Dr. Becker, Dr. Vlad and Shekhar Raj Bastakoti
outside of the Cox Center.

Cox Center Hosts Nepalese Expert For Three-Week Study Visit

Shekhar Raj Bastakoti, director of the Triveni Academy in Pokhara, Nepal, spent three weeks in September in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication learning about American journalism and mass communication education and about U.S. media.

The program was organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, the director of the Cox Center, first met Bastakoti in the summer of 2002 at a conference in Spokane, Washington, organized by the Center for Global Media Studies at Washington State University. Dr. Becker is a member of the executive board of the Center. Bastakoti participated in the scientific discussions at that conference.

Bastakoti wanted to visit the Cox Center and the University of Georgia to get ideas to use in developing the first academic journalism program in Nepal, at the Triveni Academy.

"There is no tradition in teaching journalism in my country, but now it is a crucial time to develop higher professional standards in our media," he said. "The Nepalese people need accurate and objective information, and the journalists must understand their role in the society."

Dr. Tudor Vlad, assistant director of the Cox Center, helped Bastakoti to develop a first draft of a four-year curriculum.

"We examined the curriculum of the Grady College, but we had in mind the limited resources that Shekhar will have in his academy," said Dr. Vlad. "Consequently, we also used the curriculum of the journalism program that I established in Romania after the fall of communism as a model."

Shekhar Raj Bastakoti at the UGA
international students meeting.

During his stay in Georgia, Bastakoti observed several Grady College classes, including journalism ethics, broadcast management, and media research methods. He also observed the post-Communism issues class being taught in the international relations department.

Dr. Bastakoti traveled with Dr. Vlad to Piedmont College, in Demorest, GA, where he participated in a media theory class taught by Dr. Dale Van Cantfort. During that session, discussion focused on international media.

Dr. W. Ray Cleere, Piedmont College President, met Bastakoti and informed him that the college had hosted Nepalese students in the past. "We should renew this relationship," Bastakoti said.

Bastakoti visited The Red and Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, where he met Harry Montevideo, publisher of paper, and Kate Carter, editorial adviser. He also observed the Friday afternoon budget meeting of the Athens Banner-Herald, the commercial paper in Athens, and toured the newsroom.

Bastakoti also visited WUGA, the university of Georgia public radion station, and WUOG, the UGA student radio station. He also observed the operation of Southern Broadcasting, a local radio station ownere. At Southern Broadcasting he discussed the status of journalists in Nepal with news director Tim Bryant.

Shekhar Raj Bastakoti and Kornelia
Probst-Mackowiak in front of the Grady College.

"Whenever I meet international journalists coming from emerging democracies, I am surprised to see how many rights we are taking for granted here in the United States," Bryant said. Bryant subsequently donated computers and tapes to the journalism program of the Triveni Academy.

"Our journalism program needs the Cox Center's expertise and prestige," Bastakoti said. "We would like to develop a long-term relationship with the Grady College, and we hope the Cox Center will agree to participate in a workshop in Nepal next year."

Shekhar Raj Bastakoti is also the director of the Center for Global Research in Katmandu. He said he would like to identify topics for joint research projects with the Cox Center.

"Being here, in the Cox Center of the University of Georgia has been a great learning experience," he said. "I hope it is only the first step of a continuous collaboration."