One effective way to help Haiti may be by just sitting down and having a conversation.
School of Communication community members have discussed the role media need to play in Haiti’s future in a January conference co-hosted by the Voice of America, an international news service that has been working in Haiti.
“We’ve talked about the needs that have been present since the earthquake, but we haven’t really had a strong conversation about what it’s going to be like to rebuild,” said Ivette Yee, communications manager for the School of Communication.
At the conference, journalism professors Yves Colon, Sallie Hughes and Tsitsi Wakhisi presented the research they have accumulated over the past two years on the use of Haitian media in Haiti and in Miami. According to Colon, journalists need to take a more proactive stance in implementing change.
“Haitian media need to educate, not just show the country’s frailties, but focus on development,” he said.
Aside from discussing media in Haiti, the conference featured the U.S. ambassador to Haiti and the Haitian ambassador to the U.S. Discussions and included topics such as reconstruction, politics and the media.
The school’s Koze Ayiti covered the conference for the group’s multimedia website.
Koze Ayiti, which stands for “Conversation Haiti” in Creole, is a community-building organization that connects Haitians with Haitian-Americans in Miami and focuses on allowing Haitians to create an educated society by giving them the opportunity to make their own news.
“The most important thing is to allow Haitians to tell stories in their own voices,” said Tod Landess, the staff adviser and project manager for Koze Ayiti.