State Department awards UF first Study of U.S. program grant in journalism education

Published: June 4 2007

Category:Announcements, Awards & Honors, InsideUF

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The State Department’s Study of the United States Branch recently awarded its first grant for international journalism and media faculty education to the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

The college is using the $275,000 grant to fund the newly created Study of the U.S. Institute on Journalism and Media, a six-week program titled “New Freedoms in Media: Teaching the Digital Journalism of Tomorrow.” It starts June 10.

“The excitement and passion the University of Florida has shown in designing and planning this program is very evident,” said Adam Van Loon, a program officer in the State Department’s Study of the United States Branch. “We’re delighted to be working with the College of Journalism and Communications.”

Eighteen journalism educators from as far away as Argentina, China and Rwanda will spend four weeks in Gainesville, a week in South Florida and a week in Washington, D.C., and New York. Among other topics, they’ll examine the media’s role in America, journalism’s potential in their countries and online communications’ influence on the international community.

The participants will benefit from the “skills and knowledge [they’ll] acquire and be able to disseminate,” said Professor Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, principal investigator and associate dean for research. “The U.S. will also benefit, as better informed audiences in the participants’ countries lead to more productive relationships.”

The institute goes beyond providing new tools. It aims to inspire such actions as the promotion of a global free press and engendering interaction among members of the media, said Professor Emeritus Kurt Kent, the institute’s co-director.

The participants are among the 30,000 people who participate annually in State Department exchanges, which include the Fulbright program. They will produce news and multimedia blogs and take a close look at diversity in the United States. They’ll visit a Habitat for Humanity project and African-American, Haitian and Hispanic media operations.

The experience is about more than exchanging knowledge and sharing viewpoints — it’s about establishing long-term, two-way relationships, Kent said. “Our faculty members will learn from them while they’re here, and afterwards.” It’s also about the future. The participants will have an impact on their countries’ next generations of journalists and media professionals.


Sylvia Chan-Olmsted,, 352-392-0954

Category:Announcements, Awards & Honors, InsideUF