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Communication Department Hosts Panel for Visiting Journalists from Azerbaijan

Old Dominion University's Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters, sponsored a panel discussion, titled "Challenges for the Press in the 21st Century," for visiting journalists from Azerbaijan Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Azerbaijan, a country flush with cash from oil and natural gas and with a reputation for having a less than free press, is transitioning from its status as part of the USSR to a more democratic state. Journalists from print, television and Radio Liberty in Azerbaijan were guests of the League of Women Voters' "Open World Program," which enables emerging leaders in Eurasia and Baltic States to experience U.S. democracy and free enterprise in action in communities across the United States.

During their visit to the U.S., Open World participants learn about the roles and relationships of the three branches of U.S. government, and how elected officials and civil society organizations throughout the country work together to address social issues. They also examine how the U.S. private and nonprofit sectors help meet social and civic needs.

Moderated by Fran Hassencahl, assistant professor of communication, the panel addressed the historic role of the press and minority press in a democracy, specifically in Norfolk; the blurring lines between journalists and readers, i.e. the rise of readers as collaborators in the news-gathering process; the use of blogs and online technology, and between news as a service and as a commodity; and the rise of network news as a profit center rather than the "protected jewel."

Panelists included:

Jeffrey P. Jones, associate professor of communication, ODU

Burton St. John III, assistant professor of communication, ODU

Ashley Hall, lecturer of communication and English, ODU

Mustafa Canan, Ph.D. candidate in physics and chair of the Better Understanding Club, ODU

Brenda H. Andrews-Brooks, president and publisher of New Journal and Guide, Norfolk

Thomas Robotham, adjunct faculty member, English department, ODU.

This article was posted on: November 6, 2008

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