Carleton University journalism graduate and former Tribune summer student Tara Sprickerhoff is off to Africa for an internship with an international organization committed to fighting poverty and food insecurity.
Beginning in June, she will spend four months working with Farm Radio International at its local office in Accra, Ghana.
“I’m excited to get started,” she said while home for a visit in Williams Lake.
“I don’t know what I will do afterwards, but when I applied to Carleton I knew the school offered a variety of internships and thought it would be a great opportunity.”
The 23-year-old grew up in the lakecity and graduated from Columneetza secondary school in 2011.
“I will be the only non-African working at the local office in Accra,” Sprickerhoff said.
“Farm Radio’s head office in Ottawa will prepare information packages and scripts with the latest research on farming methods for me to broadcast on the radio.”
Other major issues Sprickerhoff will cover in her broadcasts will be to raise awareness about the nutritional benefit of growing yams and the importance of gender equality.
Farm Radio doesn’t have its own radio stations, but works with more than 500 radio broadcasters in 38 African countries.
“Radio is very popular in Africa,” Sprickerhoff said. “It costs $15 or less for a radio that can go anywhere.
“There are even radio listening circles in Africa.”
During her third year at Carleton Sprickerhoff studied a semester-long radio course.
Part of the course involved a two-week internship at CFRA in Ottawa and one of the highlights was covering Remembrance Day.
“I love radio because there is so much power in having someone tell their own story,” she explained. “You can hear their emotions.”
Besides, she loves playing with sound, she smiled.
“Radio is always in the present tense and punchier. You write the way you say it.”
In fourth year the journalism students broadcasted a show every Wednesday afternoon for the university’s radio station.
For the show Sprickerhoff prepared five-minute mini documentaries, voicers that were one minute 30 seconds, taped talks which are clips of people talking, and some question and answer pieces.
“We called the show Mid-Week because it was on Wednesday.”
Thinking back to when she first thought about what she wanted to do when she grew up, Sprickerhoff recalled telling her Grade 7 teacher she wanted to be a journalist.
“He said I should be a doctor. I’d flip flop thinking I’d be an actor or a teacher but I always came back to journalism.”
She grew up listening to CBC radio in her home and in Grade 4 her teacher Mr. Taylor at Nesika elementary did current events every single day.
“We’d listen to the top news story and then he’d ask who, what, where, when and why.”
Sprickerhoff said she plans to keep a blog while she’s there.