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"Know Media" at AUK Bridges the Gap between Theory and Practice

The Kuwait Media Club at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) invited Ali Najem, from Marina FM, and Nouf Al-Muthayan, from Kuwait Public Radio Station, to hold a discussion on life in the Communications and Media industry in an event entitled "Know Media". The event was open to members of the AUK community and the public. The event provided the attendees and the hosts with a forum to speak freely about media in Kuwait, giving all those present an opportunity to criticise or praise the current practices in the industry.

One of the issues raised was the difference between public and private media outlets in Kuwait, especially when it comes to freedom of expression and censorship. The guests shared their personal experiences within the private and public media, noting that private radio and TV in Kuwait offers more space for freedom of expression. According to Najem, cultural barriers play an important role in determining what can and cannot be said on air. Al- Muthayan recalled several situations when she was required to "filter" her sentences when she worked in public radio. The topic of censorship triggered a heated debate where students expressed their views on censorship in the media.

The discussion also shed light on necessary qualities and attributes required to become a successful media person. According to Al-Muthayan, a combination of factors contributes to success in the field of media, the most important of which is building specialized knowledge in specific area of interest. A media person should "find his niche", she advised; whether it is in science, sports, or social affairs. A media person should have a strong background knowledge about the area of interest he/she wishes to pursue as a TV/Radio journalist; "this is what builds talent" according to Al-Muthayan. The ability to engage one's listeners while speaking is an important skill to master when seeking a job in TV/Radio journalism. "Take every course you can find about public speaking," said Al-Muthayan addressing the communication students, this will build confidence and enhance self-expressivity needed for any media person who goes on air, according to Al-Muthayan.

The "Know Media" event is one of the Kuwait Media Club initiatives that aims to bridge the gap between the academic and professional practices of journalism. "It is very important to expose the COMM students to the professional life of Media in Kuwait. I repeatedly hear the students' questions on how the theories we study in class apply in real life. These talks by experts in the field answer many inquiries. In addition, they help undeclared students to finalize decisions on their academic paths," said Dr. Mohammed Akbar, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication and Media, and Advisor to the Kuwait Media Club.

The American University of Kuwait (AUK) is an independent, private, equal opportunity, and co-educational liberal arts institution of higher education. The educational, cultural and administrative structure, methods and standards of AUK are based on the American model of higher learning. The language of instruction is English. More information on the American University of Kuwait can be found at http://www.auk.edu.kw

Nouf Al-Muthayan

Ali Najem

Ahmed Al Refai, President of Kuwait Media Club

Dr. Mohammed Akbar, Assistant Professor of
Mass Communication and Media, and Advisor to the
Kuwait Media Club at AUK.

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