Photojournalism students head to Kazakhstan


A group of photojournalism students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications is in Kazakhstan working on a semester-long project.

The trip, funded by an endowed gift from three of the nation's leading photographers, allows students to document an emerging country in which there is great human need.

The photographers, Howard Buffett, Thomas Mangelsen and Joel Sartore, created a photojournalism fund to enable students to travel abroad to witness the world firsthand and report on what they see. Buffett is a photographer of scenes in the developing world, Mangelsen is a nature photographer and Sartore is a contract photographer for National Geographic and other publications.

The students, working under the direction of photojournalism chair Bruce Thorson and news-editorial professor Joe Weber, will produce a depth report and documentary. The six students are developing contacts, doing their own reporting and researching issues relevant to their topic.

"Our college is committed to helping as many of our students as possible go abroad for a semester or a special project like this. We think the exposure to other cultures is invaluable and will make them not only better journalists but also better citizens," said Charlyne Berens, interim dean of the college. "A study trip like this one allows our students to bring together the principles and skills they've learned in their courses and put it to work toward something that will, in at least some small way, help make the world a better place."

Students and the role they are playing on this project are: Travis Beck, photojournalist, senior, news-editorial; Kyle Bruggeman, photojournalist, senior, news-editorial; Andrew Dickinson, photojournalist, freshman, news-editorial; Elizabeth Gamez, writer/designer, junior, new-editorial; Megan Nichols, photojournalist, senior, news-editorial; and Megan Plouzek, video journalist, graduate student.

The Kazakhstan project is one of a series of documentaries and depth reports produced by students in UNL's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

- By Marilyn Hahn, Journalism and Mass Communications