Representatives of academic and media institutions in Asia met recently in Beijing, China to define a model of Asian journalism education in a changing media landscape characterized by the spread of online, mobile and social media platforms, and the scramble for more credible and sustainable news journalism.
Cyril Pereira, former director, Newspaper Operations of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong stressed in this two-day international workshop the need for a digital-era survival course for journalists, highlighted by teaching them skills, among others, in multi-media story-telling, multimedia packaging, interactivity with audience, database profiling and levering and copyright disciplines.
Eric Loo, professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of Wollongong, Australia, said the changing media landscape will not alter the fundamentals of a journalist’s job, that is “ to observe, reflect, survey, select, verify, package and present information and insights about people, issues and events to a niche or mass audience.”
This international workshop on crafting a model of Asian journalism education was part of the five-day conference with the theme “ Responses to Issues in Asian Journalism,” organized by the Konrad-Adenuer Media Programme Asia held from 16-20 August 2011.
In his welcome address, Fr. Jose Cruz, PhD, dean of the School of Social Sciences at the Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines, said, “ teaching and learning in a cross-cultural context is not a problem, but a resource. If there is without the cultural differences our teaching and earning could not be as colorful, challenging and innovative as today.”
Four groups were formed in this international workshop to discuss various elements of Asian journalism education and generate recommendations based on the participants’ experiences, knowledge of recent research findings and other information.
Group I outputs stressed six journalism concepts and practices to be taught: they include critical thinking and communication skills; in-depth knowledge of social science research methodologies – quantitative and qualitative methods, ethnography; media literacy – how to detect spin/inaccuracies/biases; different functions, constraints and responsibilities of journalists in developing and developed countries; notions of media and democracy, media and politics, law and ethics, press freedom and political systems in developing and developed countries, and market-driven commercial journalism versus public service journalism.
Group members said journalism education goals should instill in students a passion for journalism that helps to transform communities, a critical sense of being a mediator of community development, and develop a sense of moral obligation and professional duty to represent the interests of the masses.
On skills courses essential for journalists, Group 2 members recommended core subjects applicable to whatever platform, namely; investigative journalism, news room management, data management and Asian studies.
Group 3 identified effective strategies to teach journalism on a graduate level, namely; education should be hands-on; exposure to relevant high-quality examples is important; link skill training with encouragement of critical thinking and learn from students, and value their input.
Group 4 examined teaching and learning in a cross-cultural context, stressing the need to instill global universal values and perspective, sense of cultural awareness localized to its unique national cultures and contribute to the harmonious world as a global citizen.