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Members of China’s Media Come to DU

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Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

Justin Beach

Daniels College of Business hosts Chinese media program


“This is something that started as a dream and now it has become a reality, and I wanted to make sure it was permanent.”

That dream and that reality belongs to John J. Sié, a former DU trustee and the founder of Starz Encore Group. He’s the visionary behind the Chinese Executive Media Management Program (CEMMP) at the University of Denver. Run out of the Daniels College of Business, CEMMP has equipped media executives and government officials with the business skills to ensure a more successful future for China’s media industry for the past 17 years.

Last month the 15th class of Chinese media executives graduated from the program after spending three weeks in the United States. It was the first class to complete the program since a generous $2 million gift from the Anna and John J Sié foundation helped establish the Ron Rizzuto Endowed Chair.

“This program goes back to the original vision of John Sié, who is, of course, from China,” says Ron Rizzuto, endowed chair for excellence in international executive education and director of CEMMP since 2006. “He saw what was going on in China and thought they were making mistakes and were not using the opportunity to learn from other countries, particularly the U.S.”

Fifteen members of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) spent two weeks at the University of Denver and a third week in Washington, D.C., learning about the U.S. media industry. In addition to spending time in the classroom, they also toured Telemundo, CableLabs, Starz, Comcast, Dish Network, CGTV, The Internet & Television Association and Discovery Channel.e

“In China, CEMMP is a very influential program for us,” says Li Xiangdong, who works for China Central Television. “As media professionals, we will cherish our opportunity to be here. We all know that this is a program that has lasted for 17 years, and this year, it’s the first upgraded version of the program, so it’s actually a great honor of mine to be here.”

Last winter, the University of Denver signed a historic five-year agreement with SAPPRFT for its sponsorship of CEMMP.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for DU because this will become the premiere media education program in China,” Rizzuto say. “It will be a natural draw for up-and-coming media executives, build a lot of bridges, and in turn, we will provide visibility for DU in China.”

CEMMP now claims 141 alumni, several of whom have moved into senior-level positions in China’s media industry.

“We get to see the new generation of people coming in and really making their imprint on the Chinese industry, and we effect that in a very small way in terms of educating them on the best practices that we have here,” says Michelle Sié Whitten, one of the founders of CEMMP. “I think this is an amazing legacy for my father, but it’s also a very proud thing for us to make it a legacy for a professor who we have a lot of gratitude and love for, and that’s Ron Rizzuto. He is the heart and soul behind this program and he’s done so much for it.”

The Ron Rizzuto Chair for Excellence in International Executive Education was established in recognition of Rizzuto's 40 years of teaching and research at Daniels. Read more about the gift establishing the endowed chair position.

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