AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism will host a delegation of 10 journalists from Europe and Eurasia April 5-13 as part of the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural Edward. R. Murrow Journalism Program.
An innovative public-private partnership among the Department of State, the Aspen Institute and seven leading U.S. universities, the program will bring 129 television, radio and print journalists from independent media outlets around the world to U.S. soil. The program’s goals are to expose journalists to the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy, to give them insight into the social, economic and political structures of the United States and to have them visit leading academic institutions in smaller delegations for interactive sessions with faculty and students.
“Good journalism is vital to a democratic society,” said Lorraine Branham, director of the School of Journalism. “One of the best ways to educate foreign journalists about the role of a free press in a democracy is to bring them to our classrooms and newsrooms to engage with students and working professionals. It is also a wonderful opportunity to have a dialogue about the rights and responsibilities that go along with that press freedom.”
International journalists visiting Austin will participate in intensive academic seminars with faculty, students and guest lecturers, and will shadow journalists working in local news organizations, including The Austin American-Statesman, the Austin bureau of the Associated Press, KUT Radio and News 8 Austin.
“We live in an era when emerging and converging forms of mass communication are changing the world,” said Dr. Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, which includes the School of Journalism. “By exposing these journalists—on an individual level—to the practice of journalism in the U.S., we can help effect changes on a global level.”
In addition to The University of Texas at Austin, six other institutions will host delegations: Syracuse University, the University of Kentucky, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Southern California.
Prior to coming to campus, visiting journalists will have an orientation period in Washington, D.C., where they will be introduced to U.S. government and foreign policy. Following their stay at The University of Texas at Austin, they will visit other state capitals for exposure to the role and responsibilities of state government and media coverage of state politics. They also will visit small and medium-sized communities to observe civic life and grassroots involvement in political affairs.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the program in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in December, saying, “The Department of State is determined to forge partnerships with our private sector so that Americans of all stripes, all traditions, all ethnic groups and also all walks of life might be able to help to carry the story of democratic progress and the progress of liberty. We look forward to this excellent program in April, but we especially look forward to working with our partners.”
Note to editors: Please contact Erin Geisler for an itinerary and interview and photo opportunities.