Life after death (of journalism rhetoric?): Key highlights from J-Education conference

How can journalism education still be relevant after the death of the profession? Well, that’s a difficult question for practitioners, researchers and educationist alike. Of course the question on the death of journalism (a pessimistic view common in the journalism practice today) is a moot point. But maybe the diversity of research on ‘the ‘future of journalism’—like that of NODE—is in itself an indication that there is optimism in a field that has been facing its greatest challenge of remaining relevant in the digital age.

There was optimism on the future of journalism education shared among educationists and researchers in Barcelona during the conference, ”Shaping the Future of News Media”, from June 17-19. The conference was organized under the auspices of the Integrated Journalism in Europe (IJIE), a teaching innovation project funded by the EU that was launched in 2011 by Pompeu Fabra University, the host.

What stood out at the conference were the discussions by researchers as well as panelists on the future of journalism education. Most discussants highlighted the challenges and possible solutions as well as new opportunities for journalism education in Europe’ institutions in Europe today. In his concluding remarks, for instance, panelist Dr. Jacques Guyot from Université Paris 8 (Paris, France) argued for ”dynamism of journalism education in Europe” in order for journalism institutions to be adaptive in a constantly changing media landscape. Other panelists and discussants noted that in current and past research, elements that have been key drivers of journalism practice as well as research and education, have mostly been overlooked. Dr. Radu Meza from Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) cited ”innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship” as vital pillars of the future of journalism that should define journalism programmes today.

Apart from the discussions on J-education at the three-day conference, there were a variety of presentations in key areas of journalism research today such as algorithmic Journalism. The paper, Theoretical, economic and technological implications of automated news production in journalism was presented by Konstantin Dörr from IPMZ – University of Zurich. (NODE’s Christer Clerwell is also involved in research into algorithmic journalism, sometimes referred to as ‘robot journalism’).

Two Node research papers were also presented at the conference. They were, Points, badges, and news. A study of the introduction of gamification into journalism practice by Raul Ferrer and Do bloggers who criticize the press matter now? (Re)defining media accountability in the age of citizen participation (David Cheruiyot). They are being considered for possible publication on Comunicació. Revista de Recerca i d’Anàlisi, a journal edited by Societat Catalana de Comunicació (Catalan communication council) in Barcelona.

 

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