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Ryan Piers ’11 heads to Uganda to research crisis journalism

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Broadcast communication major Ryan Piers ’11 will be traveling to Uganda March 13-27 to conduct research, funded by a Richter grant, for his project titled “Susan D. Moeller’s ‘Compassion Fatigue’ Preventing Journalism Methods and How They Were Applied When Reporting on the LRA.” Piers will be based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and staying in a house run by the Catholic Diocese. His research will involve interviewing local and international journalists, asking questions that test whether or not they used the proposed methods of “good crisis journalism” talked about in Susan D. Moeller’s book Compassion Fatigue. Some of the journalists he will interview include those at The Daily Monitor and The New Vision newspapers, as well as radio broadcast journalists and others who worked on documentaries about the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA, a prominent rebel group in northern Uganda from 1986 to 2006. Piers also plans to study archives at the two newspapers, as well as at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest and oldest university in Kampala. Piers’ faculty advisor for the project is Steve Macek, associate professor of speech communication and coordinator of urban and suburban studies. Photo: Ryan Piers ’11 in Kenya, Africa, during a North Central service trip in July 2009. During last summer's trip, he and several other students served at an orphanage and other centers connected with Koinonia Community.