Research on Journalism Training and Media Development

Studies of Journalism Training Programs

"There Will be Ink: A study of journalism training and the extractive industries in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda"

This is a study of journalism training in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. A team of six students from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, working with IPD Journalism training director Anya Schiffrin surveyed media coverage of the extractive sector and interviewed African journalists who had training in business and economic reporting. The research took place in the spring of 2009.

The journalists surveyed said that journalism training had improved their coverage but the report concluded that there are other challenges in the African media landscape which are not addressed by training. These include low salaries, lack of resources, pressure from government and advertisers and the lack of freedom of information laws. The report includes recommendations for organizations planning journalism training activities in countries with extractive sectors.

Media Assistance: Challenges and Opportunities for the Professional Development of Journalists

This 24 page study by the Center for International Media Assistance done in 2007 represents input from 23 practitioners who have observed, studied, planned, and implemented media education programs of the U.S., other Western governments, and private funders in places as diverse as Eastern Europe, Darfur and Latin America.

It identifies key challenges in the professional development of journalists, useful models for training initiatives, and innovative approaches for international media assistance. It also discusses broad lessons learned and specific recommendations for policymakers, donors, and implementers on improving U.S. foreign assistance for professional development of journalists.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Ethics should be included as a compo¬nent in all training programs, teaching ethics as a business decision, improves credibility, increasing readers and revenues.
  • Keeping an international trainer in place—sometimes for years—may be necessary until local people know how to meet universal standards and sustainable local institutions are built.
  • Training centers have problems being self-sustaining, but they are able to adapt faster to the changing needs of journalism training.

The Impact of Journalism Training on the Trainers: Reflections of U.S. International Fellows

This 33 page study by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research done in 2002 reports on the experiences of reports of 33 U.S. journalists who served as Knight International Press Fellows in eight European and three Latin American countries from 1994 to 1998.

Questions addressed in this study include: What is the impact of these experiences abroad on the trainers? How does this experience fit into their career development? How does the information the trainers gain from their work abroad influence their domestic activities upon their return? Do the trainers feel they are having an impact on journalists and journalism in the host countries?

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Teaching helped the fellows to reinforce their knowledge of and belief in journalism.
  • They said they felt more connected to a world-wide community of journalism and that they were making an impact by being a model or mentor.
  • They felt more committed to journalism, and made them more analytical of their own media practices and those of U.S. media.

Independent Journalism Training Initiatives: Their Impact on Journalists and Journalism Education

This 32 page study by James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research done in 2000 evaluates the impact of the Knight International Press Fellowship Program, drawn from 11 countries in which the program had significant presences from 1994 to 1998 period, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

It states that the evidence was unambiguous. The recipients of the training answered affirmatively. There is concrete evidence as well that the Fellows changed key organizations in those countries.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Many journalists said their attitudes toward their countries and the U.S. had changed.
  • Many said they were more committed to journalism, and more likely to strive for journalistic independence.
  • Many said they noticed differences in how stories were written in their countries.
  • Many said that the functioning of democracy in their countries had improved.

An Imperative to Innovate – Sustainable Journalism Training in Central and Eastern Europe

This 60 page study by the Knight Foundation done in 2007 analyzing its media development work done in four countries in Central and Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

It focuses on five major elements of media development: how media development promotes market-based democracy, the particular role of Central and East European journalist training centers in media development, broadening the scope beyond fixed training centers and looking at the full range of journalism training activities in Central and Eastern Europe, several current models of sustainability for media training, and suggestions for how donors might more effectively approach the environment in Central and Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Successful strategies for sustainable training: generating local income from fee-based training, cross-subsidizing local training with revenue from international training, focusing on niche reporting.
  • Private foundations have an opportunity to serve as a transformational catalyst for the construction of a large multilateral public-private re-granting or lending vehicle.

Research on the additional journalistic education needs – Between Desires and Reality

This single webpage study by Media Online done in 2005 discusses how journalists are educated in southeast Europe, what programs are available, where those programs fall short, and what should be done to improve journalist education. It proposes changes to curriculum and offers suggestions of how journalists can be educated beyond university.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Students, journalists, professors of journalism and media managers said the study of journalism provides a good theoretical base entry into journalistic profession, but it fails to equip students with skills necessary for professional work in media newsrooms.
  • Reality-based education, grounded on actual events remains the best way to adopt the knowledge on thematic journalism, in particular concerning the areas of politics, international relations, culture, ethics, human rights and democracy.

Struggles of Journalism Education in Kosovo

This single webpage study by Media Online done in 2002 reports on Kosovo, offering an overview of the existing forms and projects in education of journalists. It provides basic information on the level and existing forms of education of journalists and media staff, as well as on the activities and attitudes of key actors in the field. Finally, the report considers possible ways for further development of the system of education of journalists.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • The general problem with NGO training is that it cannot replace a proper university level education or degree.
  • Media development in Kosovo should incorporate overcoming the problem of Kosovo self-expression among youth and society.
  • Mid-career specialized training, human rights reporting, investigative journalism and enterprise journalism should be heavily addressed in media development in Kosovo.

An Informative Overview of Journalist Education in Bosnia-Herzegovina

This single webpage study by Media Online done in 2002 is supposed to offer an overview of the existing forms and projects in education of journalists in 2001. It provides basic information on the level and existing forms of education of journalists and media staff, as well as on the activities and attitudes of key actors in the field. Finally, the report considers possible ways for further development of the system of education of journalists.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Increasing the share of practical training as opposed to theoretical education, holding classes with bigger student participation.
  • Emphasis should be placed on systematic journalist education, rather than improvised and uncoordinated efforts of fragmented journalist education such as we have often seen.
  • Cooperation among educational institutions and organizations, and media will give journalism students practical knowledge in newsrooms, and active journalists continuous improvement through targeted training programs.

Education of Journalists in Moldova

This single webpage study by Media Online done in 2002 is an overview of journalism education projects and forms in Moldova. It provides basic information on different levels and modalities of education of journalists and media staff while describing activities and attitudes of key actors in the field, and considers how education of journalists can and should develop in the future.

It also discusses specifically the education level of journalists and media professionals; classical university education; alternative forms of education; donors, nongovernmental organizations and education of journalists; and how local media and journalists perceive education programs.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Reforming the existing Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies should include: Training of trainers, inviting more visiting lecturers from Western universities and media, closer cooperation with Moldovan media, and development of mid-term career training for media professionals who lack academic background in journalism.

Towards Modern Education of Journalists in Southeast Europe

This single webpage study by Media Online done in 2002 presents a summary of a research project, launched by Media Plan Institute from Sarajevo in September 2001, aimed at gathering basic data on education of journalists and media professionals in the countries of South East Europe (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FR Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova). It discusses the education of journalists in transition countries, monitoring of education projects, and lessons learned in media development.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Local and regional cooperation in journalism education should include attendees from all countries of the region as well as exchange of teachers and coordinated specialization of schools in order to avoid overlapping of programs and to amplify their diversity.
  • Effors should enhance capacities of local independent, NGOs involved in education of journalists, so that these organizations would soon achieve self-sustainability in terms of teaching expertise, equipment and financial resources.
  • Involvement of journalists, editors, managers and media owners in the process of their own education is crucial to success of these projects.

Journalism as a Tool for the Formation of a Free, Informed and Participatory Democratic Development – Swedish Support to a Palestinian Journalist Training Project on the West Bank and Gaza for the Period 1996–2005

This 56 page study by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) done in 2005 assesses implementation qualities, weaknesses and development impact of nine years of support to a journalism training project in Palestine from 1996 to 2004, fully-funded by Sida.

The project had two main components: the creation and institutional capacitation of a media training institute and the organization of training for journalists and media workers there. It argues that community media would also be an excellent development tool in Palestine, spurring participation and political, social and cultural empowerment and active debate through active community production.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • In private media, strategic management planning would be a good practical management tool to introduce.
  • Many interviewed stressed the need for follow-up activities—either in the form of additional modules after the end of a course months or even half a year later, or at least a follow-up visit by the trainer.

Media, Democracy and Development: Learning from East Timor

This 216 page study by AsiaPacific Media Educator ( done in 2000 includes a description of the East Timor Press Project (, which used the Internet to support the development of an independent press in East Timor.

It examines how media might function as the infrastructure of democracy and nation-building when the basic requirements for life have been devastated by civil war. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Project and reviews the benefits of the Project to the students, site users and East Timorese society. It concludes with observations about how the Project contributes to the effort to develop physical and democratic structures in East Timor, as well as the limitations of the Project.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • Strength–Queensland University of Technology media and journalism students learned about the socio-political situation in East Timor and learned from the colleagues in Dili how journalism is practiced in a radically different cultural and physical environment.
  • Weakness–Lack of theorization about what forms of development are appropriate for East Timor, what forms and styles of communication would best support such development, and the appropriate degree of “control” over the Project to be exercised by the East Timorese journalists versus that by the Brisbane-based students.

In Their Hands: The Impact of Human Rights Training on Ghanaian Journalists

This 62 page study by Erin Moore, published by Journalists for Human Rights in 2006, focuses on the impact that training in human rights reporting has had on Ghanaian journalists who have participated in the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) program.

It identifies challenges and successes of the training and examines what human rights and human rights reporting means to them in their professional context. Ultimately, it will help us to better understand the reality faced by Ghanaian journalists who attempt to incorporate a human rights focus into their daily work, as well as the potential of journalism in human rights education in the country at large.

Key Lessons Learned/Recommendations/Findings:

  • The journalist trainees said they were not being paid for the time they devoted to working on human rights stories with the JHR trainer, causing them economic problems.
  • Journalists covering media rights often were not paid for their work.
  • Journalists working for private media find it difficult to publish human rights stories because they aren’t seen as profitable.