Grady student, left, Kenneth Adams, translator, and visiting journalist.

16 Journalists from French-speaking Africa Visit Grady College as Part of Murrow Program

Sixteen journalists from francophone African countries spent two days meeting with students and faculty in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in October as a part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists.

The program is a specialized International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) for emerging leaders in the field of journalism that relies for its support on a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of State, the Aspen Institute, and leading schools of journalism.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College, organized the visit to the University of Georgia, which was on Oct. 5 and 6.

Prior to the visit to the campus in Athens, the group spent three days in Atlanta. During that time, the group had meetings at CNN, the Carter Center and The Atlanta Journal Constitution and toured the Matin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. The Georgia Center for International Visitors organized that part of the visit.

The University of Georgia has consistently internationalized its programs in recent years, Dr. E Culpepper Clark told the group in his welcome address. “That doesn’t mean just sending more students in study abroad programs, but also bringing here foreign visitors.

“Your presence here is an excellent opportunity for our faculty and students to learn more about media in the countries that you represent. We are glad to have you here and the Grady College is honored to be among the journalism and mass communication schools selected to host participants in the prestigious Edward Murrow Program.”

The program designed for the African journalists in the Grady College included sessions on journalism education in the United States, journalism ethics and media coverage of health issues. The participants learned about the Peabody Awards Program, the oldest award for electronic media, hosted by the University of Georgia, and visited the UGA student newspaper, The Red & Black.

The visitors also had meetings with faculty of three units outside the Grady College: The Carl Vinson International Center, the Center for International Trade and Security and the Institute for American Studies. At the latter organization, the guests learned about African languages that are taught at the University of Georgia and about opportunities for UGA students and faculty to study or conduct research in Africa.

The African journalists engaged in a lively discussion with Grady faculty and students that focused on media in the French-speaking countries of Africa and in the United States, on US foreign policy and on coverage of African countries by US media. The observation of many visitors was that often people in the United States tend to perceive Africa as a homogenous entity, rather than to understand its extraordinary diversity.

Scott Van Alstine, program officer at the U.S. Department of State, who accompanied the visitors, said one of the goals of the program is to help Americans learn more about other countries in the world.

Before arriving in Georgia, all the 150 foreign journalists from 100 countries selected in the Murrow Program had gathered in Washington D.C.

After initial programming in Washington, D.C., the participants traveled in smaller groups for academic seminars and field activities with faculty and students at one of the partner schools of journalism. The visitors also traveled to selected American cities to gain an understanding of media coverage of state politics and government and to observe American civic life and grassroots involvement in political affairs in smaller towns.

After their trip to Georgia, the 16 journalists traveled to Phoenix, Arizona. The three-week program concluded in New York City, with visits to major media outlets and a symposium to highlight current trends and challenges facing the media in the United States and around the world.