Photo Courtesy Tim Kenny
Kenny and his class at the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Bucharest, 2005.
Despite the challenges in all three countries, however, Kenny points out that he does not see the education system in America to be without its own array of difficulties.
"People ought to disabuse themselves of the notion that American students are at an advantage as students," Kenny said, referring to Americans as "the most coddled students in the world."
Despite access to better facilities and better professors, Kenny said he believes American students are stifled by an overwhelming sense of entitlement that makes students less focused and motivated. He contrasted this with the Central Asian students he met who, while lacking toilet paper in their bathrooms, were still more engaged in the classroom and more aware of the rest of the world.
This heightened awareness of the world still exists among Kenny's students in Romania, whom he visited last summer. After Kenny donated money to buy a computer and a small number of other journalism supplies, the University of Bucharest expanded on his effort, eventually creating the Timothy Kenny Journalism Lab. With the proper supplies and continued efforts at educating journalists, Kenny said he believes that there is a chance for Romania's press to blossom.
"With the government beginning to ease restrictions on journalism, there is definitely room to hope," said Kenny. "But, in any of these countries, I can't really imagine there being a real Western-style free press any time in the next 50 years. This is really something that the younger generations are going to have to fight for."
Sarah Kopman-Fried is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. This story was written for Journalism 216, Publication Practice, taught by Professor Maureen Croteau.