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COLUMN: Global Journalist celebrates its 10th anniversary with a look back

Sunday, February 28, 2010 | 1:14 p.m. CST; updated 10:10 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuart Loory interviews past and present contributors to Global Journalist about what the program has meant to them and how it helps today:

Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism: This week we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of this program. Excuse me for blowing our own horn, but Global Journalist is the most downloaded program for podcast on KBIA by far.  That shows that contrary to conventional wisdom, mid-Missourians and listeners throughout the world are interested in international news. One of the things that people are always asking me is how do you get guests from all over the world to take part? Well, I have a team of journalism graduate students every semester who work as producers. They toil day and night each week to round up participants from far away places. This anniversary week some of those producers are on the line to talk to you. They are now in faraway places themselves. What you remember most about Global Journalist, and how that helped shape your subsequent career?

Bu Zhong, assistant professor of journalism, Penn State University, University Park, Pa. ; producer for Global Journalist in 2000: I think the program helped me realize that there are other international journalists who could hold very different opinions the other side of the world might take for granted.  I began to be more sensitive to other people’s opinions, even simple things like objectivity. Some people would hide their identity because they were worried about how their home countries would treat them differently.

Tianbo Huang, vice president, global business development, KyLin TV, New York, N.Y. ; producer, 2001:  What I remember most about Global Journalist was that I didn’t have regular working hours. Because of the time differences, I had to work days and nights to get guests from around the world. Another thing is that almost 100 percent of the journalists were so professional and dedicated. The experience as a producer was really a good help for me both when I worked for CNN and when I changed my career track to business.

Loory: What do you do as a businessman?

Huang: I bring in Chinese television programs and redistribute them to Chinese communities in North America. I changed from producing content to selling and distributing the content.

Yusuf Kalyango, professor of journalism, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; producer, 2003 - 2004: Working with Stuart – with all of your international journalism accolades – was more than a privilege because Global Journalist is a truly unique show for journalists and for citizens who want to learn about the practice of journalism from around the world. This show helps me in doing my job. Two weeks ago I assigned my international journalism class to listen to your radio show online via globaljournalist.org.

Euntaek Hong, director of media services, Naver.com, Seoul, South Korea; producer, 2003 - 2005: I’m excited to be on the 10th anniversary program. I remember the fifth one.  We were all together wearing t-shirts with slogans hoping for another half a decade. At the time I thought the goal would be a little ambitious, but you made it.

Loory: We did some bike riding together while you were here. Have you continued to do a lot of bike riding?

Hong: Yes. It was hard work to work as a producer, so afterward I rewarded myself by taking 80 days to bike from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With you I trained myself for riding across America.

Gaurav Ghose, financial features editor, Gulf News, Dubai, UAE; producer, 2003 - 2004: One of the things I did for Global Journalist was to prepare the research for the program. I collected the news, sorted through the stories and passed them on to you so you could prepare for the program. I read all the news out there and found different perspectives. We invited four or five different journalists from all over the world to have different views on an issue or a topic, so I was looking for different interpretations of the news.

Renata Johnson, program assistant, Brazil Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.; producer, 2004 - 2005:  One of my favorite stories is when you were in Nairobi at a conference, and we had just a couple days to find a studio and produce the show. I was in charge of finding a studio. It was really big challenge for me, and I was so happy I overcame that.

Abraham Mashshie, freelance journalist and director of Americas Journalism Training in Buenos Aires, Washington, D.C.; producer, 2005: It was really inspiring to bring together all these international correspondents and to have this vivid, lively discussion. I was in Quito, Ecuador covering the election of Raphael Correa a few years ago, and it reminded me of a real-life Global Journalist. We were in this dark room in the bar, and journalists from the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Miami Herald and some British publications were just talking about the election and some of the background things that don’t make the print stories. It felt like Global Journalist atmosphere – having this behind-the-scenes discussion – is sort of like an exclusive club conversation.

Maria Ines Miro-Quesada, general manager, Nueva Via Comunicaciones, Lima, Peru; producer, 2005 - 2006: It was a fun experience, and I still remember waking up at 3 a.m. to call someone halfway around the world.

Loory: And waking up at 3 a.m. was fun?

Miro-Quesada: It wasn’t always fun, but to know that you could get such interesting people who were willing to talk to you and share their experiences was very inspiring. I am a general manager now at a company where we produce magazines and other publications, and I have journalists that I have to inspire every day. As a professor at West Virginia School of Journalism and now as a professor here in Lima, Peru, I always teach my students, who sometimes are scared or lacking confidence, they will get the guests they want. I use Global Journalist as an example of how people are willing to talk to you and that you should not be scared to call them.

John Amick, Web producer, Washington Post, Washington, D.C.; producer, 2006 - 2007: I think the producers – as graduate students – can attest it is not always the most stable atmosphere to be in, but you’re learning and it’s inspirational to hear someone in Iraq talking about the war zone. I remember having Neal Rosen on the show in 2006 or 2007, and I believe he was in Baghdad. It was a volatile year during the war. To hear him talk about it and to hear the background noise and the tenuous phone line embeds in your brain why you’re compelled to put two years of your life as a master’s student.

Loory: What you do as a commodities reporter in Shanghai?

Yue Li, commodities reporter, Dow Jones Newswires Asia-Pacific, Shanghai, China; producer, 2007: I write about metals markets, like base metals and precious metals, in China. I also cover metals futures markets. We look at prices and output, including production in China and how prices can shoot up from record lows.

Loory: Tell us a little bit about directing Global Journalist for almost 10 years.

Pat Akers, director, Global Journalist: You sit here in Columbia, and you’re in touch with the whole world at one time. I have some special memories of the producers that come and go. Every time one leaves it’s always too soon. I remember trying to track down a Central American president.

Loory:  He was the president of Honduras who was ousted last year.

Akers: We spent about 12 hours that day tracking him down, and we never got him. He kept saying he’d talk, then we would call him back then, and he couldn’t talk. One of the most frightening things was as we listened to one of our guests drive across Iraq, he had to stop at a roadblock and was approached by a crowd of people. We were scared to death that he was going to be shot or killed. It turned out they were warning him to not go through the barricade.

Loory:  There was also gunfire in the background as one of our guests was talking from Ramallah on the West Bank.

Akers: You wouldn’t think sitting in a studio in the middle of Missouri you’d have frightening situations like that, but that is part of real life. That is what we hope to bring to you every week from around the world.

Loory:  There were others besides the student producers who helped make this program successful. Two of them filled in regularly when I was out of town. They are professor emeritus Byron Scott, who founded the Missouri’s international journalism program. He is now in London, running the Missouri Journalism School London program there. The other is Curator Professor Betty Winfield. She is a journalism historian of great renown, and I want to thank both of them. I also want to thank Pat Akers who has been our director almost from the very beginning and the present round of producers from whom we can expect great things. And of course I want to thank our listeners, who have helped to make this program the success that it is.

Producers of Global Journalist are MU journalism graduate students Youn-Joo Park, Angela Potrykus, Melissa Ulbricht, Tim Wall and Megan Wiegand. The transcriber is Pat Kelley.


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