The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation representatives.

Zambian Television Executives Discuss Digital Transition During Visit In May

The five representatives of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation(ZNBC) were on a mission.

They have pledged to meet a June 2015 deadline for migration from analogue to digital,and they wanted to learn from their American counterparts.

Prof. Yvonne Cantrell Bickley, who went through the process twice as a manager of television stations before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia, had one very clear piece of advice: Listen to the technical people.

Four of the guests turned their eyes to Jack Kafukwilwa, principal engineer for ZNBC. He just smiled.

The five were participating in a program organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Prof. Cantrell is a faculty member in the Department of Journalism in the Grady College and share’s responsibility for the department’s digital and broadcast journalism curriculum.

In addition to sharing her experiences with the group on the transition to digital operations, she also gave a tour of the newsroom for NewsSource,the student-produced newscast.

Prior to meeting with Prof. Cantrell, the five ZNBC managers visited the suite of the Peabody Awards and met with Dr. Jeffrey Jones, director of the Peabody program.

Dr. Jones told the group that he is struggling with issues of digitization as well. The archives of the Peabody, held in a special collection at the University of Georgia, are being converted to digital format.

The ZNBC representatives meeting with Professor Yvonne Cantrell Bickley.

“One of the challenges,” Dr. Jones said, “is that the process never ends, as changes in technology make it necessary to convert stored materials frequently.” He used a rough estimate of every five years.

The group came to the University of Georgia under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program, operated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

The group spent May 6 to 8 in Georgia,as guests of the Georgia International Visitors Center. They were in Athens on the University of Georgia campus on May 7.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, met the group as they arrived at the Grady College and gave a tour of the Grady College. He also talked with the group about the history and work of the Cox Center.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, talked with the television managers about U.S. federal and state open meetings and open records laws as well as about the Center’s program of research on measures of media freedom. The Department of State had listed these topics as part of the objectives for the visit.

“Open records and open meetings laws are not designed to help journalists in the U.S.,” Dr. Becker said. “They are designed to allow citizens access to meetings and documents so those citizens can be engaged themselves in the functioning of government.”

“For most citizens,” Dr. Becker said, “the state laws on access to meetings and documents are more important than the federal Freedom of Information Act. And those state laws are different in each of the 50 states.”

The Zambian delegation was made up of Kafukwilwa; Mr. Walubita Luwabelwa, corporation secretary; Ms. Getrude Sapele, business development manager; Mr. Oswald Mutale, controller news; and Mr. Berry Lwando, director of digital migration.

The group was accompanied by Ms. Rachel Cheeseborough, international visitor liaison.