Amid innovations spawned by digital technology, heightened restraints to press freedom, and the surge in news and issues with cross-border ramifications, the idea of reviving “pure” journalism education emerged in the agenda of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Added impetus came from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which has an international reputation for development work in emerging democracies. Seeking to help raise the standards of Asian journalism, the foundation entrusted the Ateneo, a long-time partner in social development, with its regional journalism training program. In June 2000, the Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University was inaugurated. It was envisioned as a hub of journalism education in the region, an oasis of learning for working journalists. In May 2006, “Asian” was added to the center’s name to accurately reflect the true geographical scope of its mandate.
Today, the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University (ACFJ) promotes good journalism by providing training to and educational opportunities for working journalists in Asia.
The ACFJ mandate naturally poses multiple challenges. Take for instance, the diverse cultural, political and economic frameworks that must be taken into account in course contents and teaching methods. Or the task of bringing together journalists from all points in Asia in a single classroom.
ACFJ, as the preeminent Asian hub for journalism education, provides journalists training in the leading edge competencies and in the theoretical and ethical foundations of journalism relevant to the culture and aspirations of Asian societies.
- To promote excellence and professionalism in journalism in Asia
- To ensure continuing professional growth of journalists by offering courses on the craft and best practices of journalism promoting a culture of learning in news organizations initiating discussions of issues vital to the integrity of the news media
- To foster cultural understanding by promoting the exchange of news and commentary encouraging dialogue among journalists and among news organizations
Asian journalists pursuing ACFJ programs may obtain financial support through the ACFJ Fellowships and the financial assistance program. Fifteen fellowship grants are awarded annually to students in MA Journalism while a varying number of fellowships and scholarships are awarded in the other programs.
ACFJ seeks to reach not only the current but also the next generation of working journalists. This commitment is realized in the project to produce textbooks in Asian journalism. They fill a serious gap in journalism education in Asia – the lack of classroom materials that are of Asian provenance. In addition to the books, the journal Asian Currents promotes discussion of Asian issues and serves as instructional resource.
Schools and media organizations may obtain free copies.
ACFJ convenes yearly the Forum for Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism under the sponsorship of the KAS Media Programme Asia. As a venue for lifelong learning for alumni of the master’s program, the forum promotes lively encounters between them and other young Asian journalists on one hand, and public intellectuals and outstanding senior journalists, on the other.