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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire team to help Peace Corps volunteer from Eau Claire set up public radio station in Moldovan village

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Julie Poquette

DATE: Dec. 21, 2010

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire team to help Peace Corps volunteer from Eau Claire set up public radio station in Moldovan village

Three students and a faculty member from the UW-Eau Claire communication and journalism department will travel to Moldova Jan. 3-26 to help Peace Corps volunteer and Eau Claire native Monika Hartsel, along with community members in the village of Giurgiulesti, establish and train local students to run a public radio station housed in the village school.

The UW-Eau Claire team also will conduct research that explores the question, "How does exposure to democratic journalism influence public perceptions of journalism credibility in a former Soviet republic?" The three-week immersion experience received support from UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and Center for International Education, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Moldova.

UW-Eau Claire journalism majors Elizabeth Dohms, Wausau; Scott Morfitt, Amery; and Alex Luedtke, Mosinee; will join Jan Larson, associate professor of communication and journalism, on the Moldova Community Radio project, led by Hartsel and partially funded by the Peace Corps Partnership Program. Hartsel, a graduate of Memorial High School in Eau Claire and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., is serving as a Peace Corps English education volunteer in Giurgiulesti until July 2011. Also joining the project will be St. Paul, Minn.-based professional journalist Julia Barton, who has done extensive media training in the former Soviet Union for nongovernmental organizations including Internews, the International Center for Journalists, and IREX ProMedia.

While in Giurgiulesti, the group will deliver a two-week radio journalism camp for students in grades 5-12, as well as for teachers and community members. The camp will cover the topics of journalism practices, technical aspects of radio production, writing for radio and online, journalism reporting and interviewing, and the principles and purposes of a free media.

Moldova is a former Soviet Socialist Republic and the poorest country in Europe. While the country's constitution guarantees free speech, the independent media there has experienced harassment, beatings and jail in several high-profile corruption cases. Citizens of Moldova have a distrust in the media that lingers from the time their country was part of the Soviet Union, when the government vigorously used radio and other media to spread Soviet propaganda.

To discuss the radio project and UW-Eau Claire student/faculty research, contact Jan Larson at 715-835-4604, 715-864-3897 or larsoja@uwec.edu; Monika Hartsel at monikahartsel@gmail.com; and Elizabeth Dohms at 715-797-2486 or dohmsen@uwec.edu.

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