Concordia University

Graduate student profile: Anne Nadia Edimo

Master’s candidate, Journalism Studies

Anne Edimo Graduate student: Ann Edimo

1. Tell us about the path that led you to Concordia 

I graduated from high school in Cameroon in August 2010, and started studying at York University in Toronto in September 2010.

The  funny thing is that after my high school graduation I was not really clear on what I wanted to major in, nor did I know if I was ready to start University. All I knew was I did not want to stay out of school for too long. As a result, I decided to major in Business and Society even though I did not know what it really meant. Four semesters later, I had an epiphany! Business and Society was not my thing, but rather Communication Studies. So, I switched majors.       

Switching majors was the best decision I ever made. I later realized that I was really passionate about communication, language, media, journalism, and public relations. I had an amazing time playing around with all of the theories I got to learn and apply.

I loved Communication Studies so much that I went on an exchange in Paris to study public and political communication in France and the European Union. It was an enriching experience which reconfirmed my passion for the world of media.

2. What made you choose Concordia?

I graduated from York in 2014. After graduating, I was a bit confused. I did not know what to do next, or where I wanted to go. All I knew was I wanted to leave Toronto and get my Master’s degree. I applied the Journalism Studies program at Concordia University, because I realized there was no Master’s degree in Public Relations in any of the ‘anglophone’ universities I wanted to attend, and the only program that met my expectations was the Journalism Studies program here.

Quite frankly, I thought the program would be about pitching and writing stories, searching for sources and so on and so forth…but after I went to Orientation, I realized it would be different from what I had expected, but even better. That is how I ended up embracing the ‘Concordia’ experience! 

3. Tell us about the research project you are doing with Professor David Secko regarding the Ebola virus

In Fall 2014, I started studying the coverage of the Ebola Virus disease outbreak in West Africa, precisely in Liberia. I decided to base my thesis on that, and chose Dr. David Secko to be my supervisor. He has been a mentor and an amazing supervisor. I’m doing my research project in collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists. It is mainly focused on assessing the barriers or obstacles that African journalists faced when they were covering the Ebola virus outbreak that started in December 2013 in Guinea. Mainly what we do is gather the accounts of African journalists who were at the epicenter of the outbreak via semi-structured interviews and surveys.

We hope to find ways in which journalists covering these kinds of outbreaks might improve their methods.

4. What drew you to this topic?

What  really what struck me and got me to focus on this topic was the ridiculous lack of information about the outbreak outside Africa and even inside Africa; the coverage of it on western television (presenting the virus as a deadly virus that is devastating the whole of Africa when really it was only a small part of West Africa that was affected); and lastly, the rumors that the lack of information generated within Africa and the African population affected by the outbreak. So my first research on the coverage of the Ebola virus was essentially focused on a Liberian newspaper’s coverage of the crisis in West Africa. That research yielded so many interesting results that I decided to further the project and turn into a Master’s thesis and may be a Dissertation later on…who knows?

5. You have been travelling as part of your research. What’s that been like?

Honestly, it has been wonderful! Never would I have thought that my research would give me the opportunity to work with the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) and travel so much.

My first research trip to Ivory Coast in September 2015 was short but very enlightening. Despite my crazy workload (back to back interviewing, and translating documents into French amongst other things), I got to learn about different cultures, since the WFSJ’s workshop gathered a couple of journalists from all over Africa. And I liked that difference because it represented the heterogeneity of Africa.

Meeting with professional science journalists reinforced my passion for my field and reminded me why I chose my project, even though all of them were not necessarily on site to report on the outbreak. Those journalists were so passionate about science journalism that I really felt their experiences were worthy of attention!

In Liberia (my second trip) on the other hand, the experience was quite different because all of the journalists I met there really lived through the outbreak spiritually and physically (they visited the most dangerous spots at the time when the outbreak was at its peak). Sometimes it would sadden me to listen to their stories because I could feel their pain and despair but some other times it would just make me thankful to learn about those experiences.   

6. What would you tell a student who is considering pursuing graduate studies in journalism at Concordia?

JUST DO IT! I would say just do it! First, the program offers some perspective on journalism that you would not normally get in a regular journalism program which trains journalists. Second, I think it gives students amazing opportunities to contribute to bodies of literature on different disciplines related to journalism. Lastly, the faculty members are so accessible to students that I think it is just worth the experience.

It is always good to have a bit of theory even if you want to end up being a journalist, because it helps you reflect back on your practice. It is that self-reflexivity aspect of the program that really excited me when I got used to the readings and the concepts addressed in each course.

I would also say DO NOT FEEL THREATENED by the program because it is a graduate program. Graduate studies can be challenging but believe me, they are so worth it!  If you love it you will have absolutely no major issues with the program. And always remember that the faculty members are extremely accessible, fun and great to talk to!

Here I am writing my thesis and enjoying every moment of it.

7. What’s next for you?

Good question! I think right now, my priority is finishing up with my data collection, writing the last chapters of my thesis and graduating!

When I am over with my thesis, I will continue with my graduate diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management at McGill University for a year. In the meantime, I will start looking for job opportunities internationally (Europe, North America, Africa) and finally apply for a job at the end of the diploma. Provided I get a job, I will work for a couple of years and then stop to pursue a PhD in Journalism or Media Studies or something else depending on what I would learn on the field. I would also love to continue working with Dr. David Secko or other members of the faculty on research projects in Journalism in general and Science Journalism in particular, because it is a field that I am starting to like a lot… If I do not find a job in my field, I might apply for a PhD in Concordia - who knows?

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