IRP fellow to Rwanda to Launch New International Affairs Coverage Initiative

By IRP Staff, October 22, 2011

John Rash, a columnist and editorial writer for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, unveiled a new initiative today called "Great Decisions," which will highlight an international issue every month. Because of the disruption to the traditional news model caused by technological innovation, Rash writes, important international coverage has been reduced. Moreover, those who are able to cover the world place themselves in danger; Rash cites the Committee to Protect Journalists' figure of 75 journalists killed and 145 journalists incarcerated worldwide last year. For those reasons, Rash continues, he will be embarking on an IRP Editors trip to Rwanda next month: "During Rwanda's 1994 genocide, so-called "hate media," especially a private radio station, called for a "final war" to "exterminate the cockroaches" (two former radio executives and a magazine executive were given life sentences by a U.N. tribunal for genocide-related crimes). By all accounts, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in the postgenocide generation. But allegations of creeping authoritarianism, including clamping down on the press, have raised concerns both domestically and internationally. This evolving role of the media in Rwanda is just one of the many issues I'll explore when I join journalists from 11 other news organizations on an International Reporting Project trip to Rwanda in November." Rash will travel to Rwanda with 11 other senior editors and producers in an intensive program to learn about issues affecting Rwanda and other countries in Africa and to help them improve their news organizations' international coverage. The editors will meet with a wide range of Rwandans and explore issues in health, economic development, environment, politics and regional security, reconciliation and justice, religion, education, agriculture, media and other areas. Follow their stories here.