Two Kansas University students left Thursday for Haiti on assignment for the University Daily Kansan, the campus newspaper.
Novelda Sommers, news journalism junior from Towanda, and Paul Kotz, photojournalism senior from Kansas City, Kan., are working on a story about Bryant Freeman, director of KU's Haitian Studies Institute. They return to Lawrence Tuesday.
Freeman left Lawrence Sept. 15 to return to Haiti and serve six more months as a U.N. consultant assigned to U.S. Army Gen. Joseph W. Kinzer, who directs the U.N. Mission in Haiti.
Since 1993, Freeman has been recruited three times to serve the United Nations in Haiti. Freeman's knowledge of Haiti and Haitian Creole, gained through research visits over the past 30 years to Haiti, have been put to use as the country struggles to establish democracy.
One of Freeman's long-term research projects is preparing a Haitian Creole-English dictionary.
Colleen McCain, Kansan editor, said, "To my knowledge, this is the first time the Kansan has assigned staff to cover a story out of the country."
Tom Eblen, Kansan faculty adviser, said the Kansan sent a reporter to Washington, D.C., last spring to write a feature story on Sen. Nancy Kassebaum.
McCain, news journalism junior from Salina, said the Kansan has some budget to cover travel expenses and makes occasional off-campus assignments for stories the editorial staff considers worthwhile.
"Novelda proposed the story to us after she had written a few articles on Freeman as part of her reporting beat in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences," McCain said.
Those stories prompted Sommers to consider writing about Freeman for an in-depth assignment in her advanced reporting class. Sommers said her professor encouraged her to ask the Kansan editor to allow her to interview Freeman in Haiti for a Kansan story.
McCain and Eblen approved the story and also assigned a photographer to the story. Kotz was selected because he has worked several semesters at the Kansan, McCain said. Their feature story on Freeman in Haiti is tentatively scheduled for publication in November.