UNESCO Releases Report on Model Curricula for Journalism Education

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a report analyzing the ongoing adaptations of the Model Curricula for journalism education.

The report titled “Teaching Journalism in Developing Countries and Emerging Democracies: The Case of UNESCO’s Model Curricula” has sparked a healthy debate on how journalism education continues to feed off and into other better established academic disciplines.

Mr. Fackson Banda, Programme Specialist Media Development and Freedom of Expression, UNESCO

According to Mr. Fackson Banda, programme specialist in the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, “the report makes a case for envisioning journalism education as a constantly changing practice of empowerment.”

He said: “The report covers the debate about how journalism education is positioned in universities, as well as how context matters in adapting the UNESCO Model Curricula.”

The document discusses UNESCO’s work in producing new specialized syllabi that educate journalism students for a changing world – such as in data journalism and media sustainability.

The report, edited by Banda and US academic Ms Amy Schmitz Weiss, weaves together critical reflections from two academic panels organized by UNESCO and its partners in the past year.

The first academic panel was from a workshop in August 2012 held in Chicago at the Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) under the theme “Teaching Journalism in Developing Countries and Emerging Democracies: The Case of UNESCO’s Model Curricula”.

The second academic panel titled “Universalizing Journalism Education? An Interrogation of UNESCO’s Evolving Contribution to the Field”, was held in September 2012 in Istanbul alongside the 4th European Communication Conference of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).

Contributions made by some of the speakers at the panels such as Sundeep Muppidi, Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Sonia Virginia Moreira, Gordon Stuart Adam Rosental Calmon Alves and Peter Laufer, were included in the report.

They also include Incilay Cangöz, Pilar Carrera, Steffen Burkhardt, Kim Sawchuk, Kaarle Nordenstreng, Cees Hamelink, Saltanat Kazhimuratova and Daya K.Thussu.

UNESCO’s Model Curricula for Journalism Education was launched in 2007 and has so far been adopted by 70 journalism schools in 60 countries in diverse linguistic, social and cultural contexts. The curriculum was prepared after year-long consultations with university faculties, journalist training organizations, newspaper industries and journalism education associations.

The Journalism Curricula, which has been downloaded over 10,000 times, is a generic model that can be adapted according to each country’s specific needs. It takes full cognizance of the social, economic, political and cultural contexts of developing countries and emerging democracies, highlighting the connection between democracy and journalism and arguing for a more cross-disciplinary approach within journalism training centers.