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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

India Studies, Journalism School partner on conference about media coverage of India

Oct. 16, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Several journalists and scholars with decades of experience writing and reporting on Asia will participate in a conference at Indiana University Oct. 22-23, "Reporting India," which examines American media coverage of the world's largest democracy over its 60-year history.

IU's India Studies Program and School of Journalism are presenting the conference at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. It will be held in the State Room East of the IMU from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 and from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Faculty, students and the public are all invited and there is no cost to attend. The IU Office of the Vice Provost for Research also is a conference sponsor.

''We want our journalism students to learn more about reporting the world," said Brad Hamm, dean of the IU School of Journalism. "This year, we decided to focus on India, which is seeing remarkable growth in communications and the economy and offers an area where news readership is increasing. We hope in the near future to send some of our journalism students to India so they can learn from journalists there."

Sumit Ganguly, the Rabindranath Tagore professor of Indian cultures and civilization and director of India Studies, said journalism in India today compares favorably with its American counterparts and is growing despite a proliferation of the radio and television.

"The media's role as a watchdog in India is critical," said Ganguly, co-author of the new book, The State of India's Democracy (Johns Hopkins Press). "It routinely exposes corruption in high places, hounds municipal, state and national authorities for their failures to implement public programs, criticizes government policies and encourages citizen activism. Of course, as in the United States, the quality of news coverage and analysis varies enormously. Some national newspapers are exemplary, others less so."

He hopes the conference will demonstrate how India is an open society where views and ideas can be expressed freely and where democracy and a free press are inextricably intertwined.

In addition to Ganguly and Hamm, other participants in the conference include:

  • Bill Borders, New York Times bureau chief in New Delhi from 1975-79 and former senior news editor at the Times.
  • Barbara Crossette, a travel essayist and a freelance writer on foreign policy and international affairs. A former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, she also is the author of several books on Asia, including So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas (Knopf, 1995), The Great Hill Stations of Asia (Basic Books, 1998) and India: Facing the Twenty-First Century (IU Press, 1993).
  • Sadanand Dhume, a Bernard Swartz Fellow of the Asia Society, a former Indonesia correspondent and New Delhi bureau chief of the Far Eastern Economic Review, and writer for the Asian Wall Street Journal in Jakarta.
  • Miranda Kennedy, editor and producer of the business segment of Morning Edition at National Public Radio in Washington. Formerly the Asia correspondent for the Marketplace Radio based in New Delhi, Kennedy covered Afghanistan's first democratic elections, the Asian tsunami, the Tamil Tiger separatist movement in Sri Lanka, and insurgency along the India-Pakistan border.
  • Karl Meyer, editor of the World Policy Journal since 2000 and a widely published author and commentator on international affairs. He is a former editorial writer for the New York Times and the Washington Post.
  • Steve Raymer, associate professor of journalism at IU and author and photographer of the book, Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora (IU Press, 2007).
  • John Schidlovsky, founding director of the International Reporting Project. Previously the director of The Freedom Forum's Asian Center in Hong Kong from 1993 to 1997, Schidlovsky was a reporter for nearly 20 years, including 13 years with The Baltimore Sun. He led the paper's bureaus in Hong Kong and New Delhi and has covered events in the Indian Subcontinent and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Before joining the Sun in 1977, he was a freelance reporter in Cairo and Beirut, covering the region for NBC, ABC and Newsday.

For more information about the conference, call India Studies at 812-855-5798.