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Junior to travel with New York Times journalist

| Thursday, March 27, 2014

Three thousand miles away in Europe, as Nicole Sganga waited to board a plane to Turkey, she found out she had been chosen by the New York Times to travel to a developing country with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof.
Sganga, a Notre Dame junior majoring in film, television and theater and political science with a minor in journalism, ethics and democracy, received the opportunity through the annual “Win a Trip With Nick” contest sponsored by the New York Times.
Sganga will travel with Kristof this summer to a developing country to raise awareness about global poverty, according to a Notre Dame press release. She will also contribute to a blog and create videos for the New York Times website.
Sganga, who is currently studying abroad in Notre Dame’s London program, said she is trying to keep an open mind about the trip and looks forward to using her multimedia skills outside of the classroom.
“In terms of expectations for the actual trip itself, I am certain that I will learn more than I have in all of my journalism classes combined,” she said. “It’s going to be something completely different.”
The location of the trip has not been officially announced, but will most likely be to either Myanmar or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sganga said. She wants to report on the stories of places and people in those countries that are often neglected in the news, particularly women and children, she said.
“Oftentimes it’s the women and the children whose stories go unheard, so it should be interesting to get to talk to some of them,” she said. “I think being a woman myself puts me in a unique position … where I am able to have those more candid conversations with other females.”
The video journalism aspect of the program is what interests Sganga the most, she said, and she hopes to incorporate multimedia in a new way. However, she is also anticipating the obstacles that can confront video journalists in the field.
“I always have a camera in my hand. It’s going to be a challenge to use the camera the right way in sensitive areas of the world,” she said. “I don’t want to create an uncomfortable situation for anyone else we’re covering.”
As a longtime reader of Kristof’s column, Sganga said she was thrilled when she found out she would be able to travel and produce journalistic content with him.
“He’s an incredible journalist in his own right,” she said. “The work he’s done is so inspiring. He’s very pro-woman, so I think that’s something that has attracted me to him as a journalist.”
Bob Schmuhl, the director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, said Sganga’s distinction is a big deal for the program.
“She was successful on her own, but certainly her selection will help to recognize journalism education at Notre Dame,” he said.

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