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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Professor travels globe

    UA associate journalism professor Maggy Zanger settles back into her office in the Marshall bulding after returning from the Middle East, where she taught a class this summer.
    UA associate journalism professor Maggy Zanger settles back into her office in the Marshall bulding after returning from the Middle East, where she taught a class this summer.

    UA journalism professor Maggy Zanger hopped off an airplane and landed right back into the classroom after spending a summer trekking across the Middle East.

    This summer she took 12 students from across the country to Egypt on a program she developed and taught called Study Cairo. Zanger had previously spent nearly four years in the region teaching journalism at the American University in Cairo from 1999-2003.

    In her program, she immersed students in what it is like to be an international reporter and led them around the city as they interviewed different political, economic and cultural figures.

    “”It was really nice to see them kind of grow and develop as journalists,”” Zanger said. “”It was a real challenge; it was a lot of fun.””

    Immediately after the program concluded, she flew to Iraq to visit and check up on her trainees from her work in 2003 as director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Iraq. The program specializes in training journalists in post-conflict areas.

    Several of her former trainees have since been killed, gone into hiding or fled the country.

    “”It is an extremely dangerous area for journalists,”” she said. “”We always made jokes that we kind of jumped the gun on the ‘peace’ part.””

    Zanger and two other colleagues trained a group of 15 Iraqi journalists in the living room of a house in a Baghdad neighborhood on how to be responsible journalists.

    Most Iraqi journalists had no training once, in spring 2003, the Saddam Hussein regime fell and they were no longer being fed information from authorities, she said.

    “”So that is when we started just taking young people who were smart and interested and trained them from the bottom up,”” Zanger said. “”People who had no experience. They really were the best to work with.””

    Zanger started teaching at the UA again in January 2005, where she had previously taught as an adjunct lecturer in the late 1980s. Last semester she won the Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching award within the journalism department, which UA students vote on.

    “”She has a ton of experience and makes one great journalism teacher,”” said Jeff Javier, a journalism senior and former Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter who took a copy editing class with Zanger last semester.

    “”Maggy is the type of an academic that many of us dream of working with,”” said Jacqueline Sharkey, journalism department head. “”For a program like ours that emphasizes giving students both a theoretical and a professional education in the field of journalism, Maggy is the quintessential professor because she has the academic background along with the real-world experience in the Middle East that enables her to bring a number of different perspectives to the issues and events that she’s training people how to analyze and how to cover in the future.””

    Zanger is trying to develop a graduate program in international journalism at the UA. She also hopes to continue with the Study Cairo program to travel and write about the Middle East.

    “”I started this whole journey of trying to explore and understand the Middle East, and it has been fascinating,”” Zanger said. “”It is so diverse and so complicated and so layered that it is really a challenge to me intellectually to try and understand the region, and now I feel it is very important to try and help other Americans understand the region.””

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