Friday, 09 July 2010 18:16

Next WJEC in Belgium, 2013

Brussels is the venue of the 3rd World Journalism Education Congress, to be held in the European summer of 2013. The hosts are the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) and the Flemish/Dutch Network of Journalism Institutes (VNOJ).

The WJE Council meeting in Istanbul in mid-2011 set parameters that the maximum registration price will be 350 Euros for the three-day congress, with tiers of payment dependent on the economic level of delegates’ home countries. There should also, said the Council, be a minimum of 30 scholarships for attendees from developing countries.

A planning meeting will be held in 2012. This will be hosted by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), as part of its centennial celebration. The venue is Chicago, and dates are August 9-12, 2012. The AEJMC will provide complimentary conference registration to all WJEC member representatives as well as hospitality for a one-day meeting. (Meanwhile, see recent articles compiled for the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication on WJEC 2010 by Robyn Goodman and Joe Foote).

The WJE Council also encouraged journalism educators to use World Press Freedom Day in 2012 as a venue for launching bilateral discussions between journalism programs internationally. During 2011, a number of schools took advantage of the day to organise similar activities (see story below).

3 MAY: WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY is a way to keep our international relationships thriving in between tri-annual congresses.

Take a moment during April 2011 to identify and contact a counterpart in a different country, with the aim of planning a symbolic link-up on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May. This is an initiative that's won letters of support from two prestigious international bodies who recognize the importance of our sector: UNESCO and Wan-Ifra (the global publishing industry).

We suggest that you:

  • Check the WJEC census to locate an interesting counterpart -  see
  • Then connect across North-South boundaries, even spanning language differences.
  • Possibly involve your students in multi-lateral emails or Skype dialogue with their counterparts elsewhere.
  • Do a distance-mediated joint seminar, or just share the top three issues around press freedom in your mutual environments.

Let's evolve this collaboration into the equivalent of an annual Earth Day observation, and help put global journalism education into practice on a sustained basis.

Please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and we'll publicise them here. And when the council of the WJEC meets during the IAMCR in Istanbul (July 13-18), we can celebrate the achievement.

Other news: WJEC convenor Joe Foote says of the 2010 WJE Congress: "There was a special spirit there that I hope still remains with the delegates.  It was a great week for journalism education from the plenaries to the syndicates to the individual conversations". Proposals for the next WJEC will be considered in mid-2011, at the IAMCR conference in Istanbul (July 13-18). IAMCR is offering a 50 Euro discount for the official WJEC delegates (one to an organization) who attends the meeting.  The IAMCR website is

In 2010, Joe Foote also responded on behalf of the WJEC to a solidarity request by South African educators who are facing strong pressures on press self-regulation and information transparency, writing a letter to the SA president. A total 19 South African schools published a statement in the local  press on the matter, and many organised activities around this. Rhodes itself convened a colloquium on 16-17 October 2010 which was attended by representatives from 18 South African j-schools - with key policy-makers as respondents. The colloquium statement highlighted the value of academic research in the context of a polarised debate. Eight papers from the colloquium have now been submitted to a special edition of Ecquid Novi: African Media Studies.

In a meeting at the AEJMC conference in Denver in August 2010, several exciting ideas were put forward as possible WJEC activities between now and 2013:

  • Extend the existing WJEC global census of journalism schools to include providers beyond than higher educational institutions (see

  • Encourage journalism schools worldwide to use the same census to identify a foreign partner institution and link up the different students on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May (a date that is recognized and commemorated annually by UNESCO, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors' Forum.

  • Read the report on WJEC 2010, and an article that was published in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

Coverage of the final day of the WJEC and Highway Africa is now online in a special online edition of "Open Source", the daily newsletter of the conferences. There's a great photo of Archbishop Tutu and a vivid accompanying story on the front page of the pdf. See him also on (and other WJEC videos)

You can also find the earlier editions online: Day 1 - Monday 5 July, Day 2 - Tuesday 6 July, and Day 3 - Wednesday 7 July.






Caption: Archbishop Tutu closed WJEC by signing the Declaration of Table Mountain on African press freedom.

Links to articles about the conference:

Insights, by Robyn S. Goodman, Alfred University

Insights, by J. Foote, University of Oklahoma

SA and the future of journalism

Should j-education conquer the world?

US Academic predicts resurgence of professional journalism

Where is the source of our pride?

Story from World Association of Newspapers

World Association of Newspapers on Tutu signing the Table Mountain Declaration (en Francais)

Radio France International coverage

MediaShift: Journalism Education 2.0: Training in an Age of Radical Change

AEJMC members attend the WJEC

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Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu provided words of inspiration to journalists and academics at the closing ceremony of the World Journalism Educator's Congress and Highway Africa Conference.

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all," he told delegates. Tutu became a signatory to the Table Mountain Declaration calling on governments in Africa to abolish insult laws and criminal defamation laws in Africa. These laws are seen as among the chief impediments preventing free and open criticism of African governments through the vehicles of the press.

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Organising Committee chair, Joe Foote calls WJEC2 the "coming out party for journalism education". Foote believes that potential hosts bidding for the next Congress in three years time will have a tough act to follow.

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Thursday, 08 July 2010 15:42

WJEC 2 is a smashing success

The World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) has been a smashing success, organisers and delegates declared yesterday. The congress, the second of its kind, had the objective of education and networking for journalists and journalism educators from around the world.


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Thursday, 08 July 2010 15:25

Educators push for new J-school curricula

Students decide to study journalism at university level in order to fulfil a desired lifestyle, this was the main point raised in two of the research papers discussed during the session on Transforming J-Education at the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC), yesterday. Four research papers were discussed during the session which looked at the different approaches that universities in certain countries address while teaching journalism.

The session tackled the difficulties of teaching journalism and the changing times in which journalism educators have to teach the craft. Discussant, Professor Ian Glenn from the University of Cape Town, noted that it was interesting how some students had unrealistic expectations of studying journalism and of the profession.

Professor Jan Jirak from Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic said that although journalism is a preferred profession in his country, it is not well-respected. Students are not fully aware of the field they are entering before applying to study journalism, he said. Jirak described how, since 1990s and the development of the free market, journalism has evolved and become hyper-commercialised. “This has resulted in journalism education merely adopting the features of US and European education,” Jirak said, “Old skills are implemented in the new frameworks.”  

Rhodes University lecturer Priscilla Boshoff picked up on the same theme of journalism students entering institutions to study journalism without a critical understanding of the field in her paper There is no Curriculum. Boshoff focused on the perceptions and expectations of students studying Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University and made a distinction between those from elite schools (public and private) and those from schools in rural areas. Her research shows that while learners from wealthier schools are taught to be critical, they believe that the news adequately represents reality and think that opinionated news is good.

Meanwhile, students from poorly-funded schools, who may be academically challenged, are more accommodating to critical thought, Boshoff said. “They think that news does not address the needs in society adequately and do not think highly of opinionated news,” she said. Boshoff’s paper also questions why journalism educators don’t scrutinise the disparity in class at universities.

Taking up the issue of creating curricular for students from different backgrounds, Senior Lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda, Dr. Monica Chibita, raised the question of how to teach journalism without losing its “Africaness” to western methods. Chibita said that journalism education in East Africa needs to teach students to produce locally relevant but not naïve texts. She addressed the need for journalism education to include teaching in English as well as local languages, computer skills and internships.

The need for internships in journalism education was also stressed in the paper by Dr. Lillian Williams from Columbia College in Chicago, USA. 

She demonstrated the importance of students undertaking internships, both for their own experience as well as a way of getting direct feedback about their abilities. It may be problematic however, Williams said, as the supervisor may be able to assess whether a student can write, but not their views on ethics or diversity.

Chibita says, entering the field during their tertiary education will ensure students are prepared to face the challenges that the field presents to them. 

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Thursday, 08 July 2010 12:46

WJEC's impact to ripple into the future

The delegates of the second World Journalism Education Congress, which was held at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, are on their way home to spend some time unpacking what was covered at the congress, because the only antidote for information overload is information download.

Many of them would wish to click ctrl+z but the system would promptly tell them "can’t undo". Some adventurous ones among them would also want to click repeat but the information savvy ones probably kept pressing ctrl+s.  With the array of topics, the intimidating list of scholars, the enabling ambience of the venue and the insightfully detailed preparation of the organisers, the conference could not but have been the huge success it was. The participants were often at a crossroads as to what to sign up for and who to listen to. Sometimes the choice was so difficult that tossing a coin was a considerable option.

The entire Congress was not devoted to academics alone; there were special meet your heroes, sponsors or policy makers sessions.  The opening keynote speaker was Adv Pansy Tlakula, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa.  While Monday the 5th July saw delegates having dinner with former President of Ghana, Mr John Agyekum Kufour, Wednesday 7th of July was an African night out with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who gave the closing keynote speech.

There were 14 syndicate discussions and two specialised ones for Chinese and French language speakers. The syndicate discussions  covered topics such as Entrepreneurial Journalism; Diversity in Journalism Education; Democracy and Media Innovation in Africa; Teaching Mobile Journalism; The Ultimate Journalism Education; Optimising Cooperation in University-based versus Industry-based Journalism Education; Teaching Mobile Journalism; Journalism Research and Journalism Education; Blogging/ Reflective Writing as Teaching Methods; Social Media, Citizen Journalism and Media Curators; Teaching Climate Change in Journalism Classrooms; Journalism Ethics; Teaching Media Literacy as well as  Media Training, Journalism Education and Gender Equality. All the sessions were well attended and the participants generated robust communiqués which were reported back  to the general assembly on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th July.

Research papers were presented in 11 simultaneous sessions and the themes were as varied as the interests of the presenters. A total of 158 abstracts were submitted. As is usually the case, a few of the presenters could not make the congress because of issues ranging from difficulties in securing visas, lack of  funding and other intervening circumstances. Papers were presented on topics ranging from Conflict issues, Youth and Transition, Work Perception and Prospects, Training and Industry Changes, Citizen Journalism, Pedagogy and Scholarship, Ethics and Self Regulation, The Interface between Classroom and Newsroom. African Journalism Education with submissions and case studies from across the continent; Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana ,Rwanda, among others; Culture and Power, Industry and Social Issues, Pluralism and Impact, Sport Representation, Power and Identity as well as The role of the Media in Social Change.

The most “colourful’’ outing at the congress, without doubt, was tied to the reason why South Africa is the current global news hotspot - the 2010 FIFA World Cup. One of the major sponsors of the World Journalism Education Congress and the Official Sponsor of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, MTN painted the congress YELLOW on Tuesday night. The event was the MTN dinner which was accompanied by the match between Netherlands and Uruguay. The venue was the Great Hall and the décor was in the corporate yellow colour of MTN. The night was cold and as if MTN was responsible for the change in weather, every delegate was kitted in bright yellow mufflers and head warmers to fight the cold. In addition, delegates had the ‘cheeky’ experience of blowing yellow Vuvuzelas or pretending to blow one.

The World Journalism Education Congress has come and gone but the educators, journalists, students, media consumers, curricula, teaching and the entire media landscape will for a long time feel the impact of this power packed event.

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Thursday, 08 July 2010 12:31

WJEC ends on a positive note

The closing session of the World Journalism Education Congress took place at the Eden Grove Red lecture theatre on Wednesday afternoon. The Chair for the plenary was Guy Berger, Head of School of Journalism and Media Studies Rhodes University, South Africa. After brief introductory remarks, he gave the podium to Joe Foote, of World Journalism Education Council for the reportback on WJEC 2.

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Wednesday, 07 July 2010 17:25

Who's afraid of big bad (face)book?

An earlier post pinpointed some of the challenges that surfaced in a WJEC syndicate discussion around the topic of social media(SM) and the implications for journalism educators (J-Eds). But as everyone knows it is one thing to  ask the questions; it is often something quite different to find answers.

However, an attempt was made to suggest a way forward if JEs are going to recognise SM as a worthy ingredient in  any well-rounded  journalism training recipe. To this end then Julie Posetti, who had chaired the syndicate, presented a list of six recommendations.  While not exhaustive and somewhat skeletal (they await further fleshing out when the final syndicate report  appears  at a later stage), they do nevertheless present current J-Eds with something to chew on. So what do J-Eds need to do?

1.    Accept that as a result of new media developments , SM should  increasingly be considered an essential component in any journalism training initiative, even where lack of connectivity  seems to pose problems, and especially in view of the fact that the ubiquitous cellphone has levelled the playing fields.

2.    Such acceptance requires that J-Eds themselves, although perhaps not directly involved in training, have an abligation to keep  abreast of SM developments.

3.    The onus would appear to fall on J-Eds to find ways of embedding SM practice into aspects of the so-called ‘traditional’ journalism curriculum.

4.    J-Eds need to be sensitive to the debate surrounding journalism ethics and professionalism especially as it pertains to the use of SM in journalism, what Posetti calls “managing the Personal/Professional divide”.

5.    Be prepared to teach and support students, through SM use,  in building networks of professional contacts that extend beyond  friends and local news.

6.    Explore the use of SM as a vehicle to get students excited about  topics which interest them and engage in, and collaborate with, local communities.

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Wednesday, 07 July 2010 11:57

Book launches for Africa

A collection of scholarly works on media policy reforms in Southern Africa has been launched at Rhodes University in South Africa.

The book, Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa  was edited by two Zimbabwean scholars, Dr Dumisani Moyo, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Literature and Languages at Wits University and Wallace Chuma from the University of Cape Town.

The book seeks to bridge the gap in the policy and regulatory sphere, as not so much has been written about in the region.

“This book is an attempt to review media reforms that have taken place in the last 20 years,” said Dr Moyo.

The book traces the media policy reforms that have taken place in the six Southern African countries namely Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, since the Windhoek Declaration of 1991.

“A lot has happened since and there is not much that has written about by African scholars. What we are doing is sort of taking stock of what has happened since the broadcasting charter was drawn up in Windhoek,” added Dr Moyo.

The book is ideal for those in media policy advocacy as well as for students and the public in general. A major strength of the book is its focus on policy-making across media sectors, including broadcasting, print and the new information and communication technologies. It represents an effort to bring to debate on media policy reform back to the centre, to initiate a stock taking exercise.

Another book also launched during the ongoing WJEC here is, Challenges and Perspectives of Digital Migration for African Media by Professor Guy Berger, head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.

The book sets out the issues involved in digital transformation in broadcast media from the viewpoint of African media stakeholders and especially, community radio stations. It aims to correct widespread misconceptions that analogue radio will cease to exist in the next five years as part of ‘digital migration’.

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Wednesday, 07 July 2010 11:09

CNI networks global student journalists

College Newsnet International (CNI) is exciting, because it gives global exposure to students. “Student journalism is the purest, freshest and most exciting voice out there,” says Mary Cardaras, head of Digital Media and Communications at the New England Institute of Art in Boston.

CNI is a global approach to the practice of journalism – by students for students. Cardaras is partnering with Dr Robyn Goodman, head of Communication Studies at Alfred University in New York, to create an online global website. Here, student journalists can submit news articles, photographs, podcasts, videos and cartoons, with their news attracting global audiences and international exposure. The website is set to launch in September 2010 but, student journalists are encouraged to register before this, so they can submit their work when CNI makes its much anticipated debut.

Cardaras modelled CNI on CNN’s World Report which welcomes viewpoints from TV networks across the world. Its approach allows student journalists from all over the world to see what’s going on in other countries and continents. This international forum will change perceptions about countries outside Western Europe and North America and provide journalists with information to learn, share and connect. Cardaras told Open Source, that CNI can eradicate some of the stereotypes of the African continent. “Africa gets bad press in the Western world. The presence and voice of Africa on CNI will change the perception to something positive and exciting,” she says.

Cardaras explains how the creation of a global platform, to showcase student work, will change the perception of journalism itself. “Students have a passionate, no-nonsense approach to journalism. They are still learning and have the presence of mentors to keep their work responsible.” Cardaras stresses that CNI is not citizen journalism. Instead, stories are vetted before online publication and student journalists have the potential to mimic real-life journalistic practices, “CNI will be structured around being fair and balanced,” says Cardaras. Cardaras is hoping CNI will attract giant media employers like CNN, BBC, the New York Times and other publications and networks from around the world.

The fresh student voice is usually hidden by big networks which dominate the airwaves and online reach. Cardaras’ brainchild is likely to push journalism into new directions where stereotypes are broken and where connecting teaches the world about the world. Student journalists are taking over via the digital revolution.

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