New Name and New Director for the Adham Center

A former CBS News Middle East correspondent has taken over the helm of the newly renamed Adham Center for Electronic Journalism at The American University in Cairo.

Lawrence Pintak is replacing the center’s founder, Abdallah Schleifer, who is retiring. A veteran of 30 years in journalism on four continents, Pintak has contributed to many of the world’s leading news organizations. More recently, he served as Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan, lecturing on the intersection of communications and international policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and in the Communications, Middle East and Southeast Asia studies programs.

“The Arab media revolution is one of the most important developments in the world today; the impact on international relations cannot be overstated,” Pintak says. “Cairo – and the Adham Center in particular – is at the crossroads of those changes. I can think of no place better suited to witnessing firsthand – and influencing – this evolution.”

The name change, substituting the word “electronic” for “television” in the center’s title, reflects the blurring of the lines between media – what those in the business call “convergence” – as radio, television, print and online media all merge in various digital forms.

“All the media barriers are collapsing. Print journalists do television, TV pieces stream on the web. That’s important for journalism students to understand,” says Pintak, whose background includes a tour as editorial director of a major internet news site. “As for policymakers, they need to recognize that the barriers between time and space are also collapsing. They can no longer say one thing to the home audience and another to those abroad.”

In addition to working with students in AUC’s enhanced undergraduate broadcast journalism program and its new one-year graduate diploma in broadcast journalism, Pintak says the center will seek ways to can increase training for working journalists in Egypt and across the region.

“I also hope to extend the center’s footprint deeper into policy research, initiatives that facilitate the relationship between government and journalists in a more open media environment, and a broad array of work around the dialogue between the U.S. and the Muslim world, as well as developing the center’s ties in Southeast Asia, where I lived for a number of years,” he adds.

Pintak was based in Beirut, Cairo and Amman for CBS in the 1980s, covering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War, the birth of suicide terrorism, and other major stories. In the late 1990s, he reported on the overthrow of Indonesian President Suharto for The San Francisco Chronicle and ABC News. He won two Overseas Press Club awards for his Middle East coverage and was twice nominated for Emmys. Pintak has also advised numerous governments, corporations and NGOs on international media issues. He holds an M.Phil. in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales/Lampeter, where he is currently completing his Ph.D.