Ronald Kayanja (Uganda) and Nino Danelia (Georgia) work on a group project.

Cox Team Lectures at Short Course for Students At Central European University in Budapest

Experts from the University of Georgia spent a week in Budapest in late June and early July helping graduate students from around the globe understand research methods that can be used to evaluate media assistance projects in their countries.

The course, held at the Central European University, was organized by the Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications and CEU’s Center for Media and Communication Studies.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia collaborated on development of the course. The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, and Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center, gave a series of lectures on social science-based evaluation methodologies and provided examples from their own research looking at the impact of various types of journalistic training programs both in the United States and elsewhere.

The team also summarized research they have just completed on measures of media freedom conducted by Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) on media freedom and sustainability. Drs. Becker and Vlad had presented the findings of that research at a scientific conference at the Central European University that preceded the short course.

The three-week course included a second week during which the students did fieldwork in either Romania or Serbia. Dr. Vlad led the study team to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where he had worked as a journalist and developed a journalism department at Babes-Bolyai University before coming to the United States as a Fulbright Senior Scholar 10 years ago.

The 26 students in the class came from 19 different countries. The represented countries were: Armenia, Bengladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, El Salvador, Georgia, Hungary, India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Palestine, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, U.S., Uganda and Ukraine.

While many are currently enrolled in university graduate programs, others are working at research and training organizations, nongovernmental organizations and in journalism. Many of those working elsewhere worked as journalists at some point in their careers.

During the first week of the course, the students also heard lectures from faculty members at Central European University, the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics and Temple University in the United States.

They also visited the Center for Independent Journalism in Budapest, where they learned about that center and about the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media, of which the Budapest center is a part.

Dr. Monroe Price, director of the Center for Global Media Studies at Annenberg, welcomed the students to the program, which began on June 29. Price, along with Dr. Vlad, Susan Abbott, from Annenberg, and Dr. Kate Coyer from CEU, served as course directors for the summer short course.

All emphasized to the participants at various times during the course that donors to media assistance initiatives around the world are increasingly insistent that evaluations of the impact of the programs be incorporated into proposals and requests for renewal of funding.

Dr. Becker said that social science research can be used for assessment of the needs for programs that should be done before programs are designed, for assessment of the process of implementation of the programs and assessment of the program’s impact.

The field trips to Romania and Serbia were designed to give the students a chance to do some pilot interviews and observations in those countries with people who had participated in media assistance projects.