Father Boniface Anusiem, a student pursuing his M.A. in Strategic Communication, a Graduate Studies program within the College of Communication and the Arts, recently presented a paper on political news consumption in his native Nigeria as part of the Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies international conference at Johns Hopkins University.
Father Anusiem’s research, “Blogosphere and Political News in Nigeria,” resulted from a content analysis he conducted examining how Nigerians use blogs to become politically informed. His research examined how blogs are diffusing ideas, setting political agendas, and influencing information sourcing. He also explored the growing extent to which blogs and social media in general are redefining communication.
The conference was an opportunity for Father Anusiem to meet and learn from scholars around the world. It was also a chance to discuss a topic he is truly passionate about, namely the digital age. In his study, Father Anusiem discovered that internet usage has grown in Nigeria, with most internet users relying on blogs for political news. “Blogging is on the rise within the structure of new media,” he said. “It’s fitting to make an inquiry on what characterizes the blogging experience using political news sourcing as a research focus.”
Father Anusiem is no stranger to academic research. He earned his doctorate in media studies from the University of Abuja in Nigeria, a master’s degree in pastoral communication from the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Nigeria, degrees in philosophy and divinity from the Pontifical Urban University in Italy, and a degree in religious studies from Imo State University in Nigeria, among several other academic distinctions. Since being ordained a priest 15 years ago, he has also written six books, served as editor in chief of two magazines, taught at multiple schools, and ran religious programming on national Nigerian television.
Yet, even with all of those accomplishments to his name, Father Anusiem is still not finished furthering his education. The master’s candidate said he decided to pursue a degree in Strategic Communication at the University so he could learn more about a subject that directly relates to his duties as a priest. In fact, he said his communication studies have already enhanced his ability to preach in that he has learned how to deliver messages effectively using innovative tools such as a Prezi with interactive video.
Though continuing to learn at the graduate level requires a lot of work — especially research — Father Anusiem does not mind the effort. “Conducting academic research is very enriching for both students and professors,” he said. “Research opens opportunities for interactions and exchange of ideas across borders.”
The master’s candidate credits courses like Communication Research and Methods and Strategies of Communication for providing him with ample preparation to write and speak about his paper in front of an international audience. He also credits his professors Drs. Renee Robinson and Ruth Tsuria for providing mentorship and encouragement.
Of course, Father Ansuiem realizes there is always more to learn within the communication field. And that is fine with him. “Knowledge-seeking is a lifetime journey,” he concluded.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.