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The UNESCO model curricula for journalism December 9, 2008

Posted by acfj in journalism.

unesco-coverLast year , the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) came up with a model curriculum for journalism courses, both for Master’s as well as undergraduate degrees. The curriculum was the result of the collaboration many journalism educators from all over the world suggesting what courses would make up a quality journalism education.

The M.A. curriculum suggests two approaches–one for those who have had undergraduate journalism training and another for those who don’t.

Below is the UNESCO section on the Master’s degree. You can also download the UNESCO curriculum from here.

(ACFJ alumni, please do go over the UNESCO curriculum. As you know, ACFJ is revisiting its own M.A. Journ curriculim and we’d like to hear your comments on the UNESCO’s suggestions. Looking forward to your comments).

In this document we offer two master’s curricula, one for students with little or no journalism background and one for students with a journalism bachelor’s degree or at least five years journalism experience. Both master’s programs in these curricula combine study in journalism with study in a second subject. We understand that some universities may not be able to offer both programs. If they choose to offer only the program designed for students with a journalism background they could
require other students to take make-up courses in journalism at the undergraduate level prior to admission to the master’s program. We do not recommend a one-year master’s degree in journalism. Nor would we recommend a master’s degree in journalism made up largely of coursework and research in the field of mass communications or mass media studies, though there may be a place in some journalism schools, especially those offering doctoral programs, for a master’s in
the academic study of journalism. In such cases, students would be required to take preparatory courses in scholarly research methods and in the literature of journalism.

A master’s degree in journalism promises a significantly higher standard of achievement in students’ knowledge and practice of journalism, as well as in their specialized knowledge of another subject. Students’ evidence-gathering capacity should show an advanced understanding of research methods, and they should write with more depth and style. In all journalism courses, they are expected to reflect deeply and rigorously on the practice of journalism, including the way stories are produced and the relevance of journalistic content for different target groups in society. Master’s students should emerge with the authority, in knowledge and
methods, to work at the most challenging levels of journalism practice.
Students with a good first degree in arts, science and/or other disciplines and little or no previous journalism education or experience, should concentrate in the first year of a two-year master’s program on the acquisition of journalism knowledge and skills of reporting and writing and media editing and production. They should have the opportunity to visit news media organizations and to benefit from lectures and
seminars conducted by practising journalists and from mentorship arrangements. At the same time, master’s students should sustain and develop their interest in the major discipline of their bachelor’s degree or in the subject in which they hope to specialize as journalists.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and students with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and at least five years of journalism experience, should concentrate in their first year on enriching their specialized knowledge of one arts or science subject (or combined field of study), while at the same time advancing their journalism knowledge and skills. The aim of this program is preparation for
the journalism of a specialized area; the program may also be adapted for students interested in media management. Students in this program should not be required to revise journalism material they have already studied in their bachelor’s degree or mastered during their journalism experience.

For students without previous journalism education or experience, the second year should offer further instruction in reporting and writing and in advanced research methods. For both groups, the second year should deepen their knowledge of their chosen subject area and give them intensive practice in reporting on the subject with authority.

(download model curriculum here).



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