Ph.D. student receives four grants to research journalism practices in Rwanda

Ruth_MoonRuth Moon, a Ph.D. candidate in her fifth year as a UW Department of Communication student, has received four grants to aid her dissertation research.

“I aim to understand the ideas and practices journalists use to create a coherent occupation under various forms of political systems and technology access,” Moon said. “My primary field site will be Kigali, Rwanda, and I plan to spend time interviewing and observing journalists there to get a better sense of their routines and ideas.”

All four grants help Moon’s research in a unique way. Her research, concentrated around the work culture of journalists, aligns with the UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies’ focus on labor and the social and political conditions of work. The Center, established in 1992 on campus, gives grants to graduate students researching work, workers, and their organizations.

The Chester Fritz International Fellowship from the UW Graduate School will allow Moon to live and conduct research in Rwanda for a quarter, and the David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship (also from the UW Graduate School) will fund her to study Kinyarwanda, one of the main local languages, and conduct research for about three quarters.

“These grants will let me immerse myself in Rwandan journalism culture with an aim to understand how political and social elements impact the work journalists do,” she said.

Moon also has funding from the Peter Clarke and Susan Evans Graduate Research Fund through the UW Department of Communication, which she will use to interview journalists in several other countries to better understand how journalists work in different environments.

“I’m looking forward to having freedom and support to wrap up my studies at the UW with this exciting research project, and I’m eager to get to know this new culture,” Moon said. “One challenging aspect will be maintaining relationships long-distance while I am overseas, especially with my husband, who is an assistant professor here in Seattle. I suspect there is a lot of Skype and Google Hangout in my future.”

As for those who are looking to earn similar support for their research, Moon says, “Apply for a lot of things and hold those applications loosely, but be sure to celebrate when you get a success.” That’s the advice she received from her advisor Phil Howard, who told her to expect to receive about one grant for every 10 applications sent out. For Moon, the nine months of time and energy applying panned out and will help her complete exceptional and immersive research.