Golden Horn, near conference site, Kadir Has University.

Cox Center Researchers Summarize Research Programs at Meeting in Istanbul

Researchers in the Cox International Center at the University of Georgia presented three scientific reports at the International Association for Media and Communication Research in Istanbul, Turkey, in July, summarizing findings from two separate research projects underway in the Center.

The researchers found that countries around the world with high levels of press freedom are more likely to be successful exporters of print media products than countries with lower levels of press freedom and that the public recognizes constraints on press freedom in their countries.

These findings were the topics of the first two papers presented. Each drew on programmatic research in the Cox Center examining the indicators of press freedom widely used by government and nongovernmental agencies as well as academics to monitor press freedom around the world.

The third paper was based on the continuing research in the Center examining journalism education and the labor market for graduates of university programs for journalists and other professional communicators.

The researchers reported that journalism programs have been slow to adapt to changes in the labor market but that changes are taking place. Large programs are more likely to have difficulty adapting than smaller ones, and programs that submit to formal accreditation standards have been less innovative than those that have not.

The first paper, written by Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, a professor in the Department of Telecommunications at the University of Georgia, Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center, and Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, looked at predictors of success among countries in producing media for export.

The trio found that whether the country had a free press was a better predictor of market success than was whether the country had signed international copyright agreements, that is, whether it offered its authors international copyright protection.

The paper was an extension of earlier work by the three researchers on the consequences of copyright.

Using data the Gallup World Poll, Gallup researcher Cynthia English, Dr. Becker and Dr. Vlad were able to show that the general public has a good sense of the level of press freedom in their country.

Countries rated as having a free media system by such organizations as Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders also are countries where the people feel they have a free press, the researchers found.

Drs. Becker and Vlad have been critically assessing the commonly used press freedom indicators for nearly 10 years, and this paper was another in the series of reports they have produced on the topic.

Dr. Wilson Lowrey of the University of Alabama joined Drs. Becker and Vlad on the third paper, which looked at predictors of innovation among journalism and mass communication programs in the U.S.

The three researchers found that journalism and mass communication programs have begun to change their curricular offerings to reflect the requirement that journalists today must be able to work across delivery platforms.

They also found that these programs have had difficult abandoning the structures that have been in place reflecting the historically different needs of the print and broadcast media.

Programs that are accredited by the accrediting organization in the field, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, have been less likely to converge their curriculums to reflect common skills sets than have been other programs.

The researchers relied on data gathered as part of the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication, housed in the Cox Center and used extensively in the Center's international outreach work.

The Bosphorus, separating Europe and Asia.

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

The IAMCR conference was held from July 13 to 17 at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

Approximately 1,500 researchers and other communication professionals, representing more than 100 countries, attended the meeting.