From March 28 to April 8, 21 early-to-mid-career journalists from the country Georgia are at Grady College taking classes in the area of digital media.
Following a week at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, the young group of international journalists is now spending two weeks in Athens, studying multi-platform storytelling, media engineering, convergence in the newsroom, execution of fact-checking operations and new trends in media business models.
Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Georgia Media Education Program (MEP) is a partnership between the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research and the New Media Institute, both units of Grady College, along with Poynter Institute.
“We are very happy that this program, funded by a grant awarded to the Cox International Center in 2019, is finally taking place,” said Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox Center. “In the last three years, we’ve planned and rescheduled the visit of the Georgian journalists many times, due to COVID restrictions. Now, after five days at the Poynter Institute in Florida, our guests are here in Grady College for two weeks.”
Listening to lectures and participating in discussions in Grady classrooms, the international journalists are reviewing how storytelling has been impacted in the digital era, how U.S. media organizations work and develop new business models, how to effectively use social media platforms, how to transition from print to digital storytelling, the role of media in the process of democratization in transitional societies, and the relationship between media and government in emerging democracies.
“It’s a great experience,” said Rusudan Panozishvili, a freelance journalist from Georgia participating in the program. “We are meeting really experienced professionals. We also are gaining some practical, hands-on experience. It’s overwhelming to be on this huge campus, which is really impressive.”
During the day, the student group participates in courses taught by Amanda Bright, a journalism professor and the director of the Cox Institute Journalism Innovation Lab, Leah Moss, an instructor and the emerging media faculty advisor at the New Media Institute, John Weatherford, senior lecturer in emerging media studies and the New Media Institute, and David Hazinski, professor emeritus.
The Georgian journalists certainly are not the only ones benefiting from this visit. On March 31, the group also participated in a lunch in Grady’s Peyton Anderson Forum with a cohort of current Grady students. The Grady students were awarded the opportunity to ask the Georgian group a series of questions about their country and professional experiences.
“We think that their presence in our school is beneficial to them and also to our students, who have the opportunity to learn about media in emerging democracies in the former Soviet space,” Vlad explained.