Cox International Center of Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communiciation at the University of Georgia.
Cox International Center Goes Virtual During Pandemic
The Bad News…in March 2020, classes and most of the activities at the University of Georgia were moved from in-person to online as a result of the COVID pandemic. Due to this dramatic change, the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research had to adjust and restructure its programs. The Cox International Center is an outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Three important projects of the Cox International Center were postponed: a workshop on journalism and mass communication curriculum development at the Shanghai Normal University in China, a joint conference on media literacy and combatting fake news organized in partnership with the National University of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest, Romania, and a three-week program for 25 journalists from the country of Georgia with a focus on non-traditional media and new business models, funded by the U.S. Department of State.
Visits to the University of Georgia of journalists, journalism educators and government communicators from China, Uzbekistan, China, Romania and Moldova also had to be rescheduled, and a trip to Romania by Dr. Lee Becker, former director of the Cox International Center, and Dr. Tudor Vlad, current director – planned for the launching of the book Dinamica educatiei pentru profesiile din journalism si comunicare: impactul pietei fortei de munca (The Dynamics of the Education for Journalism and Communication Occupations: The Impact of Labor Markets), Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Scoala Ardeleana, were cancelled.
The Good News…in order to stay active and to continue achieving the goal of supporting freedom of expression and independent journalism around the world, the Cox International Center developed a variety of online and distance learning training programs for foreign journalists, bloggers, government communicators and NGO representatives.
During July of 2020, the Cox International Center (in collaboration with the UGA Office of Global Engagement) was awarded a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of State to develop a training program for 2000 Mandela-Washington Fellows and Alumni. The completed virtual package was delivered in September of 2020. The title of this project is “Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives after a Crisis”.
In December of 2020, the Cox International Center (in collaboration with the UGA Office of Global Engagement, the Fanning Institute, and the Carl Vinson institute) was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State to create the African Civic Engagement Academy (ACEA) – a virtual civic engagement training program to strengthen democracy in Africa. The entire program will be delivered by the end of September 2021.
The Cox International Center also collaborated with the UGA School of Public Health and with the UGA Office of Global Engagement to submit an application for an Academic Partnership Program with higher education institutions in the Palestinian Territories, however, we were not awarded this grant.
In 2020, Dr. Vlad (who is the Principal Investigator on the project) received a non-extra funding extension from the U.S. Department of State for The Georgia Media Education Program (MEP2020). The training program for 25 journalists from the country of Georgia will take place at the University of Georgia and at the Poynter Institute in March and April of 2022.
Another project that Dr. Vlad worked on during the Coronavirus pandemic was authoring the chapter “Global journalism and mass communication education in the digital era,” published in the summer of 2021 in the book, Global Journalism. Understanding World Media, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. The chapter examines how journalism and mass communication education can remain relevant by embracing the field of mass communication in its new complexity and broadening its curricular options.
The University of Georgia began holding in-person classes and activities in July and August of 2021. The Cox International Center continues to apply for grants and works virtually with its partners from both the University of Georgia and other institutions and organizations across the globe to provide training and assistance for journalists, government communicators, and NGO representatives, as well as other communicators. The COVID pandemic certainly has had an impact on the Cox International Center but has not prevented us from pursuing our goals and mission.