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Journalists and Media Accountability

An International Study of News People in the Digital Age


Edited By Susanne Fengler, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni and Colin Porlezza

Media accountability is back on the political agenda. Debates about the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World have shown that the need for free and responsible journalism is more pressing than ever. Opinions, however, differ on the measures that need to be taken. Do existing structures of media accountability – such as press councils, codes of ethics, and ombudspersons – suffice, or do we urgently need new instruments and initiatives in today’s converging media world?
These questions were tackled in an international survey of 1,800 journalists in twelve European and two Arab states conducted by the EU-funded research project, «Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe» (MediaAcT). The results provide a solid empirical basis for the discussions taking place. This book advances research on media accountability and transparency, and also offers innovative perspectives for newsrooms, media policy-makers, and journalism educators. Its systematic comparative design makes it an unprecedented venture in international journalism studies.
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15. Media Accountability and Journalism Education: Raluca-Nicoleta Radu & Daniela-Aurelia Popa



Chapter 15

Media Accountability and Journalism Education

Raluca-Nicoleta Radu & Daniela-Aurelia Popa1

Education has a particular importance in the literature on occupational groups. Social scientists draw a boundary line between the professions and craftsmanship, using the requirement to graduate from academic courses as one of the main criteria defining professionals. From a sociological perspective, professionals have specialized knowledge, obtained through an intensive process of education and skills acquisition, which they use to render a public service to society. Thus, education is related to professionalization and accountability.

One of the goals of the MediaAcT study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the academic and vocational routes undertaken by journalists during their professional development, and accountability. In order to present a meaningful cross-national comparative analysis the data obtained in the survey is contextualized with information on the different media systems in the countries under discussion.

This chapter shows that there is a wide range of courses in journalism and media ethics, offered in the countries under discussion, and that media training is a prerequisite in most newsrooms. The chapter also demonstrates that university level education in journalism and courses in media ethics foster media accountability and the inclination of journalists to be more transparent towards their stakeholders.← 248 | 249 →

Education at university is considered (Bohère 1984; Soloski 1997) to be the basis for continuous professional development. Due to the acquisition of high-level skills and the development...

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