A tripled increase to the Christiane Amanpour Lecture series endowment will bring journalism students more opportunities on global perspectives from renowned and seasoned reporters.
The series began in 2008 when Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and University of Rhode Island alumna, donated $50,000 toward a lecture series that would help students gain broader viewpoints for journalism around the world. She hosts her own show, “Amanpour,” a nightly program that first aired in 2009. The successful journalist has reported from countries all around the world and interviewed many of the world’s top leaders.
As of last fall, Amanpour donated the funds after Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Winifred Brownell sent her a personal email requesting her continued support. The endowment now totals $100,000, which still makes it difficult to reach high-profile journalists, though famous reporters are not the only ones who can offer students a perspective on what being a journalist is like.
“The speakers are trying to get the truth out there,” said Brownell. “They talk about their work, equipment, how it is for a freelance journalist,” and more about the challenges they face. Brownell said it is important for students to learn about the processes reporters go through daily, and now a larger pool of journalists can be accessed for spreading their experiences.
“[The donation will] generate additional funds so we can possibly expand the lecture or pay people a little more than we have in the past,” said assistant professor and Department Chair John Pantalone. “All of the people we’ve brought here have been traditional newspaper journalists, but they’re also doing what today would be called multi-media [reporting].”
Audiences for the lecture have included non-journalism students, faculty and community members, but primarily consist of journalism students.
“Every year after we do this, non- [journalism] majors and journalism majors say that it was an eye-opening experience for them to see somebody who does that kind of work,” said Pantalone. Each lecture has given students the understanding of the intense commitment this career can entail.
“This is a healthy, well attended lecture,” said Brownell. She said the audience averages 100 to 150 each year.
In the past, the department has hosted New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers, Charles Sennott from the Global Post and Gambian jouralist Omar Bah. All of the speakers have reported in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
The department has been planning this year’s lecturer invitee since last semester. With suggested ideas from the journalism faculty, emails and phone calls checking availability and affordability, the speaker is finally locked in for the April 1 lecture. H.D.S (David) Greenway, now a retired journalist residing in Needham, Massachusetts, has spent the past five decades covering international conflicts in places like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Iraq.
“It’s difficult to find someone who’s been around for so many years,” said Pantalone.
Greenway released his first book, “Foreign Correspondent: A Memoir” in August, which recounts vivid memories of being oversees, reporting for various American leading publications and the inherent challenges journalist face.
The Amanpour series will be hosted on April 1 at 6:30 p.m., though its location is yet to be determined.