Three Broadcast Journalists from Germany Meet Students, Faculty, Media Professionals

In 10 days, the three German broadcast journalists got a snapshot of Georgia.

They led classroom discussions in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, answered questions from students, and posed questions of their own.

They met faculty, toured the university campus, and explored the city of Athens.

They visited CNN, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, and other sites in Atlanta.

They traveled to Washington and Madison, two small Georgia cities with large mansions representing life in the state in the turbulent years of the 19th Century.

The program was organized by the Cox Center as part of an ongoing exchange with the RIAS Kommission Berlin. Four broadcast journalists visited UGA in October and November of 1999 as part of the program, and one UGA doctoral student and two UGA faculty have visited Germany as part of the exchange.

The three visiting journalists were: Babette Hartmann, a television journalist with Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk in Dresden, Clas Oliver Richter, a television journalist with Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, and Silke Sakobielski, a television journalist with ZDF working out of Cologne.

The three arrived in Georgia on October 24 after each had spent approximately a week with a television station as a visiting professional. Hartman was in Odessa, Texas, while Richter worked at CNN in Los Angeles, and Sakobielski was in York, Pennsylvania. The group also visited Washington at the beginning of the month-long program and New York at the end.

The RIAS program is operated in collaboration with the Radio Television News Directors Association. Three other U.S. universities, Bringham Young University, Ohio University and the University of Massachusetts, also hosted the German journalists - 13 in all - participating in the Autumn 2000 program.

The three UGA visitors were welcomed to the Grady College by Cox Center Director, Dr. Lee B. Becker, Dr. Tudor Vlad, visiting research scientist in the Center, and Kornelia Probst-Mackowiak, Cox Center program coordinator, who arranged program details.

Among the classes visited by the journalists were those dealing with electronic news gathering and production, media program management, and public affairs reporting. They also answered questions about their experiences as journalists in Germany in a large introductory-level class on telecommunications and discussed their professional interests in an informal setting with graduate students.

Their campus tour included stops at the library, where they learned about the Peabody Awards archives, and of the Peabody Awards facilities themselves, which are housed in the Grady College. The Grady College administers the Peabody Awards program. Hartmann, Richter and Sakobielski also visited the student daily, the Red & Black, where they talked with students involved in the operation of the independent publication.

In Atlanta, the group was given an extensive, specially-tailored tour of the CNN operations. They also participated in a live program, Talkback Live, which dealt with the possibility of legalization of drug use in the United States.

As part of the Atlanta visit the three met with Keith Graham, international editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and toured the paper's newsroom. Reporter Jennifer Leslie of WXIA-TV hosted the group at her station, an NBC affiliate, where the journalists also toured the facilities and talked with Leslie about an investigative story she was working on at the time. Leslie visited Germany in the autumn of 2000 as part of the RIAS exchange program.

At the King Center, the trio visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King preached, and saw Dr. King's childhood home.

"RIAS sent us three energetic, fascinating, exciting professional journalists," Dr. Becker said. "It was a pleasure to host them, get to know them, and show them something of Georgia. We hope we can remain in contact with them as they progress through their careers. And we look forward to continued collaboration with RIAS."