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From the Dean

A visit to Russia — 20 years later

Mikhail Gusman, the deputy chief of Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency, has some clear views on today's journalism. Blogging and journalism are not the same thing, though journalists may themselves be bloggers. Americans have a pretty unsophisticated view of Russians.

Bierbauer in St. PetersburgGusman and a score of Russian journalists, educators and public officials shared their views in a frank and wide ranging discussion in St. Petersburg last week. "Frank" used to be diplomatic code for officials who simply could not see eye to eye and might not even like each other. Think of Putin and Obama currently.

Gusman is a likeable guy and a gracious host. The three-day dialog was the fourth under the auspices of the US-Russian Presidential Bilateral Commission's sub-group on mass media, but the first at which I was a delegate. We didn't agree on all approaches to the media. In one animated session, the Russians did not agree among themselves on a number of points.

But the dialog — one of a number taking place across a spectrum of disciplines — has value. Twenty years after the Cold War was declared over, there is a chill in US-Russian relations. Edward Snowden was granted a year's visa while we were in St. Petersburg. As a result, Presidents Putin and Obama may scrub a planned bilateral meeting of their own next month and Snowden's shadow will fall on the G-20 economic summit the Russians are hosting in St. Petersburg.

The G-20 will be held in a czarist palace near the famed glittering and gilded Peterhof. I had never gotten to Peterhof, the czar's summer palace, during my days as a correspondent in the Soviet Union. Now I have Gusman and ITAR-TASS to thank for the visit and the reminder of how over-the-top conspicuous consumption can help bring down an empire.

In the late 1970s when I was ABC's man in Moscow, I would on occasion prod the Soviet foreign ministry spokesman with questions on a story I was pursuing. "Read TASS," was the dismissive reply. "When we have something to say, it will be on TASS." There was not much interest in dialogue. That has changed.

For the opening session in St. Petersburg, I was asked to reflect on how journalism shapes perceptions. Read my remarks arrow

While it's not easy to say what the bilateral commission will achieve, no one is dismissing the possibilities. The conversations around the conference table, as well as during the visits to Peterhof, the Mariinsky ballet and, oh, yes, the Vodka Museum are more than I ever got out of TASS in the old days.

Charles Bierbauer

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College News

Journalism faculty and graduate students present at conference

Twenty-three School of Journalism and Mass Communications faculty and graduate students will be presenting, leading panels or receiving awards at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference in Washington, DC, Aug. 8-11.
See a list of all award recipients and presenters arrow

 

Alumni named to My Carolina Board of Governors

Julie Horton and Robin RobertsJulie Horton, '85 broadcast, and Robin Roberts, '76 advertising, are two of three new members of the My Carolina Alumni Association Board of Governors.

Horton is the manager of governmental relations for the city of Greenville, SC.

Roberts is president and co-founder of National Media Group and a 2004 recipient of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Distinguished Alumnus award.

 

Chakales exemplifies "No Limits" spirit, says President Pastides

In the current issue of the Carolinian magazine, President Harris Pastides selects Sarah Chakales, '07 broadcast, as an alumna who exemplifies the spirit of No Limits. Chakales, an international journalist in CNN's Asia-Pacific hub in Hong Kong, points to the opportunities available to her while studying at USC as opening the right doors to her career.
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Reading Rooster Recommends new children's books

In the new episode of Reading Rooster Recommends, Helen Fellers crows about The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame, Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus, The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne and the classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.    

 


Feature

Martin earns award for contributions to childhood literacy

By Annie Lambert

Dr. MartinA passion for music and children's education earned Dr. Michelle Martin a lifetime achievement award from the Clemmie Gill School of Science and Conservation (SCICON) in Tulare County, Calif. Martin is one of 12 recipients of the prestigious recognition since the school was founded in 1957. She was recognized in large part for writing "Big Blue Marble," a song that is still sung by students in the school and considered the "theme song" of the program.

During her time at the school, Martin used music and games to teach sixth grade students geology, astronomy, the life cycle and aquatic ecology. While at SCICON, Martin honed her musical skills and discovered a way to reach children not touched by other teaching methods.

Now the Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy in the School of Library and Information Science, Martin has developed programs, such as Camp Read-a-Rama, that use singing, arts and crafts, reading and games to help children in the community combat summer learning loss.

"Music helps to make ideas more memorable, and encourages us to move while we're learning," Martin said. "That's an important component of hands-on education: learning in multi-sensory and even in multi-disciplinary ways. I've found that music helps to bring all of the disciplines together in fun ways."

As she continues in her role in the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, Martin hopes to get USC students more involved in community outreach and volunteer work.

"I would like to see a substantial percentage of USC students helping to solve our crisis of illiteracy. In a state with such high illiteracy rates, it should be everybody's business to help solve the problem."

 

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SAVE THE DATE

Washington, D.C. Alumni Gathering
Clyde's of Gallery Place
707 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013
5 p.m.
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Atlanta Alumni Reunion and Networking Event
Thursday, Sept. 26
Time and location TBD

Gamecocks on the Green
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013

For more information,
contact Annie Lambert at lambert@sc.edu
or (803) 777-6791.

 


 

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