The making of a new-age journalist

DUBAI - Media training is at the crossroads as more and more journalism schools are relooking their course offerings. Experts say innovations in digital technology and the explosion of social media have created new jobs and changed the way journalists work.


Muaz Shabandri

Published: Wed 27 Oct 2010, 12:10 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:09 AM

Johan Claasen, Academic Director of Dubai’s Murdoch University media programmes, says, “Journalism students need to know core concepts well, but more importantly, they need to realise the importance of digital media and emerging technologies.”

Keeping pace with new developments, Johan and his team undergo a course revision for their media programmes every six months.

“Technology is changing faster than ever. What we are talking today will not be the case two weeks later and therefore, it becomes even more important to keep the courses updated,” adds Johan.

Echoing Johan’s views, Sashi Kumar, Chairman of Chennai-based Asian College of Journalism, a leading Indian media school, says, “While journalism schools need to relook their courses, even students need to be tech-savvy and build on their skills to take advantage of new technologies.”

Contemplating a course revision every year, he says, “Many journalism schools are looking at whether the formal education they have been imparting for decades is really relevant anymore.”

While most famous and respected journalists of the past had no formal training in journalism, media jobs today demand a certain degree of formal education.

Highlighting the need to create skilled media personnel, Shashi adds, “Media is on a tremendous growth track and journalists are in big demand. Social media provides an amazing tool for these journalists as they can interact with people in real-time and get inputs almost instantaneously.”

SAE Institute Dubai, the world’s largest creative media educator, recently announced the launch of its new Digital Journalism programme, keeping in view the growing demand for multimedia journalists.

Romy Hawatt, International Senior Executive, SAE group, says, “Journalists need to create content and deliver it in real time Be it news, lifestyle, current affairs or travel, it is a fact that the capacity to quickly capture, collate, edit and distribute information is significantly altering the style of reporting and programming globally.”

The industry is demanding more formally trained people to create content in the digital world.

“The creative media space is the world’s largest industry in the making. Every office in the future will require people proficient in manipulating digital media, posting blogs, creating content and developing programmes that become part of everyday business,” adds Romy.

While professional journalists are using social media to work faster and more efficiently, students at journalism schools are being taught how to write for different mediums while learning to use new technologies to their advantage.

Naz Fatima, a student of media and communications, says, “Journalism and other media subjects have become more and more practical and it really presents students with a lot of opportunities to be creative.”

She adds, “Doing a course in media provides the basic grounding needed to progress and work in a content creation role at a media organisation.”


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