Chinese communication students visit Emerson

By Dan O'Brien
July 11, 2013

Chinese students

Zhao Chencheng and Dong Yang were among a group of 30 journalism students from Communication University of China that visited Emerson College July 7-13, 2013. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)

Thirty students from Communication University of China, of Beijing, spent the week of July 12 learning the ins and outs of American-style reporting, as well as marketing and social media.

Dong Yang, who dreams of becoming a broadcaster, has one year left until graduation.

“As a child, I liked telling people interesting stories. I like how that feels,” Yang said. “For further study, I may choose America.”

Dean of Graduate Studies Richard Zauft, who has overseen the CUC student visits, said many of the students are taken aback by the independence American journalists enjoy.

“They asked a lot of questions about the flow of information,” said Lu Ann Reeb, graduate program director for the Department of Integrated Marketing Communication, who is a former television news producer. “We told them we get our information from a lot of different sources, not just law enforcement and the government, but from eyewitnesses and citizens. They were intrigued by that.”

Zauft said Emerson has an agreement with CUC to share academic endeavors and is aiming to increase that collaboration.

“We’re eager to accommodate CUC because it’s the leading university in China for communications,” Zauft said. “We’re very happy the students are here, because college education is about expanding one’s horizons and experiencing multiple points of view.” 

 

“We’re very happy the students are here, because college education is about expanding one’s horizons and experiencing multiple points of view.”

 

The 22 undergraduate and 8 graduate students attended classes that included an introduction to American journalism, television writing and production, and international news reporting.

They also took a class that examined the highly popular “Boston Strong” campaign from a marketing perspective. The campaign raised nearly $894,000 for Boston Marathon bombing victims and was started by two Emerson students.

“They all felt a connection to the bombings because a Chinese student, from Boston University, was among those killed,” Reeb said.

The students visited WHDH-TV, WGBH-TV and Radio, and New England Cable News (NECN) during their stay, along with Emerson’s WERS-FM.

“What impressed me most at NECN,” said student Zhao Chencheng, “was that one of the anchors said his way to report news is by dividing the opinion from the facts. It’s a very responsible way to do news reporting.”

The students asked questions about the role of social media, since Twitter and Facebook are essentially banned in China. The country does have other social media networks, however.

Also involved in teaching the students were Diane Pontius, part-time faculty member in the Visual and Media Arts Department; Melinda Robins, associate professor and graduate program director for the Journalism Department; Shujen Wang, associate professor for Visual and Media Arts; and Douglas Struck, senior journalist-in-residence and associate chair of the Journalism Department.

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