Professor Mark Johnson of the Journalism Department of Grady College.

Chinese Government Officials Discuss Investigative Journalism in Cox Center Session

Twenty-five Chinese government officials discussed with Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty the tradition of investigative journalism in the United States and the role of media in combating corruption during their visit at the University of Georgia in November.

“Everything that I’m teaching focuses on original sources reporting, which is at the core of good investigative journalism,” said Professor Mark Johnson of the Journalism Department.

The Chinese government officials were from Hangzhou City of Zhejiang Province. Most of them worked for audits and supervision departments, and they came to the U.S. for a three-week training on anti-corruption practices and government accountability.

Johnson said in his career as a photojournalist, working as a reporter or as an editor, he “realized that the audience’s desire is to connect with the original information.”

Johnson said it is the responsibility of investigative journalists in the digital era to facilitate the public access to original documents and other types of information.

Professor Johnson showed to the Chinese visitors examples of effective investigative photo journalism and told them about the numerous government data bases available online to journalists and to the public.

He said that it is the journalists’ duty to present and explain those data to their audiences in a way that will make them accessible and easy to understand.

Professor David Hazinski of the Telecommunication Department gave the Chinese guests a tour of WUGA TV, a public broadcast station located in the Grady College, and of the Grady students' television facilities.

He explained the differences between public and commercial broadcast television in the U.S. and explained how the TV stations compete in U.S. media markets. Professor Hazinski also discussed with the guests the U.S. investigative television journalism.

“What I have found in my career as an investigative journalist is that somebody always knows the story, and somebody is always willing to tell the story,” Professor Hazinski told the group.

Hazinski said journalists always need multiple sources of information.

“We will not air allegations about an abuse or act of corruption without having at least one additional source that would confirm those allegations,” he told the group.

The group was welcomed to the Grady College by Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

Dr. Becker gave the group a brief description of the Grady College and the Cox Center. The Cox International Center organized the visit by the Chinese delegation.

The University of Georgia component of the program was organized by the International Center of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The Cox Center partnered with the Carl Vinson Institute on the sessions on investigative journalism, which were held on Nov. 4.

The group came to Georgia at the invitation of the Georgia House Representative Gerald Greene.