‘Survival skill’: Growing professional development for journalists in a tech era
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Tue Jul 9, 2019
A 303
Paper Sessions

This paper examines the growth in journalism professional development globally through a national level comparison of mid-career training opportunities offered by big technology platforms, such as Google News Lab, journalism associations, extended online learning at universities and legacy media. Journalists across career stages are finding greater PD opportunities, particularly in areas combining journalism and technology, with one report describing training as shifting from an “add on to a survival skill” (Hermida and Young, forthcoming; Heravi, 2018; Knight Foundation, 2014; Splendore et al., 2016). The range of professional development training is relatively novel for journalism as a number of studies, largely from the United States, indicated that mid-career training was a gap that journalists had long wanted filled (Becker, Vlad, Mace and Apperson, 2004; Cleary, 2006; Knight Foundation Report, 2002). Our main research question is how are journalism professional development and training opportunities being conceptualized in an era of globalization and digitalization (Deuze, 2006). Our focus allows us to contribute to a number of important conversations about journalism education. These include whether emerging PD opportunities are considered part of increasingly standardized global journalism education (Deuze, 2006), and/or whether they are seen as filling persistent gaps in journalism education, which has long been criticized for irrelevance and/or for prioritizing academic approaches over industry demands (Deuze, 2006). Methodologically, we are engaged in a pilot study of professional development and mid-career training opportunities in Canada, the United States and Australia. Our objectives for the study are twofold: 1) to identity the range of professional development opportunities being offered in each country; and 2) to identify the motivations, values and approaches underlying PD activities. We will complete a descriptive online analysis of training opportunities offered in each country and engage in qualitative semi-structured interviews with trainers and educators from a representative cross section of organizations engaged in PD activities. Theoretically, we draw from Deuze’s (2006) 10 analytical categories that he developed from synthesizing the literature on journalism education to assess the orientation of PD activities. We focus on five key conceptual concerns. These include the two most addressed questions in the literature according to Deuze (2006). They are: (1) What is the mission of PD activities regarding the journalism industry? (For example, is it training in the status quo and current professional ideology or innovation, where “journalism training is seen as a development laboratory preparing students for a changing future” (2006, 25)?; and, (2) What is the orientation of the PD curriculum with respect to contextual/disciplinary knowledge and practice? In addition, we focus on three underdeveloped conceptual concerns relevant to the PD context (Deuze, 2006). They include: (3) What is the motivation for PD opportunities in journalism education? For example, Google News Lab provides technology fueled journalism modules in more than 50 countries, a product we are calling “sponsored” education and training (Google News Initiative, 2017). The final two include (4) What is the social context that PD activities are occurring within; and, (5) What are the dominant methods and pedagogical approaches within PD activities (Deuze, 2006). References Becker, L., Tudor, V., Mace, N., & Apperson, M. (2004, July). Midcareer training of journalists: Evaluating its impact on Journalistic Work. Presented to the Professional Education Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Cleary, J. (2006). From the classroom to the newsroom: Professional development in broadcast journalism. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, September, 254-266. Deuze, M. (2006). Global Journalism Education. Journalism Studies, 7(1), 19-34. DOI: 10.1080/14616700500450293 Google News Initiative. Google News Lab. Retrieved from Heravi, B. (2018). 3Ws of Data Journalism Education. Journalism Practice. Hermida, A., & Young, ML. (Forthcoming). Data Journalism and the Regeneration of News. New York: Routledge. Knight Foundation. (2014). Report shows big gaps in newsroom training. Retrieved from Knight Foundation. (2002). Newsroom training: Where’s the Investment. Retrieved from Splendore, S., Di Salvo, P., Eberwein, T., Groenhart, H., Kus, M., & Porlezza, C. (2016). Educational Strategies in Data Journalism: A Comparative Study of Six European Countries. Journalism, 17(1), 138–152. doi:10.1177/1464884915612683

Kathryn Gretsinger University of British Colimbia

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