Kick-off Panel + Reception

COVERING CONGO: Journalism in the DRC

Thursday, 10/16, 6:30PM

***Special free event hosted by the Brown Institute at Columbia University's School of Journalism


Columbia University Journalism School

Brown Institute For Media Innovation,

East Wing of Pulitzer Hall, Ground Floor,

2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 - Map


Emergent technology is rapidly changing the landscape of journalism as we know it. The past decade has seen explosive growth in new digital media outlets, the cultivation of new forms of storytelling, and a movement toward niche coverage. With all these developments, the future of journalism around traditionally underreported stories, such as the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has never been brighter -- or has it?

Congo in Harlem, in collaboration with the Columbia School of Journalism, will convene a diverse panel of journalists and scholars to discuss the current state of journalism in DR Congo. The conversation will unpack the challenges and constraints journalists face in getting their stories out, as well as explore the new possibilities that digital media has to offer, with the aim of arriving at a more nuanced understanding of the forces at play in shaping current media representations of Congo and its people.



Mélanie Gouby is a French freelance journalist who has been living and working in the Democratic Republic of Congo for three years, focusing on issues of conflict and justice. While extensively covering the M23 rebellion for international media, she investigated a British oil company prospecting in the Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest park and a World Heritage Site. Her work is featured in the documentary Virunga. Prior to DRC, Melanie covered the International Criminal Court.


Sekombi Katondolo is founder and executive director of Mutaani Project. Mutaani is the only independent citizen media organization based in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, providing the community with independent news, in depth stories and reportages on the everyday life of Congolese citizen. Sekombi served as a production manager at Radio Okapi based in Kinshasa and wrote and produced a fiction program of 24 broadcasts, exploring the daily of life of people in each of the regions in DRC. He worked as the center director for Yolé! Africa, a youth cultural center based in Goma, DRC and Kampala, Uganda. He has more than ten years of experience in international and local media working in film, radio, print and organizing public events. Sekombi is also an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and journalist: “I do believe in the power of Congolese people telling their own stories -- to each other, and to the outside world.”


Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson is currently an Associate Producer for the legendary CBS newsmagazine, 60 Minutes. Her work has covered everything from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to the first exclusive interview French President Nicolas Sarkozy granted to an American news program. She also co-produced the profile of His All Holiness Bartholomew, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church which included the position of the Church and its future in modern-day Turkey. To date, she’s a Peabody and Emmy Award recipient for producing the profile of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste – a philharmonic orchestra from Kinshasa, Congo.

 Mrs. Laguerre-Wilkinson has lived in Haiti, France and the U.S. She holds a B.A. in English from Marist College, earned her International Baccalaureate from the United Nations International School, and attended the Lycée Français de New York as well as l’Ecole des Roches in Normandy, France. She lives in New York City with her husband, Bruce Wilkinson, and their two daughters, Juliette and Joséphine.



Milton Allimadi is the Founding Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of The Black Star News and In addition to African American and Diaspora Africa news, The Black Star has established a reputation for investigative journalism. It was first to report that Invisible Children, makers of KONY2012, had shared intelligence with the Ugandan regime. The newspaper has been featured in The Wall Street Journal; The Daily News; The New York Post; The New York Observer; New York Press; New York magazine; and The New York Times. Allimadi has appeared on CNN, WABC, Al-Jazeera, Voice of America, Press TV and RT News. He is also a panelist on WBLS and WLIB radio every Sunday evening.

In the Spring of 2014 he launched an online petition drive on to try and block Sam Kutesa, Uganda's foreign minister who represents the militaristic and homophobic regime of Gen. Yoweri Museveni from becoming President of the UN General Assembly; the campaign, still active, garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

Allimadi holds a masters degree in journalism from The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. His journalism career started with internships at The Journal of Commerce and The Wall Street. He was a freelance reporter for The New York Times and an editor of The City Sun before founding The Black Star.