Brazil's Media, Peace Corps Round Out Mike Stricklin's Global Experience

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Brazil: Peace Corps Brazil: The Peace Corps in Brazil: Brazil's Media, Peace Corps Round Out Mike Stricklin's Global Experience

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, June 23, 2001 - 3:01 pm: Edit Post

Brazil's Media, Peace Corps Round Out Mike Stricklin's Global Experience

Brazil's Media, Peace Corps Round Out Mike Stricklin's Global Experience

Brazil's Media, Peace Corps Round Out Stricklin's Global Experience

By Scott Franzen, Public Relations Intern

Mike Stricklin believes that one can not be a true global citizen without knowing another culture.

The professor of news-editorial journalism and director of graduate studies in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications became entranced by Brazil's culture while in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s.

His Brazilian experience began in 1966 just after he graduated from Baylor University. Stricklin and his wife, Chere, spent two years in Brazil with the Peace Corps. Besides knowing that Brazil was the largest country in South America and at the time sported the world's best soccer team, the couple knew little about the country. The intrigue of experiencing the mysteries of Brazilian culture and what secrets the tropic nights held added to their decision to choose Brazil.

"I was prepared to try out a different culture but didn't know what to expect," Stricklin said.

During those two years, the couple started a kindergarten in Brejo Grande ­ which means 'big swamp," a small rice-growing village along Brazil's Atlantic coast. A study had shown a chronic 100 percent failure rate among the first-grade class because the children entered school without the basic tools of learning, such as knowing how to hold a pencil. The kindergarten was created to better equip the students with fundamental tools to succeed in first grade.

Although he didn't teach at the school, being an instrumental part of helping young children learn was deeply gratifying, he said. The experience showed them how two ordinary people could make a difference at a local level.

In 1986, 18 years after he finished his Peace Corps duty, Stricklin again traveled to the land of the Amazon and Carnival revelry, when he got involved with the Partners of America exchange program. He's since been to Brazil six times.

He spent the fall semester of 1999 at the Federal University of Paiui as a Fulbright Scholar and visited again last summer. He has spent eight of the last 12 months in Brazil.

As a result, he has become well versed in Brazilian culture. The visits increased his perspective of evaluating American culture and society, he said.

By infusing his knowledge of Brazil into his journalism classes at UNL, he hopes his students learn how to evaluate and discuss news and issues occurring globally.

The Federal University of Paiui is UNL's sister university in Brazil. When he's there, Stricklin teaches Brazilians how to adapt to the functions of the freedom of the press.

Freedom of the press is a relatively new concept for Brazilians; it was voted into their constitution in 1988 and they are still learning how to view and adapt to the media as a tool of communication in their society.

"We take the freedom of the press for granted and have to physically remove ourselves from it, (but) Brazil is still adjusting to it after 12 years of having it as a part of their constitution," Stricklin said.

During the four months he spent there in 1996, he taught the first university course on the Internet, which was modeled after the Cyberspace and the Mass Media from the Grassroots course offered in UNL's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

On a later trip, it was gratifying to hear one of his students in that course that tell him that he now uses the Internet all the time in his e-commerce business.

"It is exciting to help prepare young journalists for Brazil," he said.

The different cultures and social values of Brazil create a unique environment climate in which to critique Brazilian journalism.

Stricklin finds that Brazilian journalists are more sensationalistic in their reporting. They are more aggressive about sending an abundance of reporters out to cover different events, he said.

"What I worry about is that they don't know what to do (once encountering their assignment subject) and end up sensationalizing it," he said.

The position of journalism and media in Brazil currently parallels what American media were like in the pre-Jacksonian democracy in the 1820s, Stricklin said. Then, American newspapers were entirely partisan, much like Brazilian newspapers today.

There is no expectation of objectivity in the media in Brazil, as opposed to here in the United States, where there is homogenized news, Stricklin said.

One shared trait is that neither system has been revolutionary. Newspapers in both countries are very local in perspective, he said.

Along with George Tuck, news-editorial photography professor, Stricklin is seeking funds to translate an editing textbook into Portuguese for Brazilian students. None exist right now.

Gearing up for his trip next May, Stricklin is involved in setting up and participating in workshops for media professionals, attorneys and judges to learn what freedom of the press means and how to deal with it.

By tyrone brown ( on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 8:09 am: Edit Post

your girls, ladies and women are tooooooo much as well as the view of the island. why theres so much povity over there is beyond me.

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