Cox, ICFJ Evaluation Project

The Cox Center, in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C., has begun a year-long assessment of the impact of an international journalism training program operated by ICFJ.

During the course of the year, the Center staff will interview journalists and other media professionals in 11 countries where ICFJ trainers have worked since 1994.

The interviews are designed to determine if the training program altered the attitudes and behaviors of the journalists--such as the way the journalists defined news or covered stories. The study also is intended to look at organizational impact--such as on the media outlet themselves or on training institutions with which the ICFJ trainers worked.

The program being evaluated is the Knight International Press Fellowship program, which has been in operation since 1993. Each year, approximately a dozen journalists are sent abroad to train local journalists and work with educational organizations in the host countries.

The Knight International Press Fellowship Program is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami. The Knight Foundation also is funding the assessment study by the Cox Center.

The Cox Center study will focus on the impact of the Knight Fellows in three Latin American countries and eight countries in Eastern Europe.

In December, Cox Center Director Lee B. Becker and Cox Center Research Scientist Patricia Priest conducted interviews with 28 journalists and journalism educators in Ecuador as the first phase of the project. Becker and Priest plan to return to Ecuador in 1999 and also interview Knight Fellow contacts in Peru and Chile.

The two will visit others who worked with Knight Fellows in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Priest completed her doctoral studies in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College. Priest, who worked as an analyst at NBC in California before doing her graduate studies, has taught in the Telecommunications Department of the Grady College.

The Cox Center will hire undergraduate and graduate research clerks for the project as it progresses.

"This evaluation project is a wonderful opportunity for the Cox Center," said Center Director Becker. "It gives us the opportunity to build upon our knowledge of the consequences of international journalism training programs in a very important way. We're pleased to be working with the International Center for Journalists and with the Knight Foundation on this project."

The project will be completed in late Spring of 1999. The intent is to make the findings public so others involved in journalism training can gain from the research.