American Dreaming: Critical Perspectives on a Media Training Program for Emerging Democracies


  • Miglena Mantcheva Sternadori University of South Dakota



journalism, cross-cultural training, culture shock, ideological transfer


Since the end of the Cold War, the International Media Training Center has brought dozens of Eastern European journalists to study in non-degree programs at U.S. universities. This study is a cultural critique of one such program. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews, participant observation, and articles from university newsletters. The trainees reveal that support from mentors is often insufficient, and some participants face significant hostility after returning to their native countries. The fast-paced media environments in those countries have not forgiven their yearlong absence: organizational power has been redistributed, connections have been weakened, and new colleagues have aggressively taken over one's old turf. The findings suggest that training a few journalists from disparate media outlets is unlikely to have much effect on media professionalism in emerging democracies, unless the trainees are guaranteed an opportunity to become trainers. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs100376


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Author Biography

Miglena Mantcheva Sternadori, University of South Dakota

Miglena STERNADORI received her PhD in journalism from the University of Missouri (2008). She is an assistant professor of journalism and coordinator of the Women's Studies program at the University of South Dakota. Her research focuses on media effects, news routines, and gender/race stereotypes in the context of print and online news.




How to Cite

Sternadori, M. M. (2010). American Dreaming: Critical Perspectives on a Media Training Program for Emerging Democracies. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 11(3).