Campus News

Journalism Professor Travels to Russia

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2010) - Buck Ryan, associate professor in the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications and director of the Citizen Kentucky Project of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, recently taught journalism workshops in three Russian cities.

The 12-day trip in June included presentations to the Russian Union of Journalists in Kirov, the Press Development Institute-Siberia in Barnaul, and the Association of Independent Regional Publishers in Rostov-on-Don. The trip was funded in part by IREX, or International Research and Exchange, for a project on civil society supported by the U.S. State Department.

Ryan addressed gatherings that combined newspaper and online journalists with university journalism professors and government communication directors in the three locations. He demonstrated his Maestro Concept approach to story planning, his Media Maestro approach to delivering news across mobile phones, online, Web TV and traditional newspapers, and his Citizen Kentucky Project designed to engage young people in civic life through citizen journalism.

"The one point that received a lot of questions was my Media Maestro approach to raising revenue for publications through affiliated marketing agreements," Ryan said. "Everyone is looking for new economic models to sustain journalism."

During the workshops, Ryan introduced his Maestro Concept to Russian journalists and journalism professors as an innovative approach to story-planning and newsroom organization. Rather than traditional production of news stories, the Maestro Concept emphasizes creativity and collaboration across newsroom staff to increase the quality of high-profile feature stories.

"Traditional approaches to story planning reinforce an assembly-line mentality that works against having time for quality in all areas and keeps people and departments working in isolation," Ryan writes in his book "The Editor's Toolbox: A Reference Guide for Beginners and Professionals," co-authored by Michael J. O'Donnell. "The Maestro Concept challenges these traditional approaches and asks journalists to think about how they might be more successful and have more fun if they go about their work in new ways."

Ryan's concept has been adopted by high school, college and metro daily newspapers in the U.S. as well as newspapers in a dozen other countries. Also this summer, Ryan taught the concept to high school journalism teachers from California, Iowa and Virginia as part of a Journalism Education Association workshop in Washington, D.C.

"It was great to see you again and to witness the real Maestro at work," wrote Victor Yukechev, director of the Press Development Institute-Siberia in Barnaul, Russia, where Ryan conducted a two-day workshop. "Your ideas spurred numerous projects that our regional newspapers are eager to carry out as soon as possible."

Ryan is now in China teaching English news editing and English news reporting and writing to sophomore and junior journalism students at Shanghai University through July 18.

"I managed to celebrate Russia's Independence Day on June 12 in Moscow's Red Square and July 4th in Suzhou (pronounced soo-joe), a beautiful resort outside Shanghai," Ryan said.