Participants of the management workshop.

Ethiopian TV and Radio Journalists Participate in Management Workshop

The most precious resource a manager has is personnel, a group of 14 Ethiopian journalists, most from the state Ethiopian Television and Radio Agency, were told during a four-day workshop held at Unity College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 8-11 and organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

"You must manage the resources available to you," Dr. Lee B. Becker, Cox Center Director, told the journalists, most of whom were middle-level managers. "A key resource is personnel."

Dr. Becker said managers must recognize that "You cannot do all the work or make all of the decisions. As a result, you will be only as good as the people you hire, retain and manage."

The workshop, offered as an outreach program by the Journalism and Communication Department of Unity College, an independent college in Ethiopia, focused on management issues. It included presentations on organization of television newsrooms, audience analysis, promotion and marketing, and the social responsibility of broadcast journalists, as well as personnel management.

In addition to Dr. Becker, discussion leaders were Dr. Melinda Robins of Emerson College in Boston and Dr. Elizabeth Lester Roushanzamir of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College.

Drs. Becker, Robins and Roushanzamir were in Addis Ababa to work with Unity College as part of a two-year program to help Unity develop its journalism department and curriculum. The three met with Prof. Abdu Mozayen, head of the Journalism and Communication Department, and with journalism and communication faculty members Tegest Heruy and Seyoum Alemu during their time in the Ethiopian capital.

Prof. Robins and Prof. Roushanzamir will return to Unity for four weeks in the summer of 2002 to work more closely with faculty and students in the journalism department. A representative of Unity will visit the United States in August of 2002 as part of the programs. In 2003, representatives of the Grady College will be at Unity twice, and a faculty member from Unity will be in the United States for a visit as well.

The exchange between the University of Georgia and Unity College is funded in part by a USAID grant from the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development. Unity is the first independent institution of higher education in Ethiopia, offering programs in subjects such as accounting, management, marketing, secretarial science and office management, and economics, in addition to journalism. Approximately 10,500 students are on four campuses, three in Addis and the fourth in Narareth.

The workshop discussions on personnel management included a discussion on techniques for motivating journalists. "You are more likely to lead your employees to great results by focusing on their positive accomplishments than by finding fault with and punishing their negative outcomes," Dr. Becker told the workshop participants.

Twelve of those in the workshop worked for Ethiopian Television, the only television service available in Ethiopia. Another of the journalists worked for Ethiopian Radio. Both the state and radio organizations are part of the Ethiopian Television and Radio Agency, a government agency. The final member of the workshop worked as public relations officer at Unity College and as a newspaper journalist.

Workshop participants discussed criticisms of Ethiopian television and radio offered by the public, other constituent groups, and internally, and discussed ways to address them. They also participated in exercises designed to get them to try their hands at personnel management, played the role of their audience members in a mock focus group, developed a strategic plan for the future of Ethiopian television, and discussed ethical issues confronting journalists working in Ethiopia today.

Prof. Robins led the group in a discussion of the meaning of social responsibility and presented examples of ethics codes from the United States, Ghana and Nigeria.

"While top managers set overall policy, every manager can influence how social responsibility issues are applied in practice," Dr. Roushanzamir said, making clear the link between the discussion of management and social responsibility of journalists and the organizations for which they work.

Dr. Robins, a faculty member in the Department of Journalism at Emerson College, has traveled and worked extensively in Africa. She worked as a newspaper journalist and a government public information specialist before earning her doctorate in the Grady College at the University of Georgia. Her dissertation work in Tanzania was supported by the Cox Center.

Dr. Roushanzamir, also a specialist on Africa, is a member of the Advertising and Public Relations Department in the Grady College. She was part of a three-person Cox Center team that helped Unity College faculty develop student-centered instruction in a workshop in February of 2000.

The workshop with Ethiopian Television was organized by Unity College because Unity recognizes the importance of broadcast television in Ethiopia, Academic Vice President Taffesa Asfaw said in closing ceremonies at the workshop.

The dean said he was pleased to have the opportunity to organize the workshop as part of the exchange between the University of Georgia and Unity.