The EJC is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Maastricht, the Netherlands, with a program focused on the topic dearest to its work: journalism education.
Right now Howard Finberg the director of partnerships and alliances at The Poynter Institute in Florida, is giving his keynote speech about the future of journalism education and how this topic will be the key element in determining the future of the journalistic profession at large.
Shortly before the beginning of his speech, EJC Chairman Ove Joanson opened the conference with an emblematic statement: "In this room we are all cursed". Explaining that, according to a Chinese proverb those who live in interesting times are cursed, Joanson raised the audience's awareness on the fact that the times we live in are indeed characterised by new social, economic and technology-driven changes taking place at the speed of light, which make the current historical moment an extremely interesting one.
"Are journalists and educators as advanced as their students?", was another of the questions raised by Joanson in his brief introduction.
Talking about the latest research conducted over the topic of journalism education, Finberg said that in general half of the respondents interviewed by the researchers said journalism education is not keeping up with the changes and innovations taking place in the industry.
"Of course we need to ask ourselves what do our customers, students and people who attend our seminars want, but even more importantly we need to ask ourselves what do our non-customers want?", he explained also adding that shifting the focus on potential new students and seminar attendees would be the only way to really understand what innovative teaching methods can bring to the offer of journalism education.
Howard Finberg from Poynter Institute delivered the Keynote Speech at the EJC's 20th anniversary in Maastricht.
Innovate means create new ways to use software, teach new collaborative methods, connect to whole university departments, apply team teaching and interdisciplinary training with actual scientists, expand journalism and communication schools as community content providers and create networks linking communities and education providers.
“Poynter could reach by its onsite seminar programmes those who represent roughly the 1 percent of the potential sector who would like to access better training. This is why it is crucial to focus on the rest, on that 99 percent group who, due to time constraints, or funding issues, is not able to attend training sessions in person,” argued Finberg.
"What Poynter tried to do was to create an innovative solution to this. We did not want to offer a distance learning program replicating the seminars we on location so we looked to what the non- customers wanted and needed and at ways on how to refresh what Poynter taught and how to innovate the way they taught. This is what all journalism educators need to do. There is a great opportunity and challenge to re-imagine audiences, their needs and how to measure success. Of course technology can be a huge help in this respect and offer new teaching methods capable to reach audience dispersed across the world."
The Poynter Institute's experience is encouraging educators worldwide to follow a disruptive approach to traditional media education and dare re-imagining journalism training from the scratch, something that according to Finberg should have been done 20 years ago already.
"Some journalism educators will change and some will be left behind, just as some newspapers will evolve and others will go out of business, it is time to think of the opportunity to serve the non customers and help them do their job better. it is time to innovate, we need to seize the future."
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