Sunday, May 4, 2014

This collaborative research project – conducted simultaneously in more than 30 countries – is a unique attempt to capture the views of journalism students in a large variety of political, economic, social and cultural contexts. Beginning in early 2014, researchers will begin surveying representative samples of journalism students in their national contexts, with fieldwork due to be completed in mid-2015.

Attempts at professionalizing journalism around the world have led to a veritable boom in the education of journalists at universities in recent decades. Inspired particularly by the establishment of journalism schools at US universities in the early 20th century, tertiary journalism has swept the globe, prompting some scholars to call the phenomenon a “graduatization of journalism” (Splichal and Sparks, 1994: 114). It is now increasingly common for journalists to have earned university degrees in journalism. It is therefore crucial to investigate the ways in which journalism education influences students’ perceptions of and attitudes to their future profession, as arguably they would carry them into their career as journalists. 

However, while there now exists a sizeable body of work on individual nations’ journalism students, rarely have such studies attempted to compare their results across nations in order to examine the extent to which findings may be nation-specific or cross-nationally applicable. 

Some of the most pertinent questions the study will ask include: 

•             What are journalism students’ motivations for studying journalism?
•             What are the most important traits for journalists to have in journalism students’ view?
•             Which areas of journalism do students want to work in?
•             What are journalism students’ role perceptions and ethical views?
•             How do they rate their country’s media performance?
•             What do journalism students see as the biggest threat for the media in their country?

In addition, the project will gather a large amount of information about students’ personal backgrounds and views, as well as the tertiary journalism education landscape in each participating country. In that way, we will be able to examine a variety of individual, organizational and cultural influences on their views.