Rockwell Completes Speaking Tour in Costa Rica

ST. LOUIS, MO (Sept. 30, 2014) - Rick Rockwell, associate dean of the School of Communications at Webster University, successfully completed a speaking tour of the capital of Costa Rica during the week of Sept. 22.

Among the highlights of the trip, Rockwell served as one of the featured speakers at the First International Congress of the Colegio de Periodistas de Costa Rica. The Colegio serves as the national association of journalists in Costa Rica. The Colegio hosted the conference as a way of celebrating its 45th anniversary. Featured speakers from Argentina, Spain, Cuba, Honduras, and the United States gave presentations at the conference.

Rick Rockwell speaking in Costa RicaIn Rockwell’s featured speech, entitled “Central America: Challenges for Journalism,” he warned that the concentration of media in several of the countries in the region threatened the foundation of democracy and strengthened oligarchic economic and political structures. Speaking in Spanish, Rockwell said, “The concentration of media in the hands of four or six families is not good for the democratic system.” To illustrate, he cited his belief that a similar concentration of media in the United States had decreased the quality of democracy. Rockwell also noted the economic crisis facing media in the region further hurt efforts to diversify ownership. He also spoke briefly about the high levels of violence threatening the media in the region.

All of these themes are explored in further depth in Rockwell’s book, “Media Power in Central America,” winner of a national award from the American Library Association.

As part of a Costa Rican trip that spanned several days, Rockwell spent time addressing students and faculty at the Universidad de Costa Rica (the University of Costa Rica) where he gave a speech on professionalism and ethics in media. During the visit, he toured the university’s Communication Research Center (CICOM, by its Spanish abbreviation).

Rockwell also delivered a speech and workshop for Costa Rica’s Institute of Municipal Development and Consulting (IFAM, by its Spanish acronym). Rockwell’s presentation at IFAM covered better website and social media techniques to create more citizen engagement and transparency.

The U.S. Embassy to Costa Rica in San Jose organized and supported parts of the speaking tour independent of Rockwell’s speech and activities at the International Congress of the Colegio. All of Rockwell’s presentations were delivered in Spanish.

Photo courtesy of Noelia Badilla and used with permission.

 

 

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