The Edward R. Murrow Fellow journalists being welcomed by Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College.

Fourteen French Speaking Journalists Visit Georgia as Murrow Fellows

Fourteen journalists from French‑speaking countries came to the United States in October and November to examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy and to observe operational practices and standards of U.S. media coverage of elections.

The agreement creates a framework for the development of cooperative educational, service and research activities for the mutual benefit of both institutions.

The journalists were in the state of Georgia as part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists from Oct. 30 through Nov. 5.

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. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Cox Center hosted the Murrow Fellows Program - the most prestigious program for journalists run by the U.S. Department of State.

On the first day of their visit in Georgia, the group visited media outlets in Atlanta. At CNN, the African guests were welcomed by Richard Griffiths, vice president and senior editorial director, who gave the guests a tour of the newsrooms and then talked about the principles that guide CNN’s news operations.

“Our activity is guided by a ‘Triad',” said Griffiths. He told the African journalists that the CNN news production is based on a “Triad” of departments. The legal department answers the question ‘Can we do it?.’ The one that focuses on journalism standards will decide if a specific piece of news should be done or not, while a third department will pick a strategy on how the news should be done.

At The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Murrow Fellows observed a front page meeting and later had a discussion of the newspaper’s coverage of elections. Top newsroom managers participated in the meeting.

“As many other newspapers, we have made a decision not to endorse any candidate,” Managing Editor Mark Waligore told the visitors. “We try to offer a balanced and fair coverage of the elections, to provide valuable information about all the important candidates, so that our readers can make their own voting decisions.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to have you as our guests,” Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College, told the African journalists when they arrived in Athens. “It is a learning experience for our students and faculty and an opportunity to reflect on the journalists’ mission in transitional countries.”

The Murrow Fellow journalists visiting CNN in Atlanta, Georgia.

Drs. Akinloye Ojo and Karim Traore organized a session for the Murrow Fellows at the African Studies Institute. Dr. Ojo presented the activity and the programs of the institute.

Dr. Charles Bullock, Richard B. Russell Chair in Political Science and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, talked with the visitors about the local and congressional elections in the United States.

Grady faculty Drs. Karen Russell and Itai Himelboim focused on the roles of social media in communication.

On Nov. 4th, the Murrow Fellows observed the students’ coverage of the elections in the Grady newsroom, coordinated by Professors David Hazinski and Yvonne Cantrell Bickley, and participated in the critique following the newscast. The critique was broadcast live.

Between the sessions in Atlanta and those in Athens, the group participated in a Halloween party in Atlanta and watched the Halloween parade in downtown Athens. They also visited the farmer’s market in Watkinsville, outside Athens, and the farm of market vendor Will Powers.

The Murrow Fellow journalists participating in Halloween festivities.

The visitors were part of a larger group of 80 journalists participating in the Murrow Program, organized by the U.S. Department of State, the Aspen Institute and seven selected U.S. journalism programs.

Prior to the visit to Georgia, the participants spent one week in Washington, D.C., where they had meetings at media outlets. They visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe and New York City after the program in Atlanta and Athens.

The visiting journalists were: Mr. Karim Namoano, Journalist and Reporter, National Television, Burkina Faso; Ms. Diane Nininahazwe, Journalist and Senior Health and Environment Producer, Radio Bonesha FM, Burundi; Ms. Priscille Moadougou, Head, Society Desk, Mutations Yaoundé (daily private newspaper), Cameroon; Mr. Thierry Khonde Balandegue, Journalist and Program Director, Radio Notre Dame (private Catholic radio), Central African Republic; Mr. Elvis Tabo, Journalist, Tele‑Tchad, Chad; Ms. Said Abdallah Abouhariat, Journalist, Al‑ Watwan (daily newspaper), Comoros; Mr. Francois Nguessan, Journalist and Producer, Radio Phénix, Bouaké, Cote d’Ivoire; Ms. Jenny Valliante, Journalist, Democratic Republic of Congo; Mr. Edgard Martial Tchibinda, Journalist and Reporter, Gabon Televisions, Gabon; Mrs. Fatoumata Mah Thiam Kone, Reporter, Somapress (media company), Mali; Mr. Ahmed Soueid Ahmed, Journalist and Blogger, Mauritania; Mr. Ousseini Djibo Issa, Editor, Le Republicain and President, Onimed (Observatoire Nigérien Indé pendant des Médias pour L'Ethique et la Déontologie), Niger; Ms. Ramatoulaye Diaw, Journalist and Reporter, 2STV (private television station) Senegal; and Ms. Magnim Ngbanla, Journalist, Presenter and Blogger, Radio Kanal FM, Togo.

They were accompanied by Paul Engelstad from the U.S. Department of State, and by interpreters Ms. Chelsea Rosendale, Ms. Marie-Claude Pippitt, Ms. Catherine Aglaure, and Mr. M. Elhadji Sarr.