War News Radio Begins Partnerships with Radio Stations in Africa
Swarthmore's War News Radio has launched partnerships with radio stations in Africa, thanks to a new collaboration with Developing Radio Partners (DRP).
DRP is a non-profit media development organization that helps radio stations in developing countries broadcast reliable information to those in need. War News Radio debuted its work with DRP on March 20 with live content from Yatsani FM in Lusaka, Zambia. WNR is also partnered with Mazabuka Community Radio in Mazabuka, Zambia.
WNR's involvement with DRP began in Fall 2014 when Bill Siemering, NPR founder and DRP's director, visited campus. During his visit, he met with WNR members and current president Sabrina Merold '17, who proposed the idea of a partnership, with particular interest in African radio stations.
"It seemed like a great fit, as War News Radio's goal is to fill in the gaps in media coverage of conflicts over the world with a mission to show the human side of conflict and the Developing Radio Partners' radio stations were interested in additional platforms to expand the reach of their programs," says Merold, a sociology and anthropology major from Florham Park, N.J. Previously, WNR has not reported heavily on African events due to the difficulty of connecting with sources onsite.
WNR members continued communications with Siemering after his visit and a partnership was launched this February. Once the partnership was official, Siemering and Charles Rice, vice president and managing director of DRP, suggested specific stations in Africa that had the technology necessary to share content and that produced shows on topics of interest to WNR members, such as elections, public health, and the environment. WNR is currently communicating with a number of radio stations at the moment in addition to its current partners in Lusaka and Mazabuka.
While the partnership is new and evolving, Merold is optimistic about the future. "We are still experimenting with how our content will intertwine with the content from our partner radio stations," she says, noting that WNR is very interested in broadcasting content from Nigerian radio stations that can provide new insights and narratives not available in mainstream media on topics such as the violence of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the recent elections.
Eventually, Merold hopes that WNR can host reporters on campus from its partner stations and that WNR reporters might even intern at partner stations in Africa. For now, WNR expects that the partnership will provide new enthusiasm for its show both on Swarthmore's campus and beyond.