Kazahkstani journalists with David Hazinski, Tudor Vlad and student assistants.

Kazakhstani Visitors Learn About Multimedia Journalism In Grady College

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, shared his experiences as citizen who uses journalism to engage in his own community with seven Kazakhstani journalists during their visit to the University of Georgia in March and early April.

The guests were in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as a part of a five-week program funded through a federal grant from the U.S. Embassy in Astana. The program coordinated by journalism Professor David Hazinski aimed to equip the visitors with the tools and knowledge to produce digital, multimedia journalism for their own media organizations and to give them a number of new insights that would help them foster professional journalism and media freedom in their home country.

Dr. Becker told the visitors that he views “journalism as an act of citizenship” and explained how he has covered news in Oconee County, where he lives, for the last 10 years on his blog, Oconee County Observations.

Dr. Becker also discussed a course he taught this semester on Journalism and Citizenship in which he encouraged students to examine the assumptions they make about citizens and how that influences the stories they write. The course also attempts to identify the needs of citizens as they live their lives.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, also gave a lecture to the Kazakhstani journalists on mass communication in the United States. He used findings from the Annual Surveys of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates and Enrollments that were conducted in the Center until 2014.

“The data show that the number of students in such programs has not declined significantly in recent years especially because of the interest of female students in public relations and advertising,” said Dr. Vlad. “Had these disciplines not been embraced by jmc schools, we would have seen a dramatic drop in the enrollments across time.”

In addition to learning in a “hands on” way how contemporary journalism now operates across media, the Kazakhstani guests were exposed to multiple levels of international standard journalism from CNN, one of the largest networks in the world, and WSB TV, the most profitable TV and digital news operation in the United States. Both are based in Atlanta.

The journalists also visited medium market stations and publications in Savannah, Georgia.

The visits involved both broadcast, digital and social media, and conversations with executives and journalists at all those locations.

The Cox International Center, the international unit of the Grady College, assisted in organizing and implementing the program and in facilitating meetings with faculty outside Grady and visits to media outlets such as the daily newspaper, The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“This program was a wonderful experience,” Professor Hazinski said during the last session. “Our Kazakhstani friends were not here to just listen and observe. They participated and explained their home media situations, constantly comparing and contrasting. We think they greatly contributed to our students’ understanding of global media and we treated them as what they are: journalistic colleagues.”

The Kazakhstani journalists were: Algerim Agyltayeva, Correspondent, Kazakhstan TV; Alena Gorbacheva, News, Editor, Khabar TV; Madina Ashilova, Editor in Chief, “Kulip oyan”, Almaty TV; Lyazzat Shatayeva, Editor in Chief, Kazakh TV English Service; Ainur Imangali, Correspondent, Atameken Business Chann; Aizhan Suleimenova, Editor in Chief, Forbes Women Kazakhstan; Kamilya Zhussupova, Consultant, Karavan.kz.