|Idsvoog teaches journalists in former Soviet republics|
Karl Idsvoog, assistant professor, teaches broadcast and online journalism to young professionals in the republics of the former Soviet Union.
From the Republic of Georgia to Azerbaijan to Armenia, Idsvoog has been training student and professional journalists to cover stories in their countries accurately and professionally.
He says the countries are very different culturally from the United States, but from journalistic and teaching standpoints, they are very similar.
“A middle C is a middle C. It doesn’t matter where you are. The fundamentals are the same,” he said.
His first trip was shortly after September 11, 2001 to the Republic of Georgia. Many American journalists were pulling away from their travels to the Middle East and Asia, but Idsvoog didn’t hesitate.
“Was I going to go? You bet,” Idsvoog said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s not everyday you get to teach your profession to people from all over the world.”
After that first trip, Idvoog was hooked.
Since then, he has travelled to several countries teaching journalism.
Culturally, the people are different from Americans, but journalistically, everyone is the same, he said.
“The journalistic instinct is something you either have or you don’t. You’re working with journalists, real people who want to do real journalism,” Idsvoog said.
It was difficult getting used to a new culture, he said. In many of the countries where Idsvoog teaches, it’s illegal to do stories that show the government in bad situations.
“Sometimes you have to think about, what are [the students'] concerns? What will happen if they try to do this story?” he said. In some cases, journalists who try to do stories against the government are punished for their efforts.
“You are not going to suggest to journalists in Azerbaijan that they get super aggressive with a story about government officials. They are going to end up in prison,” he said.
It is rare for a country to have an many journalistic freedoms as Americans. But, Idsvoog said, no matter where he goes, journalism is journalism and that’s why he loves it.
Watch a slideshow of Idsvoog and his students
By Julie Loeper for The Co-Lab.