SATURDAY 3.45 – 5.00
PANEL 2: TESTING THE FIT: BETWEEN THE CLASSROOM AND THE ‘REAL WORLD’
CHAIR: Emily Brown
Note: Click on the title to read the full paper. Click on the author’s name to read their biography.
Which Journalists, which Media, which Programming and for which Public? Calling for the mobility of journalism teachers, researchers and students in Africa Click here for the paper in French.
Mubangi Bet’ukany Gilbert, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa.
Can we continue to train journalists regardless of the training tools, working conditions and the way the media functions? In other words, it is essential that we move away from Lasswell’s 5 theoretical questions (“Who says what, to whom, why, to what extent and with what effect?”) in order to examine the more concrete questions of our training institutions, our media (how it functions) and our journalists (how they are trained, their modus operandi and their relationship with the public and political and economic circles). Calling for the mobility of journalism teachers, researchers and students intends to suggest the idea of coming together and sharing experience and, above all, providing the opportunity to create solidarity-based networks, vital to break down a certain resistance and enable projects in common to advance. However, one of the obstacles to such a project lies in the disparities in the field. Taking this diversity into account our analysis will enable us to have a prudent approach towards any attempt to integrate media institutions and journalists training, and, to an even greater extent, any attempt at future studies.
See French version of abstract
Practicing Journalism Pedagogy as if Media Mattered
Zvenyika Eckson Mugari, Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe.
The turnover of media graduands from Zimbabwe’s four universities and other journalism training institutes in the country has steadily increased over the past ten years. Given the fact that on average less than two percent of these graduates ever end up in the newsroom, questions ought to be asked about the suitability for purpose of our journalism curricular in our universities. There is need for a soul-searching assessment on the instrumental rationality of our journalism education in the country at the levels of quantity and quality. Our commitment to growth in enrolment in journalism schools across the country only makes sense where it is matched with a similar commitment at the state level to grow the industry or at least to provide an enabling policy framework for media operations. However, questions arise about the adequacy of professional skills of those who do manage to break into the industry. To what extent is the lack of fit between college output in numbers trained and numbers the industry needs mirrored in similar dichotomies between professional skills needed by the industry and skills imparted during training? These are the questions this paper wishes to place at the table for discussion with specific reference to the Zimbabwean experience of the past decade.
The Challenges of Being Ethical in Journalism Practice in Cameroon
Manka E Tabuwe, University of Buea, Cameroon
Journalism in Cameroon has for several decades faced harsh economic downturns. The culture of advertising by business institutions and individuals is poor, and as many as fifty people read a single newspaper rendering it difficult for publishers to survive of the cover price. This has direct impact on employment. Many trained journalists who leave school today are faced with few employment opportunities. Those who are employed have very little remuneration. Faced with massive corruption in the field and cases where personalities and government officials will pay for news stories to be published, these budding journalists easily become entrapped in the practice of collecting what is commonly called “brown envelopes” or “gombo”. The concept of “gombo” is a common problem across Africa. In Uganda, they call it “yellow envelope”, in Benin “Communiquè Finale”, in Kenya “Chai” and in Côte d’Ivoire …”gombo”. This is, therefore, a massive problem facing educators. This presentation aims to discuss this practice and measures our department is taking to curb it. One of the measures taken to fight this practice by journalism graduates has been to ban students from doing internships in certain media houses that are noted for such practices. This is an attempt to prevent early adoption of this practice.
Career Choices for Female Journalism Students: A Case in Zambia
Rose Nyondo, University of Zambia, Lusaka.
The number of female students graduating from journalism schools in Zambia is high (Nyondo 2005), but the number of those practising in newsrooms is disproportionately lower. For example, University of Zambia (UNZA) records of graduates in the Department of Mass Communication indicate that more women than men graduate as journalists. The author’s observations, based on over twenty years of teaching journalism in the UNZA programme is that in their entry year, the female students declare that they want to be trained as journalists and work in the newsroom. But by third and fourth year, their career direction seems to change. They lose interest in traditional journalism reporting and begin to prefer public relations and other specialisations in the communications industry. Even those who at graduation accept reporting positions in the newsrooms, pursue alternative careers within the first three years. This phenomenon brings up a critical question: What drives females out of the newsroom? Besides the obvious matter of better salaries, what other factors influence career choices of female journalists? This paper advances the argument that culturally based gender roles are a significant factor in the careers of female journalists in Zambia. It posits that additional influences on career choices are grounded in socialisation, biased attitudes, cultural beliefs and are gender based.