Murrow Journalists attending sessions in Studio 100 of the Grady College at the University of Georgia.

Journalists From Twenty-Three Countries And Territories Visit Georgia As Part Of The Murrow Program

Twenty-four journalists from countries all over the world visited the United States in May to examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy and the principles and laws governing the press in the United States, to discuss best practices in correcting misinformation reports and ensuring that reports are fact checked, and to assess the impact of social media, new communication technologies, citizen journalism, and alternative forms of investigative reporting.

The program in Athens was 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 at the University of Georgia, while the Georgia Center for International Visitors was in charge with the part of the program in Atlanta.

The one-day symposium on May 14 in the Grady College included discussions of investigative journalism, combatting fake news, new trends in media research, mass communication law and journalism education. This is the ninth consecutive year that the Cox International Center hosted the Murrow Program--the most prestigious program for journalists run by the U.S. Department of State.

“Newspapers in the United States are going through a tough time,” Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College, told the group. “Advertising revenue, the bulk of newspaper dollars, peaked in 2005 for daily newspapers at $63.4 billion. By 2016, that number was down to $18.3 billion. This has led to layoffs and less resources for investigative reporting.”

Murrow Journalists in session with Dr. Bart Wojdynski, assistant professor in the Journalism department of Grady College.

Dr. Davis said that new business models need to be developed to support independent media, which are vital for a well-informed constituency and for a vibrant democracy. In support of his idea, he used a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Dr. Bart Wojdynski, assistant professor in the Journalism Department, presented a couple of the recent studies he has done about how consumers perceive credibility of unfamiliar sources, under the title” Gain an understanding of the evolution, current status, and trends in journalistic research in the United States.”

“Freedom of speech is one very important item that our Constitution protects,” Dr. Jonathan Peters, assistant professor of communication law, told the visitors. “In some of my trips abroad I found that most of the journalists in those countries are familiar with the First Amendment, but don’t know that there are kinds of speech that are not protected.”

To illustrate his statement, Dr. Peters made reference to and gave examples of incitement to imminent lawless action, obscenity and defamation, in his presentation titled “"Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: The Free Press and Democracy."

Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center, presented findings of the Annual Surveys of Journalism and Mass Communication conducted in the Center to examine trends in journalism and mass communication education in the United States.

“There are about 480 journalism schools in the United States, and we have interviewed the top administrators of all these programs every year in the last 20 years,” Dr. Vlad said. “What the data show is that the inclusion of advertising and public relations among the specializations taught in these schools has kept the number of students enrolled relatively similar across time. These specializations have attracted many women in recent years, and that has compensated the decline in journalism enrollments.”

The participants in the 2018 Murrow program were: Mr. Hacene Nait Amarat, Le Courrier d’Algerie, Algeria; Mr. Arshaluis Mgdesyan Article 3 Club For Equal Rights NGO, Armenia; Ms. Katherine Liman, Deputy Regional News Director, Channel 9, Eastern Australia; Ms. Malahat Najafova, Correspondent, APA News Agency, Azerbaijan; Mr. Muhammad Abdul Muhaimen, Deputy Feature Editor, Daily Prothom Alo, Bangladesh, Ms. Mariana Procopio Colo, Reporter, TV Bandeirantes, Brazil; Ms. Paulette Nicole Desormeaux Parra, Professor, School of Journalism, Catholic University of Chile;             Mr. Giovanni Dennis, President, Reporter, and Producer, RJR Gleaner Communications Group, Jamaica; Ms. Athoub Alshuaibi, Journalist, Kuwait Times, Kuwait; Ms. Petunia Youness, Senior Editor,, Lebanon;  Mr. Moses S. Bailey, Reporter, Radio Gbarnga, Liberia; Ms. Gloria Tawah Tamba, Reporter, Daily Observer Newspaper, Liberia; Ms. Suzgo Alecy Khunga, News Analyst and Assistant Bureau Chief, Nation Publications, Ltd., Malawi; Ms. Wan Noor Hayati Bintiwan Alias, Journalist, Special Desk, Berita Harian, Malaysia; Mr. Mohamed Junaid Saleem, Journalist and Head, Political Desk, Maldives Independent, Maldives;Mr. Roshdi Abualouf, Head, Screen Media Production and Training Company, Palestinian Territories; Mr. Ivan Kuzmin, Editor, Altapress Publishing House, Russia; Ms. Simoniah Lebogang Mashangoane, Project Coordinator, The Wits Justice Project, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Mr. Ganesh Kamlesh Virender, Journalist, Dagblad Suriname, FaFam Publishing, Suriname; Ms. Basma Chataouiep Lahga, Senior Correspondent, Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP), Tunisia; Mr. Ahmet Alphan Sabanci, Freelance Writer and Journalist, Turkey; Ms. Ganna Stepanets, Journalist and Anchor, The Evening Prime Program, 112 Ukraine TV, Ms. Lucinda Catherine Day, Broadcast Journalist, BBC Newsnight, United Kingdom;and Mr. Luis Carlos Diaz Vazquez, Journalist and Radio Co‑Host, Cesar Miguel Rondón Daily Show, Exitos FM, Venezuela.