Four Innovation and Collaboration Trends in Journalism Education

Journalism / Article

The Center for International Media Assistance recently released the report ‘U.S. Universities and Media Development.’ ‘Written by journalist and journalism educator, Anne Nelson, the report analyzes the role U.S. universities play in the international media arena.’ According to Nelson, educators are responding to the shifting media landscape by either pulling back to focus on domestic programs, or reaching out to international partners.

The paper calls for more international collaboration.

While costs can be saved by cutting international programs, there is also money to be made by working internationally.’ The report points out that some journalism programs are ‘seeking new international partnerships to increase revenue through grants and tuition,’ which includes money from international students, foreign and domestic governments and foundations.

There’s no shortage of partners, either.

Knight Foundation supported WJEC in the creation of a global census of journalism programs.’ There are nearly 2,500 programs worldwide that are identified in that database, three quarters of which are based outside of the U.S.

The census sorts information by country, and provides contact details for each institution including web site, phone number, email and physical address.’ Want an institutional partner in Somalia?’ The census offers two options, Mogadishu University and Somali National University, with phone numbers for each.

Partners don’t need to be institutions ‘ they can be projects.

Ushahidi is a mapping platform and Knight News Challenge winner. ‘It was developed in the aftermath of the 2007-8 Kenyan election and allowed citizens to report incidents of violence and map them on the Web using mobile devices.’ The tool has also been used in the wake of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and in the aftermath of the gulf oil crisis.

The platform was developed by Kenyan journalists, and the CIMA report writes that the platform is ‘nurtured by its relations with many different academic institutions,’ including U.S. schools and students, an example of an international and innovative grassroots collaboration.

The report notes that ‘much of the most dynamic activity is taking place in university departments that are new to the field of media development.’

The report quotes Knight Foundation’s Eric Newton who outlined the four transformational trends in journalism education at last month’s Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s 94th annual conference.

In a nutshell, here’s what they are:

— Connecting with the whole university

— Innovating content and technology

— Teaching open, collaborative models

— Providing digital news in new engaging ways

These goals are being achieved now, and not only by educators.’ ‘It’s not a question of journalism schools versus non-journalism schools,’ Newton says about the Knight News Challenge grants in the report ‘It’s innovators versus non-innovators.’