12 Government and Advocacy Group Leaders From Bosnia Herzegovina Visit Center in April

Twelve government officials and representatives of non-governmental agencies from Bosnia Herzegovina included a stop in the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in their two-week visit to Georgia in April.

The group came to the United States to learn about the relationships between governments and advocacy groups, and they came to the Grady College to learn about public relations and public relations education.

The full-day program on public relations, organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College, included a discussion of journalism education in the United States, a meeting with the head of the Advertising and Public Relations Department in the Grady College, and presentations by two Grady College doctoral students who have worked in public relations.

Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker reviewed the history of journalism education in the United States and the integral role public relations education has played in the development of the academic field. Dr. Dean Krugman, head of the Advertising and Public Relations Department, outlined the curriculum public relations students follow at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, a visiting research scientist in the Cox Center, discussed the evolution of public relations education at his home university, Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Dr. Vlad developed the journalism program at the Romanian university after the democratic changes in the 1990s in his country.

Drs. Becker and Vlad outlined to the group the structure of newsrooms and the importance of identifying the appropriate specialists within them when advocacy groups attempt to use the media to reach their target audiences.

Ed Gans, who worked as a public relations professional in New York, and Heidi Edwards, whose public relations experience was largely in Florida, told the group that they needed to design messages that respond to audience needs and that offer solutions to problems in a clear and concise manner.

"Audience members should be able to answer the question, 'What's in it for me?'," the pair told the group.

The 12 visitors represented local government organizations and interest groups for youths, citizen associations, and cultural programs. Included were several who had worked as journalists before assuming their current assignments. The group was visiting Georgia as part of a training program organized by the International Center for Democratic Governance (ICDG) , a unit of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. The ICDG asked the Cox Center to assist in the programming by organizing the session on public relations.

The group visited with government and advocacy group leaders in three Georgia communities: Athens, Atlanta and Dalton.

While at the Grady College, the group toured the facilities of the Journalism Building, paying particular attention to the seminar rooms, graphic laboratories and general classrooms used for teaching public relations classes.