Chinese visitors take away new views on journalism from Kent State’s student media

Amy Szabo

International students study election coverage

Rick Senften, instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was one of the many presenters at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association workshop. He led local high school students in a discussion on how to develop a question for news stories.

Credit: DKS Editors

As part of the Ohio Scholastic Media Association workshop, students were given the opportunity to work in the TV2 newsroom with the staff. Jeremy Wheel and Lydia Long of Hoover High School receive a few pointers from Aaron Martin, a senior broadcast journ

Credit: DKS Editors

Chinese students from Shanghai University visited Kent State to watch election coverage and left with another impression of Ohio.

“We didn’t expect the snow,” said Li Qing, second year master’s student at Stanford University in California. “It’s so cold.”

The students and professors spent the past two days on campus to observe how students covered the election and were amazed at how the student media was run.

“It’s very professional, especially for students,” said Ye Zhu, associate professor of journalism and communications at Shanghai University. This was his first time coming to America.

At Shanghai University, Zhu said the student media isn’t as large, nor do they take reporting and news coverage as seriously as students at Kent State do.

“What impressed me most was that it’s not just a job for students,” he said. “It’s a learning experience for a life-long career.”

Li Qing attended Shanghai University as an undergraduate. She heard about the university’s trip and asked if she could “crash the group.”

“I’m partly traveling with them for experience – it’s an American election!” Qing said.

For Qing, who lives in typically Democratic California, Ohio is a new because it is a swing state.

“It’s totally different than California,” Qing said.

Cao Jingxing, professor of journalism and communications at Shanghai University and Phoenix TV commentator, was the leader of the group. Jingxing, described by Qing as China’s Charles Gibson, has been to the U.S. six or seven times before.

In his eyes, Kent State’s student media is very normal.

“Shanghai is less formal, smaller,” Jingxing said.

What he learned about Kent State’s student media is how the students work.

“Students get impression(s) from fellow students,” he said. “Students practice for real reporting.”

Gary Hanson, professor of journalism and mass communication at Kent State, said a majority of the students were interested in pursuing a master’s degree at Kent State.

Among the various activities during the day, the Chinese exchange students sat in on Hanson’s Reporting Public Affairs class. The class is a mix of print and broadcast students who cover the election for The Daily Kent Stater and TV2. The Chinese students asked Kent State students how they cover the election.

“It was very interesting watching the Chinese and American students interact,” Hanson said. “The Chinese students were really interested in the mechanics of (the coverage).”

Hanson said he remembers reading something about the possibility of more Web pages being written in Chinese than in English.

“I am convinced that China will be an influence in this country during this generation,” he said.

Kent State was just the first stop of the group’s visits. From here, they will travel to Washington, Penn State, Philadelphia and New York. They will watch the election take place at Penn State.

“New York is for more of a fun time,” Qing said with a laugh, “to prove they had the American experience.”

Contact College of Communications and Information reporter Amy Szabo at [email protected].