UA Conference Examines International Media Views of U.S. Election

A one-day conference this month, sponsored by The University of Arizona, will look at journalism and reporting on President-elect Barack Obama, with a particular focus on the Middle East and Latin America. Panels of faculty and journalists will discuss a range of topics, including new media, blogging, international reaction to the new administration, Web-based reporting and access to information.

The conference is sponsored by the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and co-sponsored by the School of Journalism, and the anthropology and Near Eastern studies departments at the UA.

Jon Anderson, a professor of anthropology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker. Anderson studies and has written extensively about religion and politics, the emergence of new media in the Middle East and the "social life of information technologies." His research has taken him to Afghanistan and Pakistan to look at tribalism and Islamic cosmology, and to America's Bible Belt South to observe Catholics. Anderson has been an editor of the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin and held positions with the American Anthropological Association.

Christian Sinclair, the assistant director of the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies, said the conference grew out of a similar one held last fall that focused on how U.S. foreign policy changed over the last eight years. Sinclair said worldwide interest in the November presidential election and its implications for possible foreign policy changes made it one of the most widely covered events in history.

This month's conference, he said, will explore how Obama's election was covered around the world, how media in other countries perceived the election and how the new administration might reshape news coverage abroad in this country.

Panelists include Alan Weisman, author and UA associate professor of journalism, Notre Dame University historian Asher Kaufman and Tom Volgy, UA political science professor and executive director of the International Studies Association.

The conference, "New Horizons: Obama and the Global Media," is Jan. 23, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Marriott University Park Hotel, next to the UA campus. The $20 registration ($10 for students) includes a lunch buffet.

More information about the conference, including online registration, is available at http://cmes.arizona.edu/events/newhorizons.