Dr. E. Culpepper Clark, Dr. Nadezhda Azgikhina and Jay Smith

Leader of Russian Union of Journalists Discussed Cox Center Collaboration

Dr. Nadezhda Azgikhina, executive secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists in Moscow, visited the University of Georgia in November to identify opportunities for a collaboration between the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the journalist union in Russia.

During the visit, Dr. Azgikhina the met with administrators and professors of the Grady College and toured the facilities of the college and the university.

The focus of the discussion was the possibility that the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research would help coordinate with Russian media experts training programs for Russian journalists. Dr. Azgikhina also proposed that the Cox Center help organize professional visits of Russian journalists to U.S. media outlets.

The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

The Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) was founded in 1918 as a professional organization to protect and defend journalists' rights. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1993, RUJ was established as a national NGO devoted to journalists' rights, freedom of expression, and creative and professional development of independent journalism.

RUJ has about 100,000 members and has headquarters in all the Russian regions. According to Dr. Azgikhina t is the biggest and the most respected professional organization in Russia.

RUJ monitors the media industry, supports families of killed journalists (more than 250 in the last 15 years), initiates creative cooperation, organizes training programs, and builds partnership with international organizations.

RUJ is member of the International Federal of Journalists, a partner of UNESCO, and works with other UN agencies and international organizations devoted to media development and freedom of expression.

The Russian guest was welcomed to the University of Georgia on Nov. 7 by Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center. Dr. Azgikhina and Dr. Vlad had met in November of 2007 at a conference on press freedom in Baku, Azerbaijan, and had a preliminary discussion about a potential partnership.

Dr. Lee Becker, director of the Cox Center, gave Dr. Azgikhina an overview of the international programs of the Cox Center, with special focus on the training and research projects in East and Central Europe.

“We look forward to working with Azerbaijan and the Russian Union of Journalists,” Dr. Becker said. “We are delighted and honored that Dr. Azgikhina came to visit and shared with us information about her work and the work of the Union.”

Dr. Azgikhina met Mr. Jay Smith, former president of Cox Newspapers. Cox Newspapers invested in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza under Smith’s direction, and he said he “learned so much about the challenges of media in emerging democracies and the pressure of journalists,“ as a result of the experience.

Dr. E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the Grady College, discussed the structure and the curriculum of the college in his meeting with Dr. Azgikhina and emphasized the interest that the college has in international partnership.

Dr. Azgikhina toured the Grady College and learned from professor David Hazinski about the use of technology in broadcast teaching and training.

She had a meeting with Dr. Ann Hollifield, head of the Telecommunications Department, and discussed the status of women in U.S. and Russian media. The two also discussed WNEG, the commercial TV station that had been purchased by the university and will operate under the coordination of the Grady College.

Dr. Azgikhina also met with Dr. Kent Middleton, head of the Journalism Department, and talked about legal issues and regulations that affect the work of U.S. and Russian journalists.

During her stay at the Grady College, the Russian guest also met with Dr. Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards Program.

This visit has been very helpful for me,” Dr. Azgikhina told Drs. Becker and Vlad before her departure. “Russian journalists still feel themselves as being isolated. This is why we want to involve them in international programs and competitions.”

Dr. Nadezhda Azgikhina’s schedule in the Grady College.