Syracuse University

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Newhouse's Harper will train African journalists as part of New Narratives team

July 02, 2012

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Ken Harper, assistant professor in Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, has been named director of digital and visual media for New Narratives, a team of leading African journalists using the power of media to transform their countries. He will be based in Syracuse.

harperHarper, who has been working with African journalists for 10 years, will be in charge of training the organization’s visual journalism fellows, and will also work with African media outlets on web and print redesign projects. Newhouse students will assist on these projects, including the print redesign of FrontPage Africa. Harper regularly takes students to Africa to visit media organizations and NGOs.

“The importance of the visual message in society is self-evident,” says Harper. “In a largely illiterate population, the need for professional visual communicators is even more profound. Those that have the know-how will control the internal and external narratives. We intend to assure that the press is not left behind in this race, but will play a leading role in adaptation and innovation of this emerging opportunity.”

Harper has spent several years working with the Liberian media through his project Together Liberia. “The challenges they face are profound—poverty, post-traumatic stress, corruption,” he says. “And they have few examples of high-quality visual journalism or the knowledge to share it with the world. The only realistic hope is to work with them individually, tapping into their passions to help overcome the compounded issues they struggle with.”

For more information, contact Harper at 315-443-6131 or

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