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KNOXVILLE — A University of Tennessee Journalism and Electronic Media professor has signed a contract worth up to $1.2 million to improve journalism education in Jordan.

Professor Sam Swan
Professor Sam Swan
Sam Swan will be doing the project for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The work will be funded by United States Agency of International Development (USAID).

“This contract underscores the strong commitment of Professor Swan, the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and the College of Communication and Information to share our knowledge and expertise with colleagues from other parts of the world,” said Michael Wirth, dean of the College of Communication and Information. The college includes the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.

Swan is the interim director of the college’s Internationalization and Outreach Program. He previously served as the interim director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and was the long-time head of UT’s broadcasting department.

His experience includes more than 35 years in broadcasting, broadcast management, broadcast education, and international media training. He has conducted more than 100 workshops in more than 40 countries on broadcast management and broadcast journalism.

Much of Swan’s international media training efforts have been in cooperation with the Voice of America and the U.S. State Department.

“I have dedicated the last 10 years of my career to international media training in developing and transitional countries around the world. This project in Jordan will continue these efforts to improve the quality of journalism education, media and the development of a free press in the region,” Swan said.

The contract is part of a three-year ongoing project in which Swan and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media will partner with IREX to implement the Jordan Media Strengthening Program. If the project is successful, it will be extended for another two years.

As part of that program, the school will work directly with a Jordanian university to upgrade the quality of teaching.

“Most journalism education in Jordan is theoretical in nature,” Swan said. “Students learn very few practical writing, research, and interviewing skills.”

Swan will work with Jordanian educators to upgrade their radio-TV facilities and seek licenses for student broadcast stations, revise journalism curriculum and update teaching materials. He also will conduct reporting workshops for Jordanian faculty and students, coordinate student and faculty exchanges and develop a joint master’s program with the country’s universities.

“This is a great opportunity for the University of Tennessee to have a lasting impact on journalism education in the volatile region of the Middle East and influence the region’s future journalism and mass communication leaders,” Swan said.
This is just one of the college’s efforts related to the university’s Ready for the World program, a long-range plan to transform the UT campus into a culture of diversity that prepares students for working and living in the global environment of the 21st century.
UT’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media is one of four schools that make up the College of Communication and Information. The other three schools are the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the School of Communication Studies and the School of Information Sciences. Students in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media can choose one of five tracks — traditional and online print journalism; broadcast journalism; science communication; sports journalism; and a magazine option which covers both editorial and management functions.

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,
April Moore, (865) 974-0463,