Dr. Vlad, director of the Cox Center, meets with visiting Swedish journalist, Albin Aghamn.

Swedish Journalist Learns About U.S. Mass Communication Education And Sports Journalism At The University Of Georgia

Swedish journalist Albin Aghamn spent three days at the University of Georgia in early December examining higher education in the United States, news credibility in the current political climate, journalism curricula, and media coverage of collegiate sports. He also interviewed individuals in Athens about the opioid dependency and cure.

Aghamn is a reporter and editor at Sveriges Television (SVT), Sweden’s national public broadcaster in Stockholm, Sweden. He has traveled extensively, including most recently to Albania and Turkey. He received a degree in social work from Linnaeus University and a degree in journalism from Stockholm University. His special interests while being in the United States were international affairs, U.S .diplomacy, great power politics, and sports.

His program in Athens, organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, was part of the ten-week Transatlantic Media Network fellowship funded and coordinated by the Future Europe Initiative of the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.

The Cox International Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and partnered with the Atlantic Council for the visit.

While at the University of Georgia, Aghamn met with Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Several years ago, we merged the Journalism – historically Print – and Telecommunication Department, and created a new Entertainment and Media Studies unit to reflect the changes in the industry,” Dr. Davis told the guest. "Anticipating what kind of jobs will be available for our graduates has been one of our missions and challenges.”

Dr. Janice Hume, head of the Journalism Department, talked with the visitor about the college’s digital-first journalism curriculum and the changing nature of entry-level jobs for journalism majors.

In the meeting with Dr. Jay Hamilton, head of the Entertainment and Media Studies Department, the main topics were the role that digitization plays for better and worse in supporting quality journalism and antidotes to fake news in the form of various critical media literacy programs. 

Dr. Welch Suggs, who has been instrumental in the creation of the Grady Sports Media undergraduate certificate program shared his thoughts with the Swedish guest about U.S. collegiate sport and media coverage of sports in the United States.

Aghamn also had meetings with Dr. Bryan Reber, head of the Advertising/Public Relations Department, to talk about new trends in strategic communication, and Dr. Keith Herndon, Director of the Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership, with whom he talked about new media business models tested in the country.

“Hosting many Transatlantic Media fellows in the last six years has been a very beneficial experience,” said Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center. “While our faculty and students have been exposed to international journalists’ perspectives on the U.S. media and culture, the Center has used these programs to develop a network of journalists in Europe who can assist us in some of our international projects.”

While being in the United States through the Transatlantic Media Network program, Aghamn visited a variety of geographical areas, from rural North Dakota to San Francisco and other locales coast to coast. His last destination before his departure home was Washington, D.C.

“The experience of traveling the US for two months has exceeded my expectations,” said Aghamn. “I have met so many wonderful and interesting people during this stay that I would never have dreamt of. But going from place to place this fall, especially during the midterm elections, has also shown me how divided this country is in many ways.”