Dr. Lee B. Becker and undergraduate students, Hannover, Germany.

Cox International Center Director Teaches Two Courses at German Institute

Cox International Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker returned in June to an institute in Germany where he has taught twice before to deliver two short courses, one focusing on his research on measurement of media freedom and the other an overview of the changing landscape for journalism in the United States.

The course on measurement of press freedom in countries around the world was a graduate seminar attended by 12 students. The course on journalism in the U.S. was at the undergraduate level and was attended by 32 students.

The courses were part of a specially-arranged compact summer session in the Institute for Journalistic and Communication Research at the University of Music, Drama and Media Hannover.

Dr. Becker taught at the same institute in the spring of 1986 and during the academic year 1991-1992.

Dr. Becker was joined in the June summer session by Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, head of the Telecommunications Department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research is the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Hollifield, Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Research and an expert on media management and economics, taught a course on challenges in handling digital media at the undergraduate level and a graduate seminar on managing media in a hypercompetitive environment.

Dr. Becker and Dr. Hollifield, who are married, were invited to Hannover to increase the international offerings of the Institute.

In the undergraduate seminar, Dr. Becker created a series of exercises to get the German students to examine the challenges to journalism in the U.S. today and ask whether these changes are likely to be experienced in Germany in the near future.

Dr. Lee B. Becker with Graduate Students, Hannover, Germany.

In the graduate course, Dr. Becker discussed the research he and others in the Cox Center have done on the strengths and weaknesses of existing measures of media freedom in countries around the world.

He then worked with the students to develop appropriate measures of corruption in nation states around the world and to examine the relationship between corruption and media freedom. The research by the students replicated earlier findings of relationship between media freedom and corruption.

Those countries with higher levels of media freedom are less likely to be rated as corrupt.

"It was wonderful to return to Hannover and to once again have the chance to interact with German students," Dr. Becker said. "I was impressed with both the undergraduate and the graduate students and enjoyed the time I was able to spend with them."

Each class met for two hours twice each week. Students in the graduate seminar produced a single research paper. Undergraduate students worked in teams of four to organize and present their arguments about the future of journalism in Germany.

Dr. Teresa Naab, a faculty member in the Institute, joined Dr. Becker in the graduate seminar. Dr. Naab also is an expert on media freedom research.