Zach Putnam, a second-year student in the SOJC’s Multimedia Journalism master's program, recently produced a short explainer video about the controversy surrounding a statue of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi that was erected at the University of Ghana. Some students and professors at UG have demanded the statue be removed because of Gandhi's "racist identity."
While participating in UO SOJC's Media in Ghana program over the summer, Putnam interned at UG's Radio Univers and watched this story unfold up close. Radio Univers was the first news source to cover the story, and it has since been picked up by media organizations around the world, including BBC and Al Jazeera.
"When I first heard about the protest, I was intrigued," said Putnam. "I was reminded of the denaming debates that are taking place around Deady and Dunn halls on the UO campus. But Gandhi, really?"
The protests are taking place mostly online, through both the petition at Change.org and the hashtag #GandhiMustFall, which has trended before in protest of a Gandhi statue in South Africa. Putnam challenged himself to summarize the story as quickly as possible for the short attention span of a social media audience
"Obviously this is not in-depth journalism," Putnam said. "But I'm hoping it's just enough to make someone scrolling through their feed feel like they learned something, and hopefully want to know more."
Zach Putnam is a graduate student in his second year of the Multimedia Journalism Master’s program in Portland. He has operated his own boutique video production company, focused primarily on creating documentary shorts commissioned by nonprofit organizations, for over ten years. You can see examples of his work at zachputnam.com.