A New Story from Media Storm — She Looks Back

I was so excited to find a new story published on the Media Storm. It’s a story produced for American Institutes for Research to visually document the impact of their educational projects. The story focuses on women’s education in Liberia. “She looks back” is quoted from the Liberian Administer of Education. She was talking about girls’ education. If the girl is educated, she will contribute back to her family and the society.

The numbers in the story are striking. The number of school before 1989 were 2400, whereas the number decreased to 480 by 2003 as a result of war. Only 31% women can read and write.

The Liberian girl has a beautiful smile in the picture.

Liberian Administer of Education said in the story that in their culture “a girl child is a caretaker.” Girls in Liberia usually have the responsibility to do housework for their family. The girl washes dishes, cooks, takes care of her siblings and parents. Here, in terms of journalism, I really appreciate the nice sequence of the girl cooking. A sequence of shots not only reveal the tedious and time-consuming process, but also show us their humble house and simple food. A girl going to school means some other members from the family have to take care of their home, otherwise there will be a vacuum. Therefore, it is crucial for the parents to understand the importance of education, and support their daughters to go to school.

However, many of the parents didn’t go to school. They didn’t understand the importance of education. The positives created by education is long-term, versus the short term need of taking care of the house. Unfortunately, if the parents don’t understand the long-term paybacks and only focus on the temporary duties, the girls education won’t be permitted.

Another barrier is the financial burden, which in turn becomes the value of this excellent journalism piece. 1.7 out of 3.5 million of Liberians are living in poverty. The girls in Liberia might not have the access to education because their families can’t afford it. The story of “She looks back” will let more people be aware of the issue and provide potential help to them. This impact reminds me of a guest speaker to our Broadcast II class. He said he wishes future journalists would report something that have a positive impact to the society, as opposed to chasing crime and accident all the time.

The story inspired me that as a young journalist, I should tell stories that would generate positive impacts, making a difference in people’s life. There’s no such a thing that the impact is big or small. To those who are in need, they all deserve such an impact.

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