In this alumni profile Italian Fabrizio de Rosa discusses his work as a public relations specialist for a UN agency, and lays a case for why journalism experience is relevant to this role.
Fabrizio De Rosa / Italy
Mundus cohort 2010-2012 / Amsterdam
Fabrizio De Rosa looks at journalism from 'the other' side of the coin: he's a public relations specialist and in this capacity he works to help provide journalists with the necessary tools and outlook to report on crime, justice and human rights. He tells us more about his dynamic job within the United Nations, and how a working knowledge of international relations and journalism scholarship, as well as a multicultural cohort of classmates, is helping shape his career.
Mundus Journalism: What is your role within the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)?
Fabrizio: I support the actions of the Public Information Department. My main activity as project associate is assisting in designing and organizing the UNICRI Journalism and Public Information Programme on New Threats. The programme aims to deepen the knowledge of media professionals in the areas of justice, crime prevention and security through workshops.
MJ: What attracted you to work for UNICRI?
Fabrizio: I see journalism as a form of activism: doing something for the public. Living for some time abroad made me realize how much I am motivated to support activities facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise amongst diverse countries. At UNICRI I found a supportive environment that addresses major issues in the fields of crime prevention, justice and human rights protection, while promoting citizen outreach through awareness campaigns, trainings and research.
Living for some time abroad made me realize how much I am motivated to support activities facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise amongst diverse countries
MJ: How has the Erasmus Mundus programme prepared you for this role?
Fabrizio: The Erasmus Mundus Programme provided me with the tools, expertise and global mindset to adapt to a multicultural organization such as the United Nations. During the programme I learnt how to effectively communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and countries about complex international issues.
MJ: Would you recommend the programme to people wanting to work outside of journalism but still within the field of communications?
Fabrizio: Definitely. Journalism and communication are just two different sides of the same coin. Either you are delivering the first message as communicator or you are interpreting it as journalist. You need to fully understand how media frame information and how the public perceives it. In addition, the Mundus Journalism programme's approach is a perfect balance of media expertise and solid international relations studies.
The Mundus Journalism programme's approach is a perfect balance of media expertise and solid international relations studies. the Mundus Journalism programme's approach is a perfect balance of media expertise and solid international relations studies.
MJ: What was the highlight of your time as an Erasmus Mundus student?
Fabrizio: I will always fondly remember 2011. I left Naples, my hometown, in January to complete the winter semester in Denmark. Then, at the end of February, I moved to California to begin an exchange semester at the University of California at Berkeley, as I was granted a scholarship from the Erasmus Mundus Committee. Finally, I moved to Amsterdam to conclude the two-year master. In the end, I lived in 4 countries in 12 months. I came to realize that my life could fit into a 20 kg piece of luggage.
MJ: What did you learn from studying alongside students from all over the world?
Fabrizio: I learnt that no matter how diverse your cultural background, or how strong your accent is when speaking English, we all carry a sense of belonging to one community. I would recommend this experience to anyone willing to challenge his or her own mindset to achieve a global perspective.
MJ: How do you see the future of journalism?
Fabrizio: Journalism is changing everyday. We have never before had this many tools, at a very cheap cost, to produce excellent news and to connect with the public. The problem is that, with less funding available, increasing time pressure and social media’s “likes obsession”, many media outlets offer low quality journalism, recycling news and undermining professional reporting standards. In the near future, I believe that just a few media outlets will guarantee quality reporting. On the one hand, quality journalism will survive. On the other hand, journalism’s freedom of speech and investigation depends also on its heterogeneity and diversity. It is better to have as many of democracy’s watchdogs out there to guarantee a well informed public sphere.
It is better to have as many of democracy’s watchdogs out there to guarantee a well informed public sphere.It is better to have as many of democracy’s watchdogs out there to guarantee a well informed public sphere.
MJ: And finally, tell us about the series of workshops and short courses that you help to organise through UNICRI?
Fabrizio: The series of workshops take place within the framework of the UNICRI Journalism and Public Information Programme on New Threats. The programme is intended for journalists, public information professionals and those who want to specialize in these areas. Through specialized workshops UNICRI aims to facilitate cooperation and exchange between media professionals and experts in order to improve the quality of information, both nationally and internationally. We are currently planning new courses focused on cyber threats, environmental crimes, radiological and nuclear risks for the fall of 2014.
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