Journalism education system in process of significant changes
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.