Dr. Lee Becker

Cox Center Director Joins with Research Colleague To Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Belgrade College Founding

Two University of Georgia professors were among the 80 academics who gathered in Belgrade in late November to help the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Belgrade celebrate its 40 years of existence.

Drs. C. Ann Hollifield and Lee B. Becker from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia joined faculty from the former states of Yugoslavia, from Europe and from the U.S. in the three-day event, which included presentations of research papers dealing with the conference theme, State and Democracy.

Drs. Becker and Hollifield summarized theoretical arguments and empirical findings of their research on the impact of media assistance on democratization and on the role of media competition in shaping press performance.

The pair argued that some of the assumptions made about media assistance are at odds with field experience and that, in particular, high levels of competition in media markets sometimes brought about by media assistance may work against high levels of professional performance.

Dr. Becker is director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia, The Cox Center participated in a three-years exchange program with the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Belgrade that ended in December of 2007. Journalism is housed in the political science unit at the University of Belgrade.

Dr. Hollifield, head of the Telecommunications Department at the University of Georgia and Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Research, participated in several phases of the three-year project, which was funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

In addition to the 80 researchers drawn from political science, economics, history and journalism and mass communication, approximately 20 students and staff from the Faculty of Political Science also attended the conference.

“It was a real honor to have been invited to participate in this event,” Dr. Becker said. “We have developed a wonderful professional and personal relationship with our colleagues at the University of Belgrade and were delighted to have had the chance to celebrate their accomplishments.”