A Chinese media manager at a session.

Eighteen Broadcast Managers for China' Sichuan Province Participate in Cox Center Two-Week Training Program

Eighteen broadcast managers and government officials from Sichuan Province, China, spent 11 days in Georgia in November, in a training program designed and coordinated by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

The topics of the workshop included managerial skills to operate modern broadcast companies, trends in American broadcasting, marketing skills, leadership, budgeting and human resources. The members of the delegation also visited broadcast media organizations in Atlanta, Macon and Athens, where they discussed how a television or radio station is run in the type of commercial media market now emerging in China.

The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and developed the program at the request of the government and media officials of Sichuan Province.

The program began when the guests were welcomed to the Grady College by Dr. E. Culpepper Clark, dean, and Drs. Lee B. Becker and Tudor Vlad, director and assistant director of the Cox Center.

“It is an honor and a pleasure for us to host you here,” Dr. Clark said. “I hope you will find the program useful to you and your media organizations and that our faculty and students will benefit from talking with you and learning about your culture and your media system.”

A Chinese media managers at a session.

Telecommunications professors Michael Castangera, David Hazinski, Ann Hollifield, and Stephen Smith were the instructors of most of the sessions.

“It is inevitable that the Chinese media will become more competitive,” Dr. Hollifield told the group. “The emergence of new technologies will fragment the audience and China’s entrance into the WTO (World Trade Organization) will open the media markets even more to foreign products, so Chinese media executives will find themselves facing the same challenges that we have.”

“The U.S. broadcast universe comprises more than 220 markets, with at least two and as many as five television stations producing news content in a market,” Professor Castangera said. In addition, many markets have local cable news operations in addition to national cable news operations.” A lot of interaction and reaction takes place among the stations, he said. other.”

Professor Hazinski coordinated a hands-on program where managers, working in teams of two, shot and edited video using DV cameras and digital nonlinear desktop editing. The objective of the program was to give the Chinese participants a basic level knowledge of technology systems design so they can be part of decision-making.

The Chinese broadcast managers worked together with Professor Stephen Smith to identify and find solutions to their main challenges they are facing in their media organizations.

Drs. Becker and Vlad conducted a session on the media system and the journalism job market in the United States. “Our research has shown that the U.S. journalistic labor market is characterized by entry-level hiring done almost exclusively by smaller organizations,” Dr. Becker said. “Journalists usually reach larger media organizations only after they have served several years in smaller ones. These patterns of employment have remained relatively stable across time.”

The Chinese group also had a meeting with Dr. Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards Program. This program, begun in 1940, is administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“I have just returned from a trip to your country,” Dr. Newcomb told the broadcast managers, “and I was impressed by the variety of your media. I hope this year the Peabody Awards Program will receive many applications from China.”

“This is very useful to us,” said Wang Hong Xin, director of the Foreign Affairs Office on the Sichuan Broadcasting Group. “ We will let our colleagues know about the awards. We produce many materials that could participate in the competition.”

The Chinese journalists presented a video demonstration of TV programs produced by the Sichuan Television to help Grady faculty and students learn about their work and their region. About 87 million people live in the Sichuan Province.

Susanna Capelouto, news director of GPB Radio, gave the Chinese delegation a tour of the Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. She also held a session on audio story telling.

Other media organizations visited by the guests were WMAZ TV in Macon, Southern Broadcasting radio in Athens, and, in Atlanta, WSB Radio and WSB Television, Cox Enterprises and CNN. The Chinese journalists also visited the Atlanta Zoo, where they had conversations with the researches and caretakers for the Giant Panda bears. The Giant Pandas were sent from the Sichuan Province to the State of Georgia as a long-term research loan.

“We enjoyed very much our program here at the University of Georgia and we hope this is only the beginning of a long-term collaboration,” said Liu Wenshu, vice general director of the Sichuan Radio, Film & TV Bureau. “I think we’ve learned some very important things.”

Liu said that his group learned “that consolidation brings not only advantages, but also major risks.” The group also learned that the more expensive is not necessarily “the best solution.”

Liu said the participants also learned that, although “our media system and the U.S. one are not similar, common issues and challenges are more frequent than differences, and we can all learn from each other.”

The interpreter for the entire program was Jun Xu, who recently completed her master’s degree from the Grady College with a specialization in telecommunications.

“Having you here as guests has been a pleasure and a privilege to us,” Dr. Vlad said during the closing session. “We see all our Cox Center programs as true exchanges, and our faculty and students have had the opportunity to improve their knowledge about Chinese media while you have been here in the Grady College. Always the first meeting is the most difficult in a professional relationship, but I think that we have created the premises for a mutually advantageous collaboration.”