During the latter part of the third week of the 2012 SUSI program, the scholars journeyed to Atlanta for two days full of media and cultural visits.
The SUSI summer institute — in which scholars from all over the world come to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University to study journalism and media — is funded by an annual renewable grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Study of the U.S. Branch in the Office of Academic Exchange Programs.
Early on July 26, the scholars visited the headquarters of CNN. Once there, they split into two groups to tour multiple studios and newsrooms, including the domestic and international studios. During the tour, they learned more about how CNN’s media system works.
The scholars were also able to meet with Eli Flournoy, who is CNN Worldwide’s first director of International Newsource. Flournoy grew up in Athens, Ohio, and is an alumnus of Athens High School. Additionally, his father is a professor in OU’s School of Media Arts and Studies.
Dr. Suren Deheryan, the SUSI scholar from Armenia, said that the CNN visit was very interesting. Because he comes from a small country with small media organizations, he felt he could apply what he learned at CNN to help improve Armenian media.
“As a journalist and as a lecturer of media, it is very important for me to be there and to see what CNN is in the U.S., how it works,” he said. “It gives us some ideas about how we can, for example, organize our editorials.”
Later that day, the scholars traveled to World of Coca-Cola, where they were able to learn about the history and marketing of Coca-Cola on an international level. They also tasted samples of Coca-Cola from around the world. According to some of the scholars, some versions of Coca-Cola taste very different than others — and not always in a good way.
On July 27, the scholars began their day by stopping by The Carter Center, where they met with associates who talked about how the center operates around the world. The center works primarily to alleviate human suffering, resolve conflicts, expand freedom and improve health.
The scholars also spent time at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, where they learned about the civil rights movement and the history Atlanta. The site includes King’s birth home, the church where he preached, his tomb, a monument, a rose garden and a visitor’s center.
Scholar Aazadi Burfat, from Pakistan, described the visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site as inspirational, but also described some of the material she saw as “touchy.”
“Segregation is the ugliest form of human pride and arrogance,” she said. “I never imagined that the United States, a very developed and modern society, had those deep social movements and struggles in its history against race, creed and color, like we have in developing societies.”
“(Martin Luther King Jr.’s) idea of nonviolence is so fascinating and needed at this time that it must be promoted,” she said. “He will remain symbol of nonviolence, courage and never ending hope.”
The scholars enjoyed dinner at The Sun Dial Restaurant, an upscale restaurant with three floors, one of which features a 360-degree view of Atlanta’s skyline. They were joined by CNN’s Flournoy. After an evening full of conversation, the scholars observed a beautiful sunset and documented it well.
To end their time in Atlanta, the scholars experienced U.S. nightlife at the Havana Club, where they enjoyed music and danced.