Journalism and Public Diplomacy

Four of us had dinner in Elon tonight with journalism professor Philip Seib, director of the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

He’s written thought-provoking books with titles such as Headline Diplomacy: How News Coverage Affects Foreign Policy and New Media and the New Middle East.

He believes that journalists can play a powerful role in foreign policy by deciding what stories to cover. He also believes that media technologies make it easier to engage in “public diplomacy” — defined as a government reaching out to a public rather than to another government.

As an example, Seib cited President Obama’s speech in Cairo last June in which he spoke directly to the people of the Middle East.

Seib believes Obama has the potential to be the best American public diplomat since Benjamin Franklin, saying: “His global appeal rests partly on his being what the world hopes to see in America: vigor and intelligence, evidence of what freedom’s harvest can yield.” But Seib lamented that Obama’s early foray into public diplomacy — his Cairo speech — contained beautiful rhetoric but no foreign policy initiatives to back it up.

Our students will hear Seib speak tomorrow about “The Global Journalist.”

Explore posts in the same categories: International Communications, People, Special Guests

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