The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Oct 04, 2011

New exchange program gives Russian and US journalists a chance to sharpen their skills, build mutual understanding

Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Moscow's Red Square, Photo by

Journalists from Russia and the U.S. - countries that were once dire enemies - will be able to participate in a new two-year program designed to give them the opportunity to work in newsrooms and to build mutual understanding.

At the beginning of the exchange, Russian journalists will spend several days meeting officials and media leaders in Washington, D.C, while their U.S. counterparts will do the same in Moscow. They will then work at media organizations for up to a month.

Knight Foundation is funding the program through a grant to the International Center for Journalists, which will coordinate the selection of suitable U.S. news organizations for the Russian journalists, and the Moscow Union of Journalists will find hosts for the Americans. The Moscow Union will plan the program and cover the costs for participants in Russia.

Dawn L. McCall, Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs, says:

“The exchange provides opportunities for U.S. and Russian journalists to share experiences and strengthen their journalistic practices, which benefits both our countries.”

The first 24 participants will be selected in February 2012 and the first exchange will take place in April 2012.

Eric Newton, senior advisor to the President at Knight Foundation, is currently in Moscow for the second meeting of the sub-group on media exchanges under the U.S. - Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission's Working Groups on Education, Culture, Sports and Media. In his remarks at the opening panel on The Evolving Profession of Journalism, Newton talked about how the digital age is impacting journalism and the important of journalists:

“Industrial-age news lumbered off the assembly line: journalist, story, newspaper, audience. Digital age news flashes through the interactive network.  It’s all different. Journalists can be citizens. Stories can be databases. Media can be smart phones. Audiences can be interactive.  Redefining our role is part of our role. Professional journalists matter. We are as important as ever.”

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