By Jennifer Leask, Susan Harada, and Danielle J. Rieger
There was a time when reporters could work their way to the top of their profession without formal journalism schooling — or without any post-secondary schooling at all — given the longstanding on-the-job approach to industry training. As years went by, news organizations in Canada and elsewhere more commonly became home to journalists whose paths into the profession included a post-secondary credential, and increasingly that credential was rooted in journalism. According to the Worlds of Journalism study of journalists in Canada, most survey respondents held a post-secondary diploma or degree and, of that group, a majority had specialized in journalism. That these journalism degree-credentialed respondents were producing work across the media spectrum for public consumption underscores the view that journalism education is critical, a force for “improving the quality of journalism by improving the quality of journalists”, with educators wielding an influence on emerging journalists and therefore ultimately “on how journalism gets done.”
Surprisingly, given their influence on journalism practice, it seems journalism educators in Canada have not been widely studied. Our survey provides a starting point for future research — a snapshot of educators’ academic and professional qualifications, their views of their own roles, and their perspectives on the future roles of journalists and journalism in Canada. Our survey questions were developed by Nico Drok of Windesheim University, Netherlands, initially for his 2018 study of European journalism educators in conjunction with the European Journalism Training Association and, subsequently, for his 2021 global survey, with full results forthcoming. For clarity in this paper, we refer to Drok’s initial survey as Drok I and his second as Drok II. The survey questions also intersect with several questions put to journalists in Canada by Rollwagen et al. as part of an ongoing global study of journalists.
This article appears in the Spring 2023 issue of Facts and Frictions. Read the article here.
Facts and Frictions is published by J-Schools Canada/Écoles-J Canada, Canada’s national association for post-secondary journalism research and education. All content is open access and available via J-Source.