Jour­nal­ism ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in process of sig­nif­i­cant changes

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

Es­tab­lished in 1955, the School of Jour­nal­ism andCom­mu­ni­ca­tion at Ren­min Univer­sity ofChina is a ma­jor train­ing base for Chi­nese jour­nal­ists. It of­fers de­gree pro­grams in jour­nal­ism, tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Guo Qing­guang, the school’s ex­ec­u­tive dean, is an ex­pert in com­mu­ni­ca­tion the­o­ries, me­dia sys­tem com­par­isons and jour­nal­ism ed­u­ca­tion. Re­cently, he spoke to China Daily about Chi­nese jour­nal­ism and me­dia, ed­u­ca­tion ideals and the chal­lenges of new me­dia. The fol­low­ing are ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view:

How have jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­trib­uted to Chi­nese so­cial devel­op­ment?

Jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies, es­pe­cially the lat­ter, were ob­scure fields in the 1970s and 1980s in China. Now, af­ter decades of ef­fort, com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies has al­tered the dis­course. It has also found its way into so­cial and po­lit­i­cal dis­course. A change in the dis­course sys­tem means a change of ideas and be­hav­ior. What are your views on Chi­nese jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ed­u­ca­tion re­form?

Tra­di­tional jour­nal­ism ed­u­ca­tion can no longer sat­isfy the de­mand for new me­dia ta­lent. We are at a cross­roads for a com­plete over­haul of aca­demic re­search and course devel­op­ment, in­clud­ing stu­dents’ knowl­edge struc­ture, ways of think­ing and skills train­ing.

What is the state of in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary devel­op­ment at your school?

Build­ing on our strengths in jour­nal­ism, TV broad­cast­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and me­dia eco­nom­ics, we’ve ex­per­i­mented with joint pro­grams, com­bin­ing jour­nal­ism with law and in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal sci­ence.

As for grad­u­ate stu­dents, we’ve tried var­i­ous train­ing re­forms in in­ter­na­tional jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We are also re­form­ing our four-year doc­toral pro­gram and ad­mis­sion poli­cies. These changes are all based on ta­lent devel­op­ment, glob­al­iza­tion and me­dia con­ver­gence in our chang­ing times. Guo Qing­guang

How do you work with me­dia com­pa­nies?

Our pro­gram with the BlueFo­cus group, the School of Fu­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, is a ma­jor col­lab­o­ra­tion pro­ject be­tween a jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tion school and a me­dia com­pany. The pro­gram will in­vest 100 mil­lion yuan ($15 mil­lion) over 10 years to train in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary, cross­cul­ture, cross-me­dia ta­lent in dig­i­tal me­dia.

In the next two to three years, one-third of the pro­gram’s teach­ing staff will come from our col­lege, one-third from in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary fields and the fi­nal third from around the world.

The School of Fu­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tion will cover man­age­ment, so­ci­ol­ogy, law, in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and eco­nom­ics. It will send 20 to 30 ex­change stu­dents ev­ery year to Har­vard, Stan­ford, Columbia and other top-tier schools over­seas to ex­pand their global hori­zons.

What are your views on new me­dia?

With the ar­rival of the in­ter­net age and cit­i­zen jour­nal­ism, both tra­di­tional me­dia and ed­u­ca­tion are fac­ing re­forms. Dur­ing this process, some peo­ple are down­play­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of tra­di­tional me­dia out­lets and pro­fes­sional me­dia train­ing.

New me­dia devel­op­ment is a good thing. It has di­ver­si­fied news out­lets and has bro­ken the mo­nop­oly of tra­di­tional me­dia, thus fa­cil­i­tat­ing more bal­anced news com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But new me­dia, cit­i­zen jour­nal­ism and so­cial me­dia will not re­place tra­di­tional me­dia. When weak­nesses and de­fi­cien­cies of cit­i­zen jour­nal­ism be­come more ev­i­dent, tra­di­tional me­dia will get more recog­ni­tion from so­ci­ety. How­ever, pro­fes­sional me­dia out­lets need to change as well and be­come a more vi­tal part of the me­dia land­scape.

How do you teach jour­nal­ism ethics to stu­dents?

One of our well-known fac­ulty mem­bers, Professor Zhang Zhen, urged her stu­dents to never pro­duce fake news af­ter they grad­u­ate. This is a core prin­ci­ple and bot­tom line for ev­ery stu­dent grad­u­at­ing from our school.

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