News 1985-1997 Academic Years

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research began operations in 1985, with the approval of Dr. Fred Davison, President of the University of Georgia. In 1990, the Center was named for the late James M. Cox, Jr., chairman of the board of Cox Enterprises and a major figure in the communications industry in the United States in the twentieth century.



In 1986 the Cox Center provided a series of lectures for Middle East News Agency staff, presentations on ethics and press freedom at American University, and updates on communications technology at an Al Ahram newspaper. Cox Center specialists also traveled to Nigeria and Lesotho in 1986 for workshops on print and broadcast reporting for journalists. The Center followed up with visits to Nigeria and Lesotho in 1988 and 1989 to provide additional training to communications professionals.

In 1986, the Cox Center presented workshops, news media lectures and participated in discussions on journalism curriculum development in Saudi Arabia. In the following year, Cox Center specialists visited Tunisia to present workshops and provide academic consultations.



The Center responded to sweeping changes in Central Europe, as many countries instituted democratic reforms and sought assistance in supporting a free and independent press. In April and May, 1990, the Center co-sponsored a reporting workshop in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and a computerized, desktop publishing workshop in Krakow, Poland. More than 240 participants attended these workshops and related sessions. Cox Center and Grady College Journalism faculty discussed needs for further training and research support with university faculty and government leaders in both countries, as well as future opportunities for student exchanges.

The Cox Center this year also published a study of rural radio stations and their role in development in rural areas in Guatemala. Dr. Al Hester, director of the Center, along with a professional journalist, presented a feature writing workshop for journalists in Singapore. Dr. Hester also met with officials of the Pacific Islands News Association to plan workshops in the Pacific region in future years.

The Center engaged in research projects in Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Hungary, Bulgaria, former East Germany, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.



The Center offered educational and training opportunities to mass media professionals from remote Niue Island in the South Pacific and to journalists in Albania. Honolulu was the host city for a reporting/desktop publishing/still photography workshop, a joint project of the Cox Center and Pacific Islands News Association.

In collaboration with the Soros Foundation, the Cox Center coordinated a workshop in Prague for journalists and government public information staff on their roles, responsibilities and relationships in a democratic society.

The Center co-sponsored a workshop in Bucharest, Romania, aimed to support publishers in establishing their own democratic, independent organization. The Center further supported Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty in helping to develop a curriculum for a new school of journalism in Romania.

Dr. Hester, Director of the Cox Center, participated in the first American effort to give training in objective journalism to journalists in Tirana, Albania, as that country took its first steps toward democratic reforms.



The Cox Center co-sponsored with the U.S. Information Agency a workshop in Hungary to delineate problems of women and to sensitize the media to them, with strong support from President Árpád Göncz and his wife.

Journalists from the following nations were involved in Cox Center programs: Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Republic of Georgia, Colombia, Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. The Center sponsored a workshop on public relations in Durban, South Africa, and continued program activities in the South Pacific and Albania.

The Center engaged in research in Malaysia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The Cox Center hosted visitors from Russia, the Solomon Islands, the Czech Republic and Western Samoa.



The Cox Center developed an extensive collaboration with Hungarian President Árpád Göncz and his government to conduct a series of workshops for media representatives and government media relations personnel on their mutual responsibilities and roles and appropriate relationships in carrying out their responsibilities in a democratic system. The program included developing practical texts in English and Hungarian intended for use throughout the country.

Workshops were provided in Fiji, Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Albania.



Workshops continued in Hungary and the Czech Republic. After conducting workshops and education programs in Tanzania for the Cox Center, Dr. Melinda Robins was chosen by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems as one of 30 Americans to monitor the 1995 elections in Tanzania.

The Center offered workshops on desktop publishing in the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific, and supplemented the training with donations of equipment and software. In cooperation with the Pacific Islands News Association, the Cox Center co-sponsored an advanced editing and layout workshop in Hawaii for journalists from throughout the region. The Center supported projects in Albania and hosted journalism educators from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Gaza, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.



In this program year, the Center opened a world wide web site that allowed journalists around the world to download publications and information at no cost. A distinguished Georgia broadcaster, Mary Betts, was sponsored on a journey to Slovakia and Bulgaria to help entrepreneurs establish independent radio stations that could sustain themselves in a market economy. Cox Center experts also assisted television professionals in Hungary to adapt to a market economy and to expand cable television opportunities as government subsidies to broadcast media ended.

The Center continued a tradition of publishing helpful books and monographs on such subjects as "Magazines in the Czech Republic" and "On the Road to a Free Press in Albania." In continued support to journalists in the Marquesas Islands, the Cox Center helped with preservation of the native language and its expanded use in a variety of publications.



The Cox Center, working in collaboration with the Pacific Island News Association, presented workshops on news reporting in Tonga and Vanuatu for journalists wishing to publish materials in indigenous languages. The Center presented a workshop in England for journalists in exile from three African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast. The curriculum included instruction in reporting, writing, editing, with added training in desktop publishing and publishing on the Internet.

In the autumn of 1997, upon the retirement of Dr. Al Hester, Dr. Lee B. Becker moved from the Ohio State University to the University of Georgia to assume the directorship of the Cox Center.