Journalism education principles from the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC)

Here’s the full text of the declaration issued at the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC), which took place at the end of June in Singapore. It includes a list of the 27 associations involved in the WJEC, whose representatives agreed the declaration.

I’m putting comments and other links in a separate post above.

Declaration of Principles of Journalism Education

World Journalism Education Congress
Singapore, June 2007

We, the undersigned representatives of professional journalism education associations, share a concern and common understanding about the nature, role, importance, and future of journalism education worldwide. We are unanimous that journalism education provides the foundation as theory, research, and training for the effective and responsible practice of journalism. Journalism education is defined in different ways. At the core is the study of all types of journalism.

Journalism should serve the public in many important ways, but it can only do so if its practitioners have mastered an increasingly complex body of knowledge and specialized skills. Above all, to be a responsible journalist must involve an informed ethical commitment to the public. This commitment must include an understanding of and deep appreciation for the role that journalism plays in the formation, enhancement and perpetuation of an informed society.

We are pledged to work together to strengthen journalism education and increase its value to students, employers and the public. In doing this we are guided by the following principles:

  1. At the heart of journalism education is a balance of conceptual, philosophical and skills-based content. While it is also interdisciplinary, journalism education is an academic field in its own right with a distinctive body of knowledge and theory.
  2. Journalism is a field appropriate for university study from undergraduate to postgraduate levels. Journalism programs offer a full range of academic degrees including bachelors, masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees as well as certificate, specialized and mid-career training.
  3. Journalism educators should be a blend of academics and practitioners; it is important that educators have experience working as journalists.
  4. Journalism curriculum includes a variety of skills courses and the study of journalism ethics, history, media structures/institutions at national and international level, critical analysis of media content and journalism as a profession. It includes coursework on the social, political and cultural role of media in society and sometimes includes coursework dealing with media management and economics. In some countries, journalism education includes allied fields like public relations, advertising, and broadcast production.
  5. Journalism educators have an important outreach mission to promote media literacy among the public generally and within their academic institutions specifically.
  6. Journalism program graduates should be prepared to work as highly informed, strongly committed practitioners who have high ethical principles and are able to fulfill the public interest obligations that are central to their work.
  7. Most undergraduate and many masters programs in journalism have a strong vocational orientation. In these programs experiential learning, provided by classroom laboratories and on-the-job internships, is a key component.
  8. Journalism educators should maintain strong links to media industries. They should critically reflect on industry practices and offer advice to industry based on this reflection.
  9. Journalism is a technologically intensive field. Practitioners will need to master a variety of computer-based tools. Where practical, journalism education provides an orientation to these tools.
  10. Journalism is a global endeavor; journalism students should learn that despite political and cultural differences, they share important values and professional goals with peers in other nations. Where practical, journalism education provides students with first-hand experience of the way that journalism is practiced in other nations.
  11. Journalism educators have an obligation to collaborate with colleagues worldwide to provide assistance and support so that journalism education can gain strength as an academic discipline and play a more effective role in helping journalism to reach its full potential.

This declaration was agreed by representatives of the following organisations:
African Council on Communication Education
Arab-US Association of Communication Educators
Asian Media Information Centre
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (USA)
Association for Journalism Education (UK)
Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (USA)
Broadcast Education Association (USA)
Canadian Commission for Education in Journalism
Chinese Communication Association (US-based)
Chinese Journalism Education Association
European Journalism Training Association
Latin American Federation of Social Communication Schools
Brazilian Society of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication – INTERCOM
International Association of Media and Communication Research
Journalism Division, International Communication Association
Israel Communication Association
Japan Society for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication
Journalism Education Association (Australia and New Zealand)
Korean Society for Journalism and Mass Communication Studies
Latin American Association of Communication Researchers
Philippine Association of Communication Educators
Russian Association for Education in Journalism
Russian Association for Film and Media Education
Saudi Association for Media and Communication
South African Communication Association
Trans-African Council for Communication