CNNI Presents Videos

By Jackie McDermott

Boston University received the first of CNN International’s “Inside Africa” tapes yesterday in a ceremony at the School of Management, adding to BU’s collection of resources regarding Africa’s democratization and economic reform.

The tapes will be available for viewing through the Mugar Memorial Library. Eric Ludgood, CNN International’s managing editor, presented the donation to the African Presidential Archives and Research Center, headed by Charles Stith, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania.

“This donation is important because it is part of the building of a unique archive, one which will promote community awareness, and in turn, involvement,” Stith said. “‘Inside Africa’ is one of the best, most systematic presentations of the breadth and complexity of Africa.”

“We are hoping to broaden how we look at the world by making such information widely available in a comprehensive form,” said Brent Baker, dean of the College of Communication.

CNN International, the counterpart to the American network, reaches countries around the world but is not often shown in America, Ludgood said. The 10-year-old station reports strictly in English, serving as both a news provider and a language tool.

“CNNI is dedicated to promoting global awareness,” Ludgood said. “The network prides itself in its devotion to honest world coverage and journalistic ethics.”

“Inside Africa” began as a three-minute segment aired once a day and has since become a weekly, 30-minute program with its own budget and staff. CNNI developed the show despite early financial losses, Ludgood said.

“We did it not for any reason but it was the right thing to do … It changed our perception on an entire continent,” he said. “We forget that Africa has doctors and lawyers and skyscrapers and golf carts as well.”

A brief video clip was shown following the formal presentation yesterday. It sampled segments ranging from young boys making sandals in a run-down factory to an aspiring opera singer performing in her local theater. Other segments on the tapes examined the effects of the oil industry on Sudan and the impact of “Star Wars” on Tunisia’s tourism industry.

Provost Dennis Berkey predicted the donation would further BU’s continued interest in African culture. “BU has a long and proud history of intense interest in Africa and it’s people,” he said.

BU’s study abroad program includes Africa, and the collection in Mugar Library continues to grow. “It is important to enable our news center to have tangible material … to reach out to the people in any way we can,” Berkey said.

Scott Goryl, a COM student, described the presentation as “extremely interesting,” and said he regretted that CNNI cannot be seen in America.

“I think interest in world affairs has been increasing, especially after Sept. 11,” he said.

“Since you can’t see it broadcast on cable, you can come watch the special collections right on campus. Perhaps this will compensate for the absence of cable in the dorms,” Baker said.

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