États-Unis, Austin

UNESCO Chair in Communication
(Knight Chair in Journalism)

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Description and Mandate of the Chair

The UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin works in combination with the Knight Chair in Journalism.  This center provides high-level training, resources, news and information to journalists from around the world.

Professor Rosental Calmon Alves was appointed to the UNESCO Chair since 2003.

« Since 2002, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin has led professional training and outreach for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.

« We have helped independent journalists in the Western Hemisphere to create a new generation of associations and other organizations to elevate the standards of journalism in their countries.

« Our training programs have benefited thousands of journalists and journalism professors and students throughout the Americas and beyond. »

The emphasis of the joint program has been in areas such as:

  • International journalism in a globalized world, including the flow of international news, the work of foreign correspondents, and the creation of a “global journalism” that seeks a planetary audience, etc.
  • Journalism in Latin America, emphasizing the struggle for the establishment or consolidation of free press, the role of journalism in democratization processes, the quality of journalism, etc.
  • The impact of Internet on society in general, but especially on journalism, emphasizing the emergence, all over the world, of a new genre of journalism that takes advantage of the capabilities of the World Wide Web.

Professor Alves is also the founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, created in 2002, thanks to a generous donation by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The center has benefited thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean with training and capacity building projects.

Another highlight of the joint program UNESCO Chair/Knight Chair is the International Symposium on Online Journalism that Professor Alves has been organizing annually since 1999. The event attracts the participation of editors and scholars from around the world for a two-day conference in Austin, Texas. Besides the industry related sessions, the symposium has also a research component, including a call for papers. A blind-review panel composed of professors of several universities selects the best research papers for presentation during the symposium.

The UNESCO Chair at the University of Texas at Austin has collaborated with UNESCO in many projects, especially in the area of online education through the Knight Center’s distance learning platform, JournalismCourses.org. More than 12 000 judges and other officials of the courts in Latin America and Spain have participated in various iterations of the online course “The International Legal Framework of Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists.” The program was offered by the Knight Center in association with UNESCO and the Office of the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression at the Inter American Commission of Human Rights.

In the first year of the pandemic (2020-2021), more than 15 000 of journalists from more than 170 countries and territories participated in multilingual online courses and webinars on how to improve their news coverage of COVID-19. These programs were produced and offered by the Knight Center, in association with UNESCO, WHO and UNDP. Between 2012 (when the center started its massive open online courses for journalists), and 2021, the MOOCs organized by the UNESCO Chair in Austin, Texas, have reached 250 000 people in 200 countries and territories.   

(Ver. 09-2021)

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