Central European University, Budapest.

Becker, Vlad Will Serve as Professors For Central European University Course

The director and the associate director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia will be two of the three core professors for a summer course at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, in July of 2009.

The course, titled Media, Democratization and Development: Foundations for a More Robust Research Agenda, is being organized by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at the Central European University.

Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker’s and Associate Director Dr. Tudor Vlad will lead discussions on journalism and mass communication research methods and assessment of international media assistance programs.

The intensive summer school course is designed to help early-stage researchers gain an understanding of the history, theory, practice, and current trends in the media development sector. The program builds on the collaboration between Annenberg, CEU, and the Cox Center, as well as forms new ties with the BBC World Service Trust and the World Bank’s Communication for Governance and Accountability Program (CommGAP).

The offering also will benefit from the regional knowledge input of the Budapest-based South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM).

The course will be run as a “master class.” Through lectures and discussion, students will have access to varied perspectives that speak to historical and current trends of theory, research and practice and provide a foundational understanding of the dynamics of the media development field.

To maximize the opportunities for interaction with instructors and mentors, the course will be small in size, with a maximum of 25 students.

The two and a half week course will provide an overview and critical reflection of various theories (largely drawing from communication, political science, and development studies) that have informed and played a part in media development and democracy, civil society and governance assistance.

It also will offer an intensive overview of research methods that could be used for conducting research on and about media development and provide an opportunity for students to take part in a mentored field work experience. Students will write a comparative report based on their research.

The participants also will carry out fieldwork in Romania, Croatia and Serbia.

“The purpose of the field-work component is to provide a valuable, stimulating and thought-provoking opportunity for young researchers to gain first-hand experience in conducting original research in the field,” Dr. Vlad said.

“Participants will gain insight in the importance of how to design research and will augment their skills in conducting fieldwork,” Dr. Vlad continued. Dr. Vlad will lead the group that will travel to Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The fieldwork component will focus on the issue of the impact of international media assistance programs, a topic of significant relevance and interest to the post-communist media development story of Central and Eastern Europe, according to Dr. Vlad. “Some of these training programs have affected the development of the region’s media and media policies and provide an interesting backdrop and narrative for the understanding of post-communist media development as well as politics within the region,” he said.

Although the focus in this program is on Central and Eastern Europe, the skills gained and lessons learned will be transferable to other regions.

The course will begin on June 29 and continue through July 15. Other instructors are: Monroe Price (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania), Nicole Stremlau (Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research, London), Miklos Sükosd (CEU, Department of Political Science), Arne Hintz (CEU, Center for Media and Communication Studies), Tom Jacobson (Temple University, Gerry Power (BBC World Service Trust), and Sandor Orban (South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM).

During their stay in Budapest, the Cox Center researchers also will participate in the International Communication Association (ICA) conference Beyond East and West: Two Decades of Media Transformation after the Fall of Communism. They will coordinate the section on Reviewing International Media Assistance Programs.

The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Click here for more information and application forms for the summer course in Budapest, Hungary.