior Journalism Major Meets Chinese Media, Government Leaders on International Reporting Trip
School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) senior Christiana Ford was selected as one of five students nationwide to participate in the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) all-expenses paid reporting trip to China during November 2018.
Ford, who aspires to report on politics after graduation, has sought out opportunities to travel abroad and report in foreign countries since beginning her undergraduate studies at Kent State University. She came across an invitation from NABJ to apply for the 2018 Les Payne Reporting Trip to China scholarship. “I knew it was my shot,” said Ford.
Ford shared some insight about her experience and how the College of Communication and Information (CCI) helped her accomplish her goals.
What were you most excited for?
A: China has a restrictive authoritarian government. They don’t just let anyone in, especially journalists. Knowing that, it was such a privilege to be awarded a glimpse into a country where even national and world-renowned journalists have trouble accessing.
Can you describe what you did on a typical day during the trip?
A: We met with government leaders, walked the Great Wall and toured media organizations. We were paired with a professional journalist throughout the entire trip. I was paired with John Yearwood who’s an international media leader on the Executive Board of Global Free Media. We worked in teams, and they looked over our stories. A founder of NABJ and writer for the Washington Post, Joe Davidson, accompanied us on the trip as well. In NABJ we really respect our Founders, so it was truly an honor to be on the trip with him.
What was your greatest takeaway from the trip?
A: This trip solidified my passion toward becoming a political reporter. Throughout our briefings, I was able to see and compare American and Chinese politics in the discussions. Americans get most of their views on Chinese policy from American national media outlets, which sometimes don’t cover the topic as accurately or often as needed. My eyes were opened to important discrepancies in American coverage.
How has Kent State prepared you for an opportunity like this?
A: I believe Kent State’s journalism program breeds greatness by encouraging you to become active in your field as soon as you can. They encourage involvement in student media, even among those with little experience. Their willingness to teach allowed me to grow exponentially. The College of Communication and Information taught me to get out of the classroom and apply what I learned.
What advice would you give to future students?
A: Get involved with organizations related to your field as soon as you can. No matter how unprepared you may feel, all you really need is opportunity and motivation. Go above and beyond the work that’s asked of you. Do the work quickly and accurately. Apply for everything, even if you think you won’t get it.