Sasa Mirkovic from B-92 with Prof. Brenda Wright.

Serbian and U.S. Educators Discuss Media Management During Three-Day Workshop at University of Belgrade

Serbian and U.S. educators and media professionals engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the role of media management instruction in journalism and mass communication education during a three-day workshop at the University of Belgrade in May.

The participants reached no specific agreement on the issues at hand, though many argued that students planning to enter a commercial media workplace need to know how the media are managed, even if they never intend to be managers themselves.

The participants also stated that courses in media management need to reflect the specific nature of the media system. A media management curriculum that operates in the United States today cannot be transferred wholesale to the Serbian context.

“The environment of the media is in constant turmoil,” Branimir Stojkovic, a journalism professor at the University of Belgrade, said. He emphasized that for the media to survive they “must have a goal, must have direction.”

Owen Ullmann, deputy managing editor for news at USAToday, said that in the United States the “newspapers that have done best have invested the old fashioned way in better journalism.”

“Part of studying management is learning how to be an employee,” Greg Pitts, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Bradley University, told the group.

Dr. Branimir Stojkovic with Dr. Tudor vlad in background.

“We must know that the transition here is just in the early stage,” said Rade Veljanovski from the University of Belgrade, who teaches in the broadcast journalism area. Veljanovski said Serbian educators should learn from their international partners what kinds of management skills are needed in a commercial market.

“I believe people management is essential to all of us,” said Ana Milojevic, a graduate student teaching in the journalism program at the University of Belgrade.

Approximately 20 persons participated in the discussion on each of the three days of the workshop. Representatives of the journalism department and of the College of Political Science, in which the journalism program is housed, were joined by media professionals for the discussions.

The U.S. team consisted of Ullmann and Pitts, who was serving as a Fulbright Professor in Montenegro at the time, Brenda Wright, an assistant professor in the Division of Communication Arts at Clark Atlanta University, and Dr. C. Ann Hollifield from the Department of Telecommunications at the University of Georgia.

The workshop was a key component of a three-year program involving the University of Belgrade, Clark Atlanta University and the University of Georgia. The project is supported by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, assembled the U.S. team for the May workshop.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, assistant director of the Cox Center, and Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, participated in the discussions at the workshop, which ran from May 10 to 12.

Following each of workshop discussions, the team visited media outlets in Belgrade.

Drs. Hollifield and Becker also gave lectures to individual classes at the University of Belgrade prior to the workshop. Dr. Hollifield talked about research on media economics. Dr. Becker talked about the role of the media in shaping U.S. public opinion about the war in Iraq.

Following the workshop, Drs. Hollifield and Becker traveled to the University of Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia to discuss possible collaboration between the Grady College and the newly created journalism program there.

Drs. Hollifield and Becker were hosted by Ante Katavic, in charge of international exchanges for the newest university in Croatia, and Dr. Stjepan Malovic, head of Department of Mass Communication.

During the two days of discussions, the four discussed student and faculty exchanges as well as collaboration on future research and teaching projects.