Hamline News

Pipers Making and Breaking News in Thailand


Ten Pipers will be spending 3 weeks in Thailand over J-Term. They will not be lounging on the beach; instead, they’ll report and produce environmental stories with the help of prominent and experienced journalistic mentors.

The Hamline students will be the first to report in Thailand as part of Round Earth Media’s Asia Reporting Project, a journalism program of the International Women’s Foundation.

In Thailand, the Hamline group will be split into teams comprised of a student photographer and a student reporter. Each team will be partnered with early-career local journalists to work together on environmental stories. Through the mentorship of their partners from Phuket and award-winning New York Times foreign correspondent, Richard Paddock, Hamline students’ stories will have the potential to be published in major news outlets in the United States and Thailand.

The faculty lead for this trip is Bangkok native and Communications Studies Professor Suda Ishida. Ishida started her journalism career in 1988 as an environmental reporter for one of the only two English language newspapers in Bangkok, The Nation. Seeing first-hand how tourism, global economic development and industrialization has affected Thailand, Ishida is excited that her students will be looking further into these issues.

“I knew that some of my most formative experiences were those working as a young beat journalist researching, interviewing and writing about environmental issues," said Ishida.
"Because these experiences were life-changing for me, I wanted to give my students the opportunity to gain knowledge and broaden their experiences outside of the U.S. while discovering the aspects of journalism that they like,” Ishida continued.

Ishida worked alongside Mary Stucky, founder and director of Round Earth Media, to secure a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to help make this trip possible. Those funds have provided financial assistance to students that have helped them afford a unique professional opportunity to work with Paddock. His role is to support students as they develop skills around writing and reporting and about navigating different cultures while in foreign countries.

“We all learn a great deal from visiting foreign countries, but traveling as a journalist is even more rewarding than simply going as a tourist. As journalists, we get to dig into specific issues and talk with people we would never have met otherwise,” said Paddock

“We have the privilege of asking questions and, with any luck, getting many of them answered. As a result, we come away with a much deeper understanding of the country and culture,” Paddock continued.

Round Earth Media helps students break into journalism with their model of partnering American early-career and student journalists with international peers. The Round Earth mentors guide students through story development and the journalistic process to publication. Past projects have been placed in Africa, Latin America and Asia and covered a breadth of issues including environment, politics, gender, health, education, art and culture.

To learn more about these and other study abroad programs, visit the Global Engagement Center’s website.

Written by Emma Larson