“Practice Community Journalism”

...Former US Journalist Tells AME University Mass Communication

By: Mark B. Dumbar (Intern)

Students studying Mass Communication at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) have been urged to practice community journalism and diplomacy in Liberia.

The statement was made Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at a one-day symposium where Mr. Joel Maybury, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Monrovia urged all Mass Communication students to report on community issues in Liberia.

He said, “I see every opportunity to report on people in the community.”

Mr. Maybury encouraged all Mass Communication students and practicing journalists to learn how to check their facts, find credible sources, and how to properly cite their sources.

He added, “giving credit where credit is due is necessary.”

According to him, some key transferable skills that journalists and students of the Mass Communication department can make use of in building their writing, reporting, and public speaking skills.

“I can tell you that if it were not for these transferable skills, I would not have made the kind of smooth transition from being a newspaper reporter to being a diplomat” he noted.

He mentioned the case of African-American media organizations, and readers that keen to see stories that relate to what is going on in their communities, that typically are not covered in the mainstream media.

He added, “I conducted a community Journalism workshop at the U.S. Embassy and had about 20 newspaper reporters and editors in attendance, to create a newspaper that would better capture the local issues of importance to their readers.”

Mr. Maybury called on Mass Communication students and practicing journalists of the African Methodist Episcopal University to take on the responsibilities to report stories sounding the waste problem the city is faced with and as well look for human interest stories that will impact the lives of citizens.

He suggested ways to students of the AMEU and practicing journalists can use in acquiring many skills.

He added, “I mentioned several of them earlier; I would write these down as you would as an inventory of your interests and skills.”

According to him, his professional life has been defined by these two careers as a newspaper reporter and a diplomat.

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