From left to right: Translator for the program, Dr Lee Becker, Owen Ullmann, George Saghin, and Dr. Tudor Vlad.

Cox Center Joins With Moldovan NGO To Create New Journalism Academy

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox International Center at the University of Georgia, and George Saghin, director of the Association for Development and Cooperation in Moldova, signed an agreement in late May in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, to partner in the creation of an Academy for Media and Communication.

“This is going to be a non-academic educational program, with intensive courses, internships, and other educational programs for those who want to improve or to acquire new communication skills,” Saghin said at the press conference that followed the signing ceremony. “It will be open to professional journalists, students, community and citizen journalists, bloggers, government communicators and NGO workers.”

The Cox Center will bring to Moldova the expertise of Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dr. Becker told the audience. He said the Center create a curriculum that consists of a variety of offerings, including online materials, that will be taught by Moldovan and U.S. experts.

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

The Association for Development and Cooperation is a non-governmental organization created in 2010 to promote democracy in Moldova by enhancing civil society, by fostering freedom of expression and by supporting the European integration of the country.

“We have been working for two years on this project,” said Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center. “It started with several workshops where we were impressed with the huge interest of many young communicators.”

Owen Ullmann, managing editor of the print edition of USA Today, participated in the press conference. “Journalists are facing challenges all over the world,” said Ullmann.

He said that he had been impressed by the desire to learn by journalists and journalism students he had met. “I hope the Academy will be successful and I agreed to be a senior advisor in this project,” he said.

The group of U.S. experts, that also included Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, head of the Department of Telecommunications at the Grady College, earlier in the day had met with about 40 students and faculty of the School of Journalism and the School of International Relations at the State University in Chisinau.

Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, head of the Department of Telecommunications at the Grady College, and Owen Ullmann, managing editor for print, USA Today.

The discussion focused on how the changes in the media landscape due to new communication devices have affected traditional media and mass communication education.

Another dialog was organized after the press conference with journalists at Publika TV, the only 24-hour news channel in the Republic of Moldova. The host was Dumitru Tira, the director of Publika. The main topic was the changes in the work of broadcast journalists.

“We are in a new era of story telling, and we have to be ready to produce a narrative for a variety of platforms,” Dr. Hollifield told the group.

The first programs of the Academy will start in the fall 0f 2013.