Comments on the Sanef media audit: a new news culture is facing the media and journalism educators: the time to act is now!

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Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies

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This omnibus article deals with some of the comments received by the authors of the Sanef media audit (see p. 11) of the edition of Ecquid Novi). As Mark Deuze, one of the commentators puts it: The threats and challenges to contemporary journalism have caused scholars, publics, journalists, and thus journalism educators, to reconsider their approaches, definitions, roles, and function in community and society. Widely recognized as the four main changes or challenges facing education programmes in journalism are: the multicultural society; the rise and establishment of infotainment genres; the convergence of existing and new media technologies (cf. multimedia); and the internationalization or ‘glocalization’ of the media and journalism playing field. The four mentioned challenges and developments could be seen as reflected in the 2002 Sanef audit. The report particularly stresses the ‘new culture’ within which journalists are expected to do their work. This is a culture determined by fragmented audiences; a widening gap between journalists and their publics; and an increased need for quality information. It is also a culture of enhanced interactivity and media accountability; intercultural communication; recognition of cultural diversity; and dealing with ‘nonhierarchical’ management styles. Journalism education, in other words, is gearing up to face a tough challenge: keeping the best practices of the teaching context and practical skills courses on the one hand, and including cultural and critical reflective didactics on the other. This is not the traditional theory versus skills debate of old—this is definitely something ‘new’—as is clearly shown in the Sanef audit. In this respect the Sanef audit stands out for its discourse of emphasizing changes in journalism and news culture, rather than simply advocating more or less theory- or skills-based curricula.




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