UNESCO Chair in International Journalism
Description and Mandate of the Chair
My current focus is on producing in-depth journalism that explores aspects of art, culture and communication. I am working in both documentary film and non-fiction narrative where my emphasis is on works that highlight issues in intercultural understanding. I remain involved with journalism education, engaging with both students and professional journalists on questions of media representations specifically as they relate to gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The chair also has a long standing interest in and focus on media coverage of traumatic events.
I have had the opportunity to return to Germany and re-establish connections with the German-American Fulbright Commission as well as the RIAS Berlin Commission and to continue area research that began three decades ago. I received a competitive grant from the Goethe-Institut to conduct interviews in Berlin, Munich and other locations in Germany to examine developments in German graduate education which is increasingly international in scope and in student body composition. The resulting audio production became part of the Institut’s « Big Pond » series.
In 2019 I returned to Germany to participate in programs organized by the RIAS Berlin Commission marking the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The same year I participated in an international conference on « Building Bridges » hosted by the Fulbright Berlin Commission and the University of Arkansas. The event examined the role Fulbright’s educational and cultural exchanges have played in American public diplomacy and foreign policy since the end of the Second World War as well as the role citizen diplomats can play in promoting international understanding.
With respect to gender issues, I produced a research paper for the on one of the first women to have professional success and prominence as a Hollywood screenwriter. Isobel Lennart (1915-1971) was a prolific, critically acclaimed Hollywood script writer whose own life was replete with the drama of which films are made. In creating screenplays, she once said, « you write about yourself a lot. » She used her triumphs over adversity, illness and loss, as well as her romances, heartbreak and political persecution, for inspiration and insight into the characters she created. She was a creature of Hollywood, but her biggest success was on Broadway with the iconic musical Funny Girl, a story that explored the kind of relationship struggles Lennart faced in her own marriage. Of her 29 produced screenplays, both original and adapted, many focused on women, extraordinary women and ordinary women who did extraordinary things. My paper appears in the International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication.
I also published reports in the Denver Post on women in the arts. See, for eg.:
https://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/03/georgia-okeeffe-museum-new-mexico/ Finding Your Own O’Keeffe Moment in New Mexico.
https://www.denverpost.com/2016/05/19/mabel-dodge-luhan-show-an-ambitious-project-at-taos-harwood-museum/ Mabel Dodge Luhan Show an Ambitious Project at Toas’ Harwood Museum.
2017 « Como Fue: A Cuban Journey »
This documentary film tells the story of Guillermo Vidal, a Cuban refugee who became mayor of Denver, Colorado. Vidal came to the United States as part of the US government’s Operation Pedro Pan. Initiated in the aftermath of the Castro revolution, the program airlifted thousands of unaccompanied children for re-settledment in the US. Vidal was placed in a Catholic orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado at age 9. The film recounts his journey from orphan to mayor to advocate for immigration reform and follows him on a return to his family home in Camaguay, Cuba. The film was shot and edited by journalism students at the University of Colorado, Boulder who traveled with me to Cuba to produce the film.
2015-2016 « Taking the Lead: Colorado Edition »
This documentary film explores the award winning and ground breaking work done by high school journalism students in the state of Colorado. Among those featured in the film is a 17-year-old student journalist who posed as a drug-addicted drop out attempting to enlist in the US military. His expose unveiled a national scandal in recruiting tactics by the US Army and captured a prestigious Peabody Award, the highest accolade in broadcast journalism. The film was produced as part of a class I taught at the University of Colorado. As an outgrowth of the film I was named to the advisory board of the Youth Documentary Academy based in Colorado Springs, CO, a position I still hold.
Prof. Marguerite Moritz
Chairholder for UNESCO Chair in International Journalism
College of Media, Communication and Information
University of Colorado
Tel. (+1) 303 492-1610