Ohio University program bridging the gap among media worldwide

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Each year, Ohio University's College of Communication hosts its foreign counterparts with one common goal, to learn more about American media.

More than a dozen residents, all from different countries, travel to the United States to not only see how our system works but to promote appreciation and understanding of their cultures as well.

"The participants are part of a global community of scholars. While here in the states, they learn about our media and by talking to one another they learn about each others as well," said Mary Rogus, Electronic Journalism E. W. Scripps School of Journalism..

The program which brings them to the U.S. is The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media. It's funded by the State Department but run by Ohio University's Institute for International Journalism.

"The embassy's from each respective country nominates participants. Everything from airfare to hotels to meals are covered by the State Dept.," added Rogus.

This year the program hosted scholars from Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Mozambique, New Zealand, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

While at Cleveland 19, the scholars participated in a Q&A where many of the questions focused on freedom of speech and journalistic integrity. Technology was also a hot topic. We shared newsgathering techniques -- some of which they said they were familiar with.

"We have multiple ways to get video back to the station very quickly. Technology is great we have millions of ways to get video back now that doesn't require live trucks, cable, multiple crews, etc.," said WOIO Assistant News Director Brian Sinclair.

Much like at Cleveland 19, social media, ie: Facebook, twitter, Instagram, has become a big part of getting the news out to the masses, especially in countries like China and Egypt -- where they do not have editorial independence.

A journalism instructor from Egypt, where most of the media is government owned, says her passion to keep teaching comes from being able to tell her students how the news 'should' be reported. She says she incorporates American media into her teachings.

"Many of our news uses social media to get the news out because the government has blocked the websites, so they will link to social media," Rasha El-Ibiary, participant from Egypt.

The group is here for six weeks of programming, and travel for cultural and media visits. A few highlights of the visit include a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a stop in Amish country and attending a MLB game in Washington, DC.

This is OU's eighth year of being part of the program and seventh time at Cleveland 19 studios.

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