UMKC’s own Peter Morello was appointed by the State Department to represent not only UMKC, but also the United States in the Fulbright Scholarship Program.
The Fulbright Scholarship Program is for students, teachers and professionals who are interested in traveling abroad to either study, teach, conduct research or exercise whatever talent they may have.
This scholarship program is merit based and highly completive.
Morello was selected by King Mswati, the monarch of Swaziland and chancellor of the University of Swaziland.
“I was surprised I was chosen,” Morello said. “What surprised me is that he had the ability to choose Fulbright scholars from different backgrounds such as medical or engineering, but he chose me, a journalism scholar.”
Morello will be teaching in Swaziland, South Africa, located just off of the border of Mozambique.
Swaziland is a country where freedom of the press is limited. These limitations restrict journalists from being completely free in their work. Therefore, it takes knowledge of political institutions and knowledge of the press to be able to operate as a good journalist.
“I believe the reason I was appointed is because I have experience with working in countries that have limited press freedoms,” Morello said. “I must work within the boundaries of their culture and be sensitive and aware of their political situation.”
Although Morello has dealt with these types of policy restrictions before, this may prove more difficult seeing that he is the one teaching Swaziland people about journalistic limitations in their country.
Unlike in America, if a journalist in Swaziland loses their credibility or job they will lose their whole livelihood, so it is imperative that he teaches them the right methods to work with and still remain within the frame of their set political institution.
“I will be walking a fine line with how I teach and how I train,” Morello said.
Not only is Morello working on the Fulbright, but he is still in the process of completing his Doctorate. He is in the final stages of completing his Education dissertation. Morello hopes to use his Doctorate toward benefitting higher education.
While in Swaziland, Morello has a unique plan of action to help the students. Morello refers to his tactic as “leap from technology.”
This method has journalists use technology such as tablets or iPads to do reporting.
This method will give journalist the hands on training that they need such as how to write, edit and narrate their own stories.
It will be less expensive and more effective in Swaziland. It is hard for people in poor countries to get equipment for reporting, but using a tablet is a condensed more affordable form of professional tools.
When Morello returns to the U.S. he hopes to establish a relationship between UMKC and the University of Swaziland.