Egyptian journalists with Dr. Tudor Vlad and Professor David Hazinski in Grady Newsource studio.

Egyptian Journalists Discuss Media and Democracy During Grady Visit

Four Egyptian journalists spent a day in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in early August to learn about the relationship between media and the process of democratization and about the impact of new technologies on the U.S. mass communication landscape.

The program at the University of Georgia was organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College. The five‑day program in the state of Georgia was coordinated by the Georgia Center for International Visitors in Atlanta.

Participants included: Hany Danial, journalist, Watani Newspaper; Hazem Alaaeldin Mohamed Ahmed Elmallah, Diplomatic Department head, Elbadil Newspaper; Mohamed Wadie Abdelsamie Mohamed Ghozzy, editor, October Weekly Magazine; and Amina Gamil Hamed Khairy, feature editor and senior reporter, Al Hayat Newspaper. They were accompanied by two U.S. State Department interpreters, Wael Abdelsattar and Shukrieh Hatem.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, told the group that researchers in the Center have studied for more than 10 years the relationships among press freedom, professional journalism and the process of democratization in emerging democracies and transitional societies.

"We found evidence that media freedom and political democratic reforms have impact on each other, but the data don’t show if more democracy is the result of press freedom, as media advocates suggest, or if the political process leads to a better media landscape.”

Dr. Vlad also talked about Cox Center international programs, mentioning that each of these projects has been the result of collaboration between U.S. experts led by the Center and local experts.

“We see all our programs as exchange partnerships, where both sides equally learn and share their expertise,” Dr. Vlad said.

Following a tour of the building, Professor David Hazinski, Jim Kennedy New Media Professor in the Journalism Department and former NBC international correspondent, joined the conversation.

"Sometimes people here don’t understand the challenges that journalists are facing in other parts of the world,” Professor Hazinski told the Egyptian guests. “I have worked with broadcast journalists in Pakistan, India, Serbia, Indonesia and many other countries and I know that some of them are facing danger and a lot of pressure. I think our students would benefit a lot from meeting people like you.”

The group then visited the TV studio of Newsource, where Grady College students produce a daily news cast. Professor Hazinski told the visitors that the school has adjusted its curriculum to reflect changes in the media industry.

“We need to teach our students how to tell the story for a variety of platforms, from television to cell phones and to Internet,” Hazinski said.  There are now many new communication jobs, he added.  As an example, important companies, such as Coca Cola, are using Grady students and graduates to produce stories for their web sites as a way to reach audiences without going through the traditional advertising path.

The Egyptian visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. The Department of State outlined the following specific objectives for the project: Examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democratic society; highlight the respective roles of print, broadcast, and online media outlets and citizen journalists in disseminating news and information; survey the U.S. education system and professional development programs to prepare the next generation of media professionals; and discuss efforts to ensure and protect freedom of the press and expression.

The journalists arrived in Washington, D.C., and spent time in Reno, Nevada, before arriving in Atlanta. After their visit in Georgia, they stopped in Albany and New York City before returning home to Egypt.