Journalism Practice 2013: Contents and Abstracts
Special Issue on Cross Continental Views on Journalistic Skills
Guest Editors: Leen d’Haenens, Michaël Opgenhaffen and Maarten Corten
Introduction: Cross-continental views on journalistic skills in the digital age
Leen d’Haenens, Michaël Opgenhaffen and Maarten Corten
Journalistic Tools of the Trade in Flanders: Is there a fit between journalism education and professional practice?
Michaël Opgenhaffen, Leen d’Haenens and Maarten Corten
This research is based on two observations. First, journalism practice has changed rapidly and dramatically in the first decade of the 21st Century. Digitization has imposed pressures on conventional business models, transformed the news production process and redefined the relationship between newsmakers and their audiences. Second, during that same period Flemish journalism education has boomed, resulting in as many as six professional Bachelor programs and three academic Master programs in journalism. These parallel developments have led us to investigate the (mis)match between the needs of Flemish professional journalism on the one hand and the ambitions of Flemish journalism curricula on the other. To this end a survey was distributed among 600 professional journalists to map the competencies they feel are required for the job. Linking these competencies to specific media profiles enabled us to assess the relative importance of each item within a specific working context. Then all Flemish professional and academic journalism education programs were analyzed based on topic focus and media platform. The findings of these investigations were aggregated in an effort to identify the degree of congruence (or lack of it) between the professional field and the educational programs on offer.
Beacons of Reliability: European journalism students and professionals on future qualifications for journalists
Journalism is changing rapidly. The professional routines that have been used so successfully in the past century seem less suitable for the future. This calls for a shift in the qualification profile European journalism schools use as a basis for their curricula. It is not easy to establish which qualifications will need more attention in future education provision or — because of the limited time budget of students and schools — which qualifications will have to manage with less attention as a result. The European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) has commissioned research into the views of European journalism professionals and future professionals. Which shifts in the European qualification profile do they anticipate and how (if at all) do these important stakeholders differ in their views? How do European students of journalism and European professional journalists assess qualifications that are related to major innovations in journalism? The research shows a high level of consensus amongstudents and professionals concerning the shifts in relative weight of each of the fifty qualifications in the European profile. Furthermore it turns out that both groups favour a ‘back to basics’ strategy in these turbulent times. It appears that within this strategy there is enough room for two out of six innovations, but far less for the other four. These outcomes are valuable for journalism schools’ intent on rethinking their curricula, but they do not solve the fundamental question: to what extent can or should education stay ahead of developments in the profession?
The Global Journalist in the Twenty First Century: A cross-national study of journalistic competencies
Lars Willnat, David Weaver and Jihyang Choi
This study presents selected findings related to journalistic competencies or skills from surveys of more than 29,000 journalists working in 31 countries or territories, conducted between 1996 and 2011. The data come from survey studies included in the book, The Global Journalist in the 21st Century (Weaver and Willnat, 2012). The study focuses on aspects such as journalists’ age and education, working conditions, professional values or orientations, opinions about the importance of different aspects of the job, and attitudes toward new reporting skills that are necessary to cope with a multimedia news environment. The study concludes that there are no clear patterns of such competency among the journalists included in this analysis. However, tendencies were observed for some countries to have younger, less experienced, less formally educated journalists who do not highly value the interpretive or analytical role of journalism, who are less satisfied with their work, who have less freedom in their work, and who lack the multimedia skills necessary in the age of online journalism. The study also calls for systematic content analysis studies that investigate whether self-reported competencies of journalists in each nation actually correlate with the quality of the news products they create.
Culture Clash: International media training and the difficult adoption of Western journalism practices among Indonesian radio journalists
Thomas Hanitzsch and Nurhaya Muchtar
International media training has become popular in post-New Order Indonesia. Educational organizations have focused on training radio journalists reflecting the accessibility of radio stations across the Nation. This study investigated the training effectiveness and consequent adoption of Western journalism practices in the context of Indonesian radio journalism. Five focus groups were conducted in five Indonesian cities with distinctive media markets, populations and city sizes. Findings illustrate that the adoption and dissemination of training materials were made more difficult by the widely differing values and backgrounds of journalists as well as a lack of funding from radio stations.
Investigative Journalism on Campus: The Australian experience
Ian Richards and Beate Josephi
Despite many obstacles, investigative journalism continues to flourish in Australia. A significant part of the explanation for this appears to lie with universities which have journalism programs. Investigative journalism has a strong presence in these programs across Australia, a presence which is increasingly being felt at postgraduate level. As a result, an increasing number of journalism graduates have the skills and understanding necessary to embark on serious investigative work, and several institutions have embarked on projects with innovative approaches to collaborative investigative work. However, the wider context in which Australia’s tertiary institutions operate is far from benign, and journalism programs - and thus the teaching of investigative journalism - are subject to many pressures. The paper finds that, although university journalism programs are increasingly taking responsibility for educating their students about investigative journalism, thereby picking up a key responsibility which would once have been borne entirely by the industry, there are also forces at work which limit their capacity to do this.
Beyond Skills Training: Six macro themes in South African journalism education
Pieter J. Fourie
This article identifies and discusses six underlying socio-cultural and political themes in South African journalism education. The themes are apartheid and race, gender, development, freedom of expression, indigenization and the impact of the new media on journalism. The argument is that although South African journalism education is skills and career-oriented, the treatment of the themes and the issues related to them form the theoretical and intellectual foundation of South African journalism education. The underlying, theoretical point of departure is that journalism is a representation of reality or an aspect thereof. As such, journalism reflects society, which in the case of South Africa is a dichotomous one. South African journalism education is embedded in this society.
Film Review: ‘Real Journalism and Not Just Bootlicking’: Journalistic practice in transitional societies
Notes on Contributors
(Vol 7 - No 1)
The Importance of Place: An analysis of changes in investigative journalism in two Chinese provincial newspapers
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines how changes in investigative journalism have taken place in two Chinese provincial newspapers - the Dahe Daily and the Southern Metropolis Daily – in the period from 1997 to 2006 and what such changes mean for investigative journalism in the country as a whole. Investigative journalism started almost simultaneously in the two newspapers in the late 1990s but developed along different trajectories in the following ten years. The differences are the result of interaction between investigative journalists, news organizations, and the varying local and national social contexts in which investigative journalism takes place. The practice of investigative journalism benefits from the institutionalised choice of journalistic values in a given social context. Chinese journalism within news organisations reflexively looks for an appropriate position in the social space of the locale where it operates and seeks to construct a proper social identity to join in the production of culture in that space. These dynamics have generated various levels of journalistic autonomy in different places across China.
Journalists on Journalism: Print journalists’ discussion of their creative process
Janet Fulton and Phillip McIntyre
Print journalism, particularly hard news, is a form of writing that is seldom thought of as a creative practice. This situation may result from the idea that the cultural and social structures within which journalists work are often seen as constraints on their professional practice. Despite this common understanding, if a rationalist approach to creativity is used, it can be demonstrated that the structures of journalism practice and the knowledge of these structures, not only constrain but also enable journalists to produce their work. Using the systems model of creativity developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this paper provides evidence that by investigating print journalism within a rationalist framework, print journalists of any genre can be seen to be producers of creative cultural texts. Analysis of the literature demonstrates that by marrying theories and definitions from creativity research with literature from the domain of print journalism, creativity can be identified within the print journalism domain. Analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with print journalists in Australia and observation carried out in Australian newsrooms demonstrates that journalists are very aware of the devices used, and the requirements of the field, to produce texts in their professional practice that are novel and appropriate, or creative.
What's in a Tweet? Foreign correspondents' use of social media
Given the ongoing debate about foreign correspondence being an endangered species and the foreign news hole shrinking ever more, this study explores how foreign correspondents at major U.S. networks and print outlets use Twitter to break news, promote their work and their news organization, and communicate with their audiences. Findings show that correspondents use Twitter mainly to discuss current events where they are stationed or elsewhere and to promote their news outlet rather than to break news. Broadcast correspondents are more likely to break news, while print correspondents tend to share their opinion and link to other news outlets in their tweets more. While broadcast and print correspondents are equally active on Twitter, the broadcast ones are more popular. Popularity on Twitter is predicted by how long the correspondents have been on the platform and by use of Twitter-specific features like hashtags. The two genders were proportionately represented on Twitter, and no significant differences were found between male and female correspondents on any of the variables under investigation. Many correspondents are still ditching their profiles, setting it to private, or not providing helpful information in their Twitter bios.
Reporting Homelessness: Practice, product, profession
This article calls on practice theory to analyze the activities of newspaper journalists who report on homelessness. Practice theory is an approach to understanding the social that sees practice, rather than individual action or social structure, as the basic social phenomenon. This approach provides an alternative to the long-standing division between structure and agency that underpins many social theories. Journalists have good intentions in reporting on homelessness, and hope that their work will help to address the problem of homelessness, but they are enmeshed in a professional practice that works against their personal goals. I examine three aspects of journalistic practice: the determination of newsworthiness, the use of sources, and the code of objectivity. Journalists’ reporting activities are carried out within the context of the practice of journalism and these activities in turn reproduce journalism as a professional practice, leading to the production of representations that work against the citizenship and social inclusion of homeless people.
Four Models of Science Journalism: A synthesis and practical assessment
David Secko, Elyse Amend and Terrine Friday
Much of the science communication and journalism studies literature continues to reiterate the same critiques about science journalism. This literature accuses science journalists of inaccuracy, sensationalism, oversimplification and failing to engage audiences in meaningful debate about scientific issues. However, research has yet to offer concrete solutions to journalists that connect theory to practice in an effort to counter these criticisms. In this paper, we approach this gap through the development of clearly articulated models of science journalism that are supported by theoretical considerations of the varying purposes of science communication, and then importantly, tied to practical story development criteria. Four models are presented: science literacy, contextual, lay-expertise and public participation. These models are clear representations of how science journalism can be produced from within different theoretical frameworks and thereby provide a theoretically-informed but practical guide for nuanced evaluations of the quality of science journalism.
The Radical Type? G. Allen Hutt, the Communist Party and the politics of journalistic practice
Despite the central role of the paper in Marxist-Leninist strategy, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) had little confidence in either professional journalists, including those who were Communists, or journalism practices, even though journalism, like culture, was recognized as “a weapon in the (class) struggle”. While George Allen Hutt (1901-73) was a leading professional party journalist, his career hit a “glass ceiling”, even as he met the three criteria of Communist journalism theory and earned an international reputation as a newspaper designer. In spite of opposition to his role on the executive of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) because of his party membership, he became the longest-serving editor of the NUJ’s periodical, The Journalist. As both a loyal, lifetime Communist and the consummate professional journalist, Hutt’s career provides a salient example of the ambiguous position of the middle-class journalist in the proletarian-dominated Communist Party. It was the emphasis on his “technical” ability that appears to have disqualified his candidacy for the Daily Worker’s top editorial positions and to have justified support for his editorship of The Journalist.
“I Love to Play the Bimbo Sometimes with Athletes”: The role of professional interactions between female sports journalists and their male sources in the production of information
This article analyses the professional interactions between female journalists and their sources, key moments in the information production process, and explores, in the context of the Swiss daily press, one of the most masculine journalistic universes: sports journalism. It illustrates that because of the specific mode of recruitment into this journalistic speciality, women are confronted with various constraints – a lack of knowledge in the domain of sports, overwhelmingly male sources, and tensions linked to the fact that they are women – and with expectations from their chief editors that they will develop a “feminine” view of sports news. They are required to adapt and adjust to their role in a way that severely constrains their interactions with their male sources. Thus, controlling their appearance, language, and attitudes, these women make intentional use of certain stereotypes associated with femininity – “women as object of seduction” and “women as weak and inoffensive” - for professional goals, when the interaction warrants. They believe that those strategies allow them to have easier access to their sources and to create interactions encouraging the exchange of information that they judge to be sincere, authentic and more private, that would permit them to write deeper and more “human” articles.
Martha and her Sisters: Women in films about journalism
Notes on Contributors