Moroccan Journalists standing outside Grady College School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Moroccan Journalists Discuss the Future of Media and Journalism Education during visit

Four journalists from Morocco discussed with Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty the impact of new media on traditional media systems and on journalism and mass communication education during their visit at the University of Georgia in July.

The four were welcomed by Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, who gave the group a description of the University of Georgia and of the Grady College. The Cox International Center organized the visit by the Moroccans.

Professor Michael Castangera of the Telecommunication Department gave the Moroccans a tour of WUGA TV, a public broadcast station located in the Grady College, and of the Grady students' television facilities. He also discussed with the guests the U.S. television markets.

"All is based on ratings, and there are several ways that are employed to measure the audiences in this country, but none of them is perfect," professor Castangera said.

"I have seen in your bios that some of you work in online journalism, so you know a lot about the transition from traditional print media," Dr. Janice Hume, professor in the Journalism Department, told the visitors.

She reviewed with the journalists how magazines in the U.S. are increasingly using tablet devices as a way of reaching their readers.

In addition to meetings with professors Hume and Castangera, the visiting journalists also had sessions with Dr. Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards program, and with Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Alison Alexander.

Dr. Newcomb told the visitors that the Peabody Awards board is interested in having more international application and asked them to promote the program in their part of the world.

"Our main criterion when we judge the applications is excellence. It can be in visual quality, in content, in importance for the community," he said. "It can be a long TV series or a short documentary, a program for children or breaking news. What we ant to assess is how that product brings something special, something unique."

Dr. Alexander told the Moroccan visitors that Grady is undergoing review as part of the reaccreditation process by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

"Accreditation is not madatory for all journalism and mass communication in the country, but historically it has brought legitimacy and good reputation to those schools who decided to be evaluated through this process," she said.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox International Center, made a presentation of the job media market and of the challenges of restructuring the journalism and mass communication curricula to respond to the dramatic changes in the industry.

Dr. Vlad told the visitors about the Cox Center international programs.

"Many long-term collaborations started with visits like the one you are having today," he said. "The first important step is to know each other and to identify issues and topics of mutual interest."

Following the sessions at the Grady College, the Moroccan journalists visited the UGA student newspaper The Red & Black and met with publisher Harry Montevideo.

The visit by the journalists was a component of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange initiative of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The visitors were participating in a program called "print and Online Media."

The goals of the program were to enable visitors to examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democratic society, to observe operational practices, standards, and institutions of the media in the U.S., to explore the respective roles of print and online media outlets in disseminating news and information, and to visit journalism schools and media associations in the U.S. to discuss current professional development programs and training techniques.

The program in Georgia was organized by the Georgia Center for International Visitors, and the University of Georgia visit on July 5 was coordinated by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

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

The visitors were: Mr. Mounir El Ktaoui, journalist, Al Watan Al An Newspaper; Mr. Mustafa Al Ourdi, director, E-Journal; Mr. Anwar Lakhal, founder and editor-in-chief, Fez Times; and Mr. Yoniss Saad-Elami, journalist, Eco Medias Group.

Before visiting Athens and Atlanta, the delegation spent time in Washington D.C. After their program in Georgia, the group was to stop in Portland, Oregon, Kalamazoo, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois, before returning home to Morocco.