AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity – Lawrence Kaggwa

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity in Journalism Education

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

School of Journalism

University of Texas at Austin

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Interview Subject: Lawrence Kaggwa
Interviewer: Rochelle Ford
Interview date: 06/04/2013

Number of Recorded Segments: 3
Interview length: 00:52:18
Language: English
Reviewer: Trent Boulter
Date of review for index: 12/19/14


Table of Contents:
0:00 – 1:20 Start and Intro
(How did you get involved with journalism)
1:20 He talks about the educational system in Uganda before he immigrated to US. It was a British system and didn’t require people to have a degree to be a journalist. It was an apprenticeship system. His first job was covering the national legislature as an information officer. And it followed with a full-ride scholarship to study journalism here.

255 question over some of the media you actually consumed

305 he talks about the fact that Africans weren’t in fault with racial differences here in the United States. So the newspapers he read were the white newspapers that his family read. He was in traduced to black newspapers until the 60s. That instruction came from a student body officer who informed him that if he were black he needed to be aware of black newspapers.

428 question so impact that have on you?

435 he questioned whether or not he would go the way the black press was going or the way the mainstream media was going. It was a question about diversifying versus sticking in your niche.

532 journalism was not covering black communities so that there was nothing to explain the riots broke out in the 60s and that’s why everybody was caught off guard. One of the things they learned through the commission signed by Pres. Johnson was that there was a total lack of representation for black communities in the media.

628 the white people responded in a very interesting way by starting to recruit black people to work in the industry and right stories so that the media could really keep track of what was going on

655 he talks about the establishment of a pipeline for black journalists through universities and journalism programs, and the difference between the quality of journalism in the black press and the mainstream media.

835 question Tell me about your experience working as a journalist in Africa and the United States

854 he talks about going from Rutgers to UCLA and then his time in graduate school and about his classmates and him not being full-time students but full-time professionals going to school. He talks about the fact that when he was at SIU that practice switched and became a full-time student working part-time but outside of media because the newspapers in the area wouldn’t hire a black person

1049 question over some of the diversity challenges you faced in The US compared to Uganda

1120 having worked in 14 different newspapers in the US he was never expected to do stories that would resonate with black readers. He was expected to write stories that anyone could relate to. He talked about the fact that he really enjoyed covering communities stories and so is often assigned to write those.

1225 he shares a story about an intern who wanted to work with a professional and when they went to do the story they had a gun pulled on them and the intern took off.

1310 question having that colorblindness did you feel that you were treated fairly

1343 interestingly enough it seems that most of the people he worked with didn’t feel threatened by a foreigner the way they felt threatened by a black American. So because of his accent he didn’t seem to feel the same animosity from the people he worked with because he was interesting coming from a different country.

1510 the only time that he had an issue was when he dealt with an interviewee, Dan Grover, who wouldn’t talk to white people. He claimed that he was an Africanist and because they were both from Africa he was able to get one of the longest interviews he ever had.

1610 he never any issues and send the newsroom but outside the newsroom was a completely different story

1647 question why did you choose the university you attended for your doctorate and why get a doctor

17 00 he chose the school he went to because he was offered a full fellowship. He didn’t realize until later that the only reason he was admitted was because the director thought he was Japanese. He went into the office to visit with the director with his admission letter in hand and the director told him that he hadn’t been admitted because he thought he had admitted a Japanese person.

1823 when he was in school there he was one of two black people on campus.

1847 question why going to academia and why become a professor

1857 the first scholarship you received was on a contract that after the four years were over he would return home. That was because of the Cold War. A lot of it was based on trying to get votes in the UN.

1953 at the end of his four-year degree there was a revolution in home. He couldn’t go home that only had a student visa so we went on to get a Masters degree. The year he finished his master’s degree there was another revolution in so he couldn’t go back home than either. So once again he stayed in school and continued on to get a PhD because he could not go home to his home country in Africa.

2036 by the time he finished his PhD in American schools were wanting to hire as many PhD’s is the could. Because of the racist feelings in the country regardless of whether you had a PhD or not you wouldn’t be hired at a white university they told him where to go teach and that was it Norfolk state.

2140 Raymond Boone was such a radical local character and engineered an effort to get him fired from Norfolk state because of a program he had put into place. He was a man of standards because of what the wounded the established a journalism program at the first black university to apply for accreditation. He talked about the pressure that put on Howard to also become accredited and how that served to get him to Howard University.

2310 When he came to Howard a lot of people were upset that the curriculum was changed to not be focused on black press, but instead mainstream media. He expresses feelings about his life and never being about where he planned to be.

2346 question seen the lack of diversity and newsrooms, how did you prepare students as a teacher to feel comfortable in integrating newsrooms?

2426 money talks. He expresses the difference in pay between the black press and mainstream media drives students to mainstream media. It didn’t hurt that white editors were very aggressive in hiring people that they felt were qualified. As a matter of fact a lot of their graduates even got signing bonuses or had their future employers pay the last year school. So motivating students to integrate wasn’t difficult at all.

2711 question how did you involve yourself in professional organizations to meet recruiters

2725 He talks about the support of an activist dean and being able to attend conferences like AEJMC through university funding.

2855 he talks about when he joined AEJMC there not being a minority division. he was part of the original group that established the minority division.

2930 talks about the establishing and his involvement in BCCA. Initially the first grants that were given to the minority division were written by white Dean’s.

3134 question being known as one of the toughest professors that Howard University’s, how are you able to train the students to go into the community and report on those stories that still go unheard in mainstream media

3210 he talked about following the publish or perish mentality to academia has. If students don’t get their stories published they don’t pass. He also talks about the fact that all people are racist because we don’t look at their communities are other cultures the same way we do our own.

3340 one new notice cover story for the Washington Post they have experts who happen to not be white. If you’re constantly working at getting different voices you can find them, but it’s not a natural thing. However if your concern was self-preservation you have to include all of the different perspectives or they will or the people that they represent will not listen or watch or consume your programming.

3540 question : how are you established your own black press. What influenced you to do that and to start those things?

3615 he feels very strongly that in order for a journalism department to create students that are marketable they need to have control and power over a teaching newspaper in order to provide students with the experiences they need. And Howard he was surrounded by other faculty who felt the same way, and so they started their own community newspaper to serve as a teaching newspaper.

3825 once the newspaper was budgeted out a new problem came up in conflict of interest with him owning the paper, he couldn’t require that students produce stories for his paper. Benefits to Howard for having the newspaper.

4020 question tell me about the network that you started with other nonprofit organizations focused on trying to encourage young people to become the next generation of journalists

4047 as an educator you know that the future of media is dependent on getting the youths interest in those things. It used to be that the Washington Post had a youth section to encourage young people to read the newspaper. This program for use during the summer is a way to encourage media consumption while also building and training journalists and writers for the future.

4430 question what level of importance does diversity in news media have now

4448 when he came to this country diversity meant assimilation. You didn’t come here to keep things from your own culture, but to become American. Now diversity means access to diverse sources. Where he finds stories of interest to every segment of your audience. We have to build the ethnic media to the same level of quality as the mainstream media.

4656 question what about diversity within academia

4704 diversity in academia is something he’s given up on. He was really trying to focus on getting a graduate program at Howard University in order to provide diversity of faculty throughout the rest of the country.

50 00 question if diversity takes a backseat what type of effect will that have on us

5011 riots. When people get into a situation when they’re comfortable and nobody cares whether or not there is that diversity and tolerance then that will bring riots.

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity

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