Model curricula for journalism education: A compendium of new syllabi

Date: December 3, 2014
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This compendium of new syllabi represents UNESCO’s strategic response to
the question: How can journalism education continue to renew itself? This is the
question that the Third World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC-3) posed
to its delegates. There are two aspects to this question. The first recognizes
the historical trajectories through which journalism education has evolved. The
second is a call to renegotiate the future trajectory of journalism education.
These questions are framed in an increasingly complex social, political and
economic context. In the aftermath of the 2008 global economic and financial
crisis, journalism faced its most trying moment, especially in the developed world.
And so did journalism education, posing challenges for the future. As Howard
Finberg noted during a speech to the European Journalism Centre (EJC), ‘We need to innovate inside the classroom with new forms of teaching. We need to innovate to make getting a journalism education easier’ (2012). Partly in response to this call for innovation, Dane S. Claussen points to an important study by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which concluded that US journalism needed, among other things, analytical thinkers with a strong ethical sense, as well as journalism skills, specialized expertise, including insights into medicine, economics and other complex topics, and first-hand knowledge of societies, languages, religions and cultures (Claussen, 2012).

Such a role of journalism, incorporating different strands of knowledge, is clearly
recognized globally, beyond the United States of America (USA). For example,
as Berger and Foote (2013) note, genuine university training in journalism is not
only a practice within the rubric of academic freedom, it should (and often does)
operate to promote freedom of expression rights and access to journalistic skills
and platforms to gain such rights. Another journalism education-related freedom
is the freedom to use the learning provided. Journalism skill sets are easily
transferable to other fields. In some cases, students study journalism with no
intention to enter the profession. Instead they learn high-level information and
eight communication skills to further their liberal arts studies or to pursue a related


Publisher: UNESCO
Edition: Series on Journalism Education
Year of Publication: 2013

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