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Visiting Journalists Bring Global Perspective to Elections in Florida

Tito Da Costa of East Timor & Samuel Endale of Ethiopia
Tito Da Costa of East Timor & Samuel Endale of Ethiopia

Nov. 05, 2012 WMFE | Orlando: For 10 days in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) the 90.7 News Department is hosting two journalists from Ethiopia and East Timor as they observe the U.S. election process and travel to see presidential candidates first-hand in Florida's battleground I-4 corridor.

Samuale Endale of Ethiopia’s FANA broadcasting service has thirteen years of broadcasting experience. His ICFJ colleague Tito de Jesus Da Costa has reported for nine years with RTTLE.EP radio in East Timor.  So far the reporting duo has covered speeches by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and covered a political rally for Barack Obama’s campaign featuring former President Bill Clinton.  Endale and Da Costa also have spoken with a panel of religious leaders to learn about the intersection of politics and faith in America and with political experts in Orlando to gain insights into American politics.

Asked about what listeners in Ethiopia gain from coverage of an election so far away Endale says “American elections are not for Americans only.  It’s known all over the world.  Everyone is keen and focused to follow the election process.  It effects a country’s relationship with the United States.”  He says citizens in Addis Ababa recognize both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.  “People are much focused to see who will be the next elected president especially in regards to foreign issues.”

“I am informing the audience about the process and the importance of the election.” Being in Florida for a week, Da Costa already notices many differences between domestic Timorese politics and the interaction of politicians in the United States. “It is quite different, based on my observation. The (American)) candidates (verbally) attack each other but the audience doesn’t react.  But in my country when (Timorese) candidates during the campaign attack each other, supporters are very reactive (physically).”

So far Da Costa and Endale say they are enjoying their experience in the U.S.  Both received 10 days of training in Washington D.C. with ICFJ before coming to Florida.

Endale says he is pleasantly surprised by the openess of voters and the level of commitment towards their respected candidates. Fact-checking by journalists is something that fascinates Endale.  He says it is not common in Ethiopia.

Culturally Endale says his experience with Americans has been very positive. “They are like family, they are ready to help you, go with you, and understand you and want to get to know you better.”

Da Costa says he also has been pleasantly surprised. “I’m impressed with Americans.  Before I came here I thought Americans could be selfish, but the reality is not like that.  When I arrived everyone has taken very good care of us.”

It is always exciting to meet people from other countries.  For the staff at WMFE we are happy to count Tito De Jesus Da Costa and Samuale Endale not only as colleagues but as valued friends.  They’ll be staying at WMFE through election day and out on election night covering a very exciting political moment.


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