Cox International Center welcomes young Georgian journalists for digital media training

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.

Tudor Vlad moderates discussion between Georgian journalists and Grady students.
Tudor Vlad moderates the discussion between Georgian journalists and Grady students. (Photo: Jackson Schroeder)

“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.” 

Rusudan Panozishvili speakes to Grady students during March 31 lunch.
Rusudan Panozishvili speaks to Grady students during March 31 lunch. (Photo: Jackson Schroeder.)

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.

 

Hooper & Sanford podcast: Tudor Vlad

Tudor Vlad is the director of the Cox International Center, an organization that helps offer resources and promote free journalism around the world. Vlad joins Dayne Young on the Hooper & Sanford podcast to discuss how journalists can overcome their international challenges. He recaps what the Cox Center is doing through the pandemic to continue to serve global storytelling. He also offers advice to journalists covering government and military stories such as those recently occurring in Afghanistan.

Tudor Vlad named director of the Cox Center

Tudor Vlad has been named the director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research. Vlad, who has served as the center’s associate director since 2008, assumed his director responsibilities when Lee Becker retired June 30, 2017.

“Tudor is imminently qualified to continue the great work fostered by the Cox International Center in the years ahead,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College where the Cox Center is based. “I’m indebted to Tudor for his willingness to jump right in and help me with several international initiatives emerging.”

Vlad has a doctorate from the Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Bucharest. He came to the Cox Center as a Fulbright senior scholar. Prior to moving to Georgia, Vlad was a member of the faculty of the Department of Journalism at the Babes-Bolyai University, which he founded and chaired. He is a director of the World Free Press Institute and is the author of two non-fiction books, four novels and numerous studies, scholarly materials and articles published in the United States and in Europe.

Vlad is excited about the future of the Cox Center. “What I want to do is to use the international expertise of Grady faculty who focus on communication, and partner with other UGA units, such as the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and SPIA. This multidisciplinary approach will be beneficial to the international visibility of the University of Georgia.”

Vlad has been involved in more than 53 U.S. led international programs in 23 countries that foster democracy and stability in emerging democracies by promoting freedom of speech, independent media and inter-ethnic dialog. He has conducted training programs for journalists and journalism educators in Belarus, Hungary, Kenya, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ukraine, among others.

Vlad has been recognized by numerous organizations for his work including, most recently, the Intellectual Dialogue and Educational Advancement Society for his “valuable efforts towards continuously fostering democracy and stability globally.”

The  Cox Center was created in 1985, and in 1990 was named for the late James M. Cox Jr., chairman of the board of Cox Enterprises. Each year, the center conducts multiple media workshops for journalists from around the world, publishes technical reports and directs research on a variety of topics related to the practice of journalism around the world. To date, more than 142 training programs have been offered involving journalists from all over the world. The Cox Center has also been the proud host of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists the past eight years.