Mattais Kolb, visiting journalist from Germany.

German Reporter Learns about U.S. Politics and Media at the University of Georgia

German journalist Matthias Kolb spent four days at the University of Georgia in March studying the effects of new information technologies on the media and society, examining the monitoring programs of U.S. intelligence agencies, and exploring political, economic, and social trends in America.

Kolb is a reporter for Sü, the news website of the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading national newspapers. He writes about foreign policy, with a special focus on U.S. politics, and is also one of the managing editors of the politics section of Sü

Before taking his current job, Kolb worked as a freelance reporter for Sü, the Berlin daily Berliner Zeitung, and the public broadcasting stations Deutschlandfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk.

His program in Athens, organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, was part of the three-month Transatlantic Media Network fellowship, 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 and partnered with CSIS for the visit.

“Because of its special focus on international politics and economics, Süddeutsche Zeitung has many foreign correspondents and, of course, the United States are very important for us,” said Kolb. “As a Transatlantic Media Fellow, I have a unique opportunity to spend three months in many different regions of this country to better understand issues that are relevant to my readers.”

While at the University of Georgia, Kolb met with Dr. Loch Johnson, UGA Regents Professor in the Department of International Affairs.

"Some people see Snowden as a traitor, others as a hero,” Johnson told Kolb, in response to the journalist’s question. “I wish he had tried to inform people here, supervisors or members of the Congress, about what he found wrong, rather than choosing a path that had the potential to put lives in danger.

Dr. Charles Bullock, Richard B. Russell Professor of political science, told the German guest that the Republicans need to change their discourse in order to appeal to new ethnic groups. “This is difficult, however,” he said, “because the current Republican rhetoric works well for the party’s base, and elected leaders in the Congress don’t want to take risks.”

In the Grady College, the German journalist visited Newsource, the student TV studio, and watched the production of a nightly newscast with Professors David Hazinski and Yvonne Cantrell Bickley.

Kolb also had meetings with Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College, and Dr. Joe Phua in advertising and public relations. He participated in Dr. Lee Becker’s writing and reporting class.

Drs. Lee Becker and Tudor Vlad, director and associate director of the Cox International Center, talked with Kolb about the Center's international projects and about the impact of new communication technologies on the U.S. media.

While in the state of Georgia, Kolb traveled to Macon to interview Erick Erickson, Fox News contributor and editor‑in‑chief of, the most widely read right‑of‑center blog on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

During his three‑month program, Kolb was planning to visit 20 states.