2013 Edward R Murrow Fellows and U.S. Department of State representative and interpreters with Dean of Grady College and Director and Associate Director of Cox International Center.

Ten French-Speaking Journalists visit Georgia as Murrow Fellows

Ten journalists from French-speaking countries came to the United States in October and November to learn about the impact of new technologies on the U.S. media industry and mass communication education and about journalism ethics in American media organizations.

The program in Atlanta and Athens was organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research and included discussions with students and faculty of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, of which the Cox International Center is a part.

The journalists were in the state of Georgia as part of the Edward R. Murrow program for Journalists.

In Atlanta, the journalists visited The Atlanta Journal Constitution and observed the morning budget meeting. Top newsroom managers who participated in the meeting were: Kevin Riley, editor; Cynthia Dubose, ajc.com editor; Rick Hancock, MyAJC.com editor; Tracy Brown, Page one editor; and Shawn McIntosh, deputy managing editor, investigations.

In the last part of the meeting, each of the editors responded to questions coming from the visitors.

At CNN, the group was welcomed by Richard Griffiths, vice president and senior editorial director, who gave the guests a tour of the newsrooms and then talked about broadcast news ethics.

“Most of my job is to prevent errors in the news or to deal with them and clean the room,” said Griffiths. “I hate to make corrections, but I hate something even more: to make corrections to corrections.”

The vice president explained the flow of information at CNN and CNN International and used the live coverage of the ongoing story of the shooting at the Los Angeles Airport to illustrate the process.

“We are honored that you are here with our students and faculty,” Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College, told the visitors. “It is always a learning experience for us listening to the challenges that you are facing sometimes doing your job, and we admire your work very much.

Dr. Davis said “We are glad that Grady and the University of Georgia have been selected by the U.S. Department of State for the fifth consecutive year to host Murrow Fellows.”

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox International Center, told the group that journalism and mass communication education is changing to reflect the major changes in the media landscape in the U.S.

Dr. Becker shared with the guests some of the findings of surveys conducted in the Cox International Center, pointing out that graduates with a specialization in public relations have been more successful in finding jobs in communication than their colleagues in print and broadcasting during the economic crisis.

Drs. Akinloye Ojo and Karim Traore organized a session for the Murrow Fellows at the African Studies Institute.

“One of the problems in Africa is that we keep saying that we are in an endless transition and all the projects that we implement are ‘pilot projects’,” Dr. Traore told the Murrow Fellows. “We have to get rid of this mentality in order to become more stable and prosperous.”

The journalists participated in the weekly lunch of the members of the Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens.

At that session, U.S. Department of State Program Officer Paul Engelstad spoke about the Murrow Fellowship and introduced all the participants.

One of the Fellows, Berthe Mensah of Benin, shared her experiences regarding her relationship with the government as the news director of a TV station.

Three Grady faculty, Dr. Ann Hollifield and Professors Keith Herndon and Mark Johnson, and one doctoral student, Perry Parks, talked with the French-speaking journalists about new business models in the U.S. media.

The panelists explained that the new generations of journalism graduates have to know how to tell the story for a variety of communication platforms in order to be prepared for a career in the media.

On the social side, the group participated in a Halloween party in Atlanta and in a reception organized by the Cox International Center in Athens.

The program in Georgia was Oct. 31 through Wed. 6.

The visitors were part of a larger group of 150 journalists participating in this program organized by the U.S. Department of State, the Aspen Institute and nine select U.S. journalism programs.

Prior to the visit to Georgia, the participants spent one week in Washington D.C., where they met with Secretary of State John Kerry and visited media outlets. They visited Las Vegas and New York City after the program in Atlanta and Athens.

The visiting journalists were: Ms. Berthe Mensah, Director, Canal3TV, Benin; Ms. Clarisse Irakoze , French News Editor and Investigative Reporter, African Public Radio, Burundi, Ms. Yolaine Noumouly-Yot, Deputy Manager and Senior News Anchor, DRTV, Congo; Mr. Thomas Bi Kouassi Guessan, News Director, Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirienne 2 (RTI), Cote d’Hivoire; Mr. Raoul Mbog, Reporter and Editor, Slate Afrique (Francophone Pan-African news website), France; Mr. Ricardo Ulysee, Journalist, Radio RFM, Haiti; Mr. Moussa Bolly, Charge of Mission - Responsible for Communication, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Mali;Mr. El Atigh Abba, CEO and Founder, “The Arab Critic” Blog, Mauritania; Mrs. Fadimou Moumouni Diaffra, Elected Member and Reporter, National Communication Council, Niger; and Ms. Boly Bah, Reporter, La Gazette (weekly magazine), Senegal.

They were accompanied by Engelstad for the U.S. Department of State, Isabelle Parfait and Latif Ndiaye, simultaneous interpreters, and Jonathan Christ, administrative interpreter.