Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, meeting with the Chinese public administration senior managers.

Grady Hosts Public Administration Senior Managers

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia organized a session for five senior managers and faculty of the Shanghai Administration Institute in early December. The program was coordinated by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, the international unit of the school.

“The social media give politicians the option to go directly to the citizens and to avoid being moderated by the traditional media," Dr. Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College, told the guests. “Candidate Donald Trump showed how this type of direct communication can have an extraordinary impact during a campaign, but President Trump has also shown what its dangers are when you continue using them in the same way while being in office."

“In order to successfully use new media, one needs to understand how they work and who uses them,” said Dr. Davis, “or otherwise they can turn against you. Usually young people – like our students – can adopt them and adapt to them faster than the older generations.”

The Chinese visitors had questions about the government-media relations, about guiding principles and mechanism for U.S. governments to deal with traditional and new media, about how the Democrat and Republican Parties are utilizing media to attract votes and to establish their respective images, about the roles and functions of social medias in party politics, and about combatting fake news and systemic disinformation through better journalistic practices.

“The number of traditional media audiences – especially newspaper readers – has declined in recent years in the United States, and fewer people watch TV to get politics-related information,” Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center, told the group. “However, the impact of television and print media is still powerful, and politicians pay attention to it. Some surveys suggest that 24-hour news channels have contributed to a polarization of the public that is not beneficial to an unbiased and multi-perspective debate of important societal issues.”

The three-week program of the Shanghai Public Administration Institute delegation at the University of Georgia was organized by the International Center of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

The visitors were Xie Genhua, vice president, Wang Yuedong, associate professor and deputy director of the Political Science Department, Luo Junli, associate professor, Li Zong, deputy director of the Personnel Division, and Chen Jie, member of the Foreign Affairs Office.