Grant sends JSC professor to Latvia


Michelle Sawyers

Tyrone Shaw

Associate Professor Tyrone Shaw of Johnson State College has received a Fulbright Specialist grant to teach at Riga Stradins University in Latvia for two weeks this April.

In his first week as a Fulbright specialist, Shaw will deliver a 35-hour seminar on media ethics to undergraduates; the second week, he will focus on issues in the American news media, including media conglomeration, coverage of political campaigns and the increasing influence of political advertising in the electoral process, sociological norms within the profession, and the promise of civic journalism.

In addition to teaching journalism and communications at JSC, Shaw has worked as a reporter, a news director for a radio station and a managing editor in northwestern Vermont.

Last February, he visited Riga as the guest of the Latvian Association of Journalists. He conducted workshops in three cities focusing on the corrupting influence of political advertisements on American elections and the complicity of mass media. The visit was largely funded by the U.S. State Department.

In 2009, Shaw received a Fulbright Specialist grant to visit the University of Belgrade in Serbia for two weeks. He delivered a media ethics course to 26 undergraduates.

“Serbia provided an amazing set of experiences for me,” said Shaw. “On my way from the airport into Belgrade, the cab driver insisted on giving me a tour of the damage the city sustained during NATO bombing raids a decade earlier. “He did this more out of sadness than anger. The students, by the way, were smart, motivated and dedicated to that 35-hour seminar. Working with them, as has been the case in other countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, was inspiring.”

While Shaw will be Riga primarily to teach, he said the reality is that he is there just as much to learn.

“I can’t say enough about the Fulbright Specialist program,” Shaw said. “It’s American soft diplomacy at its best, founded on the notion that individual exchanges will lead to greater cultural understanding, which will lead to a more peaceful world.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program promotes linkages between U.S. faculty and other professionals with their counterparts at host institutions overseas. The program currently supports collaborative, two- to six-week projects at host institutions in more than 100 countries.