Cox Center Associate Director Vlad Discusses Media Development Research at New York Conference

Dr. Tudor Vlad from the University of Georgia called on donors, implementers and researchers to work collaboratively at a conference on media assistance held in New York in late January.

“We have to see our areas of activity as complementary,” Dr. Vlad, associate director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, said. “We have to learn more about what others are doing and how their expertise can be useful to us.”

Vlad said that “Media assistance implementers know well what international programs are in place and how they are designed, but they also need good evaluations of the impact of these programs."

“Having a broad picture of the international media development programs and of their impact would be very useful to the donors,” he added.

The conference was organized by the Open Society Institute, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Salzburg Global Seminar, and the Global Forum for Media Development.

The meeting was an extension of the Strengthening Independent Media Initiative (SIM) organized by the Salzburg Global Seminar. Through that initiative, donors agreed that there is a need for a better-coordinated research agenda to examine the role of independent media in building civil society and in accomplishing a wide range of other development goals.

The donors decided to form a research working group to advance this agenda and find ways to communicate research results more effectively to policymakers, donors and program implementers.

The January conference, held on Jan. 25, explored how research is being used in program design and policy analysis. Among the topics covered at the conference were: new trends in media research, media’s role in advancing development goals, donor perspectives on media research, the impact on research in a rapidly changing media ecology, gaps in knowledge and methodology, promising lines of future inquiry, and opportunities for future collaboration .

The moderators of the discussions were Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists, Marguerite Sullivan, senior director of the Center for International Media Assistance, Monroe Price, director of the Anneberg Center for Global Communication Studies, Karen Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute, and Stephen Salyer, president of the Salzburg Global Seminar.

Dr. Vlad, representing the Cox Center at the invitation-only gathering, gave a presentation of recent research of the Center on media markets in developing countries and on the use of media freedom and sustainability indicators in the assessment of international media systems.

Other panelists in that session were Peter Goldstein, director of communications and digital media at InterMedia, Sina Odugbeni, program head at the World Bank, and Gerry Power, director of the Research and Learning Group at the BBC World Service Trust.

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