Romina Spina, Swiss-Italian journalist based in Italy.

Swiss Journalist Studies Effects of Global Economy on Smaller Communities

Swiss journalist Romina Spina spent five days at the University of Georgia in March learning about teaching ethics in the era of new communication technologies and about the impact of globalization on smaller communities.

Spina is a Swiss-Italian journalist based in Italy, where she covers politics and business for the renowned Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. She also has written for magazines, websites and international wire services, including the Associated Press, and is a contributor to German academic publications.

Her areas of interest include economy, the international trades and human rights.

Her 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 (CSIS) in Washington.

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

“I was looking forward to coming to Athens, because up to that point I had only visited big cities and I was really curious about seeing a university town,” said the Swiss journalist. “I wasn't disappointed and I felt a strong sense of community there as I was walking around and talking to people. The city seems very vibrant and there is something for everyone, from art and music to night life, from food to sports, and, of course UGA is at the heart of it all.”

While in Georgia, Spina met Mrs. Nancy Denson, the mayor of the city of Athens, to learn about the Caterpillar plant that was relocated here from Japan.

“We are fortunate to have such a big company here,” mayor Denson told the visitor. “It shows that our city is business friendly and hopefully we will attract other firms to Athens.”

In the Grady College, Spina met with Dr. Janice Hume, head of the Department of Journalism, to talk about media ethics in the new mass communication curricula, and with Dr. Karin Russell and Professor Michel Castengera, to speak about social media. Dr. Russell is a faculty member in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, while Castengera is in the Department of Journalism.

Drs. Lee Becker and Tudor Vlad, director and associate director respectively of the Cox International Center, talked with Spina about the Center's international projects and about the role of new communicators in covering community issues.

“There have been a few surprises during my travels until now,” said the Swiss journalist. “The first is that I didn't expect people to be so nice and helpful. I found that people are not afraid of approaching other people, even compared to a place like Italy, where people are generally outgoing. I also found that their interest in talking to me is genuine.”

Prior to coming to Athens, Spina visited Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina. After her departure from Georgia, she was to visit Texas, California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C.