On June 18th and June 19th, SACIV was happy to arrange appointments for a delegation of IVLP visitors from Kazakhstan. These visitors had come to the United States to learn more about the rights, responsibilities, successes, and challenges of a free press. Once here, they were able to travel to a variety of journalistic media and speak with professionals in every area of news provision.
They began by speaking to the veteran local journalist, Rick Casey. Mr. Casey was able to share with our visitors stories of his experience working across the United States in cities like Seattle, Houston, and San Antonio. His years of journalistic experience covering local politics in addition to the compelling anecdotes he was able to share enthralled our guests. Mr. Casey was also able to tell the visitors about about his news program, “Texas Week,” that was broadcast on public television and afforded him a half hour to explore topics with panelists.
Later, the visitors met with Texas Public Radio and learned about how they prepare broadcast news programs in a non-profit environment. TPR shows like “The Source” frequently engage in conversations with community leaders to clarify important local issues. The delegation participants were able to explore their studios and ask questions about how they plan and provide such programming.
On Tuesday, WOAI/KABB opened its doors to our visitors for an exciting look at a U.S. television studio. In addition to a tour of the news desk, research desks, and green screen set-up, our visitors learned a lot about having several stations operating out of a single building all while keeping separate styles and meeting national broadcasting standards set by their parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting. The newsroom tour was definitely a fascinating stop for the visitors.
After getting some experience with radio and TV broadcasters, the group from Kazakhstan then met with journalists at two different kinds of newspapers. Robert Rivard, founder of the Rivard Report, had a lengthy conversation with the delegation over lunch to discuss what it is like operating a non-profit local newspaper that is publicly available with donor support. At the Express-News, visitors were able to see inside the offices of a national newspaper that is run in cooperation with the Hearst Corporation and reports more on topics of national or international interest.
All of these experiences, provided the participants insight into standards and institutions in the U.S. journalistic community. It also allowed everyone to interface about creating new content for a changing media landscape and determine how decisions should be made in news outlets whether they are non-profit or for-profit, large or small, print or televised.