BronxNet’s studio at Lehman College received a very special visit on Friday, December 14.
The U.S. State Department invited six participants to take part in what state officials described as an ‘International Visitor Leadership Program’s Regional Project for the Kyrgyz Republic.’
Called 21st Century Changemakers: New and Traditional Media in the Digital Age, journalists from Kyrgyzstan spent weeks touring various American media centers across the country.
They were featured on BronxNet’s Open World program, in addition to touring the state-of-the-art studio facility.
During the show journalists discussed some major cultural differences between Kyrgyzstan and America.
Journalist Bekbaeva Zhyldyz explained how Kyrgyzstan values democratic values a great deal more than its neighboring nations.
She continued on, mentioning how old Soviet customs still remain present in their media that reflect the tone while reporting.
“American journalists are much more relaxed,” Zhyldyz said. “Scandinavian (journalists) are too,” she added on.
Zhyldyz has spent over a decade covering world news and popular culture in her home of Osh City.
The group of journalists did miss out on a crucial element of American culture, though. Pizza. During their cross-continental journey, at no point did the journalists ever stop for pizza.
Being that their cuisine is much more meat based than a standard American one, pizza wasn’t first on the to-do list.
However, one of the journalist’s favorite treats was scrambled eggs and french-fries.
Although, the group assured this reporter that each journalist would have a slice of pizza before leaving the Bronx.
BronxNet was the final stop on their American tour. Prior to their inaugural trip to the Bronx, the journalists toured both CNN and the Wall Street Journal newsrooms in Manhattan.
The tour also included BronxNet to show the foreign guest a shining example of American, community driven media.
“BronxNet is always proud to share our experiences with journalists visiting the U.S, as media outlets seek to make global connections, and we are particularly honored to be selected by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Program,” said BronxNet’s executive director Michael Max Knobbe.
The dialogue and exchange about media with the distinguished journalists from Kyrgyzstan was mutually beneficial.
Knobbe along with other BronxNet directors learned about the process of becoming a journalist in Kyrgyzstan.
It’s a ten-year process that begins as early as age 15 for anyone ambitious enough in the Asian republic.
Community media in Kyrgyzstan isn’t presented at nearly the volume that’s found in America.
That was something impressive to the visiting journalists.
“We are pleased to serve as a model of community media for content creators and media makers who are seeking more ways to connect with communities locally and globally,” Knobbe added.
As a matter of fact, he gave the journalists something to remember America and the Bronx by while on-air.
After thanking them for coming to BronxNet, Knobbe handed out special edition BronxNet T-shirts to his new foreign friends before their return to Kyrgyzstan.