Dr Lee Becker touring the facility of Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing.

Cox Center Director Gives Lectures in Hong Kong and Beijing, Discusses Collaboration

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox International Center at the University of Georgia, spent 11 days in Hong Kong and Beijing in June talking about research projects in the Center and discussing possible collaborative programs with universities in the two cities.

At Hong Kong University Dr. Becker gave a lecture to 30 doctoral students in the Department of Media and Communication on measurement issues associated with the study of media freedom.

The study of media freedom at the level of the nation has a long history in the field of journalism and mass communication, Dr. Becker told the students, with the first empirical work on the topic undertaken by scholars at the University of Minnesota in the early 1960s.

More recently, scholars, government officials, foundations and media freedom advocates have relied on indicators of media freedom produced by Freedom House and IREX in the United Sates and Reporters Without Borders in France.

Dr. Becker, Cox Center Associate Director Dr. Tudor Vlad, and students in the Cox Center have been evaluating those indicators in a program of research that is nearly 10 years old.

"I was skeptical of the value of the indicators when I started the work," Dr. Becker said. Over time, however, he said he has come to conclude that the indicators tell a great deal about the media systems of the countries and can be used by scholars and others interested in understanding the determinants of media freedom and its consequences.

Dr. Becker gave the same lecture to graduate students at the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. About 15 graduate students of the College of Culture and Communication attended.

In a second lecture to faculty in the College, Dr. Becker reviewed a program of research he has directed for more than 20 years looking at journalism and mass communication education in the United States and the labor market for graduates of those programs.

Dr Lee Becker and Jiran Hou in Beijing at Capital University of Economics and Business where Dr. Becker is giving lecture.

Dr. Becker told the faculty that students in the United States have had difficulty finding work in the very weak economy and would be surprised by the strong market for students with those skills in China.

In Hong Kong, Dr. Becker also visited the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hong Kong University. At all three universities, he discussed opportunities for faculty and student exchanges and for research collaboration.

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