Johannes Boie.

German Journalist Learns about the Effects of Digitalization on the American Society during Visit to the University of Georgia

German journalist Johannes Boie spent five days at the University of Georgia in April learning about the impact of digitalization on the American media and society and about monitoring programs of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Boie is a reporter for the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading national dailies.

Grady College students had an opportunity to meet with the German guest and talk about a variety of topics in Dr. Lee B. Becker’s writing and reporting class. Dr. Becker is the director of the Cox International Center.

Dr. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, spoke with the German journalist about the state of surveillance and privacy in the United States and about NSA.

He also made reference to how former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s status in Russia influences America's and Europe's stand on the crisis in Ukraine. Dr. Johnson is an expert on national security issues.

Boie’s program in Athens, organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, was part of the three-month fellowship, Transatlantic Media Network, coordinated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The Cox International Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The Cox International Center partnered with CSIS for the visit.

Boie discussed gun control in Georgia with Tim Bryant, news director of Cox Media Group, Bryant told Boie that gun control is a very complex issue in the state of Georgia. “Many people think that it is their duty to protect their families,” he said, “and that the police will usually intervene after an event."

“Our magazine focuses entirely on Athens,” Pete McCommons, editor and publisher of weekly Flagpole, told Boie in a conversation at the magazine. “The city’s cultural life is rich, and some people who don’t live here anymore go to our web site to find out what’s going on here.”

Boie visited the Center for International Trade and Security and had a meeting with Dr. William Keller, director of the unit. CITS promotes peace and prosperity through programs that focus on the protection of nuclear, chemical, and biological materials. CITZ also works on the prevention of nuclear trafficking and denuclearization, chemical security, and the mitigation of threats posed by trade in technologies and materials that underlie weapons of mass destruction.

The German reporter also had meetings with Dr. Ann Hollifield, head of the Telecommunications Department, Dr. Joe Phua of the Advertising Department, Professor David Hazinski of the Telecommunication Department, Professor Mark Johnson of the Journalism Department, and Dr. Itai Himelboim of the Telecommunications Department.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, talked with Boie about the Center's international projects. Dr. Vlad took the guest to a luncheon of the Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens. Vlad is a member of the club.

Boie covers the impact of digital technology on society, politics, and the economy, and he helped develop digital versions of his newspaper for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows 8. He was previously a freelance writer for Jüdische Allgemeine and the website of Der Spiegel. In 2010 he was named one of the top 30 German journalists under 30 by Medium Magazin.

According to Boie, the effect of the economic crisis on German media is different from the one in the United States. Most private news outlets do not have shareholders in Germany. Public media do not need to be successful in competition. “In Germany, every household has to pay for public television, even if there is no TV set in that house,” he said.

After his departure from Athens, Boie was to visit Savannah. Among the next destinations of his fellowship in the United States were the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., the University of Ohio in Athens, Ohio, and Stanford University in California.