Kate Carter gives the Mexican journalists a tour of
the Red & Black.

Mexican Journalists Discuss Media Law, Investigative Journalism During One-Day Visit to Cox Center and Grady College

U.S. Media law has traditionally provided strong support for free speech, Dr. William Lee, an expert on First Amendment law and a professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication told three Mexican journalists visiting the College in April.

"The government sometimes tries to limit information access to journalists," Dr. William Lee said, "but all U.S. media law is structured to protect free speech." Dr. Lee, who has written extensively about free speech issues, is a professor in the Department of Telecommunications in the Grady College.

Freedom of speech and of the press is guaranteed to U.S. citizens through the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The one-day program for the three Mexican journalists was organized by the James M. Cox, Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College. It included not only the discussion of free speech issues, but also of investigative journalism as practiced in the United States. Dr. Hugh Martin, a professor in the Department of Journalism in the Grady College led that discussion.

The visiting journalists were: Miguel Epifanio Campoy Burboa, anchorman for Televisa's Channel 12 in Hermosillo, Sonora; Hector Moreno Valencia, western region director for Notimex in Guadalajara; and Martin Leonardo Sifuentes Martinez, news director and reporter for Televisa Noreste Channel 7 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

The journalists' visit was arranged by the United States Department of State's International Visitor Program. The Georgia portion of their trip was handled by the Georgia Council for International Visitors. Their visit also included stops in Washington, Rochester, Portland, Oregon, and Pittsburgh.

Dr. Martin discussed the practice of investigative and civic journalism with the Mexican guests. "In my opinion, investigative journalism is not as much a matter of money as it is of finding interesting story ideas for investigative reporting," he told the Mexican journalists. "A good editor or news director will see the value of such a story and will provide time and resources to the reporter."

The Mexican journalists received a tour of the Grady College from Diane Murray, public service outreach director of the College. At the end of the session, the journalists toured the Red and Black, the University of Georgia's student-run newspaper. They were accompanied by Kate Carter, the newspaper's editorial adviser, and had a meeting with publisher Harry Montevideo.

The journalists were particularly interested in the legal structure of the Red and Black newspaper, which is a non-profit organization. It is not funded by the University and operates independently.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, Cox Center assistant director, gave the visitors an overview of journalism education in the United States at the beginning of their visit. "We tend to educate journalism students more broadly in the United States," Dr. Vlad explained, "whereas in other nations, it's customary to train journalism students toward a specialization area, such as business."

The April 22 visit to the Grady College was the last stop on the program for the Mexican journalists. They returned to Mexico the next day.