Communication Prof is Bound For Brazil Thanks to Fulbright Program

Urban communication researcher Fred Schiff to study upper class society, media in Salvador and Houston

As a leading researcher in the emerging discipline of urban communication, Fred Schiff knows cities. The University of Houston associate professor of communication spends much time researching communities and media trends in a host of metropolitan areas.

Schiff soon will be taking his research to one of Brazil's largest cities as part of the Fulbright Scholarship Program, the nation's foremost international exchange program for scholars. This fall, he will travel to Salvador, Bahia, to teach and conduct research at the Universidade Federal da Bahia. There, he will collaborate in a study focusing on news media and upper class society.

"To receive a Fulbright Fellowship is an honor," Schiff said. "I'm pleased the Fulbright Commission thought that I am worthy and that through my teaching and research proposals I would make a valuable contribution."

Schiff selected Salvador because of its similarities in the size and diversity to Houston, as well as the role of the two cities as leading business and industry hubs. He will interview business, political, media and community leaders and examine their impact on public opinion and public policy in each city.

"We need to study upper class elites as a social class because the rich and famous are the ones who make things happen," Schiff said. "They're the ones who most determine the political policies, economic outcomes and level of living for the rest of society. Such influence often impacts the delivery of news. Studies show that media bias is not due to a liberal or conservative slant but rather the bias consists of the media presenting a top-down view of society."

Schiff is a veteran journalist who has worked in Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He has taught at UH's School of Communication since 1989 and is the director of its Research Institute for Metro-Urban Communication. He also oversees the award-winning investigative news Web site, World Internet News ( Among Schiff's previous honors is a National Science Foundation grant that allowed him to conduct a comprehensive study of 120 daily newspapers in American cities.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Under an agreement with the bureau, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars assists in the administration of the Fulbright Scholar Program. For more details on the program, visit

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