American dreaming: Critical perspectives on a media training program for emerging democracies

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Since the end of the Cold War, the International Media Training Center has brought dozens of Eastern European journalists to study in non-degree programs at U.S. universities. This study is a cultural critique of one such program. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews, participant observation, and articles from university newsletters. The trainees reveal that support from mentors is often insufficient, and some participants face significant hostility after returning to their native countries. The fast-paced media environments in those countries have not forgiven their yearlong absence: organizational power has been redistributed, connections have been weakened, and new colleagues have aggressively taken over one's old turf. The findings suggest that training a few journalists from disparate media outlets is unlikely to have much effect on media professionalism in emerging democracies, unless the trainees are guaranteed an opportunity to become trainers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalForum Qualitative Sozialforschung
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Crosscultural training
  • Culture shock
  • Ideological transfer
  • Journalism


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