n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Journalism education : bridging media and cultural studies

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0250-0167



Journalism Journalism is more than an ensemble of newsgathering and writing techniques. It is, firstly, a way of viewing and writing about the social world for the public benefit. Similarly, journalism is a means of fomenting conversations in the public domain about events and issues of immediate public interest. While much of journalism training concerns the techniques of text production, too little attention is given to educating students in the ontology or `mindset' within which those techniques and conventions work. Almost no attention is given to the epistemology or `research' approaches by which journalists monitor social phenomena. Short of calling for a more thorough grounding (as a framework) in critical thinking, we suggest that a more constructivist approach be taken to journalism training. This approach need not be prejudiced towards the more technical and functionalist approaches evident in so many textbooks on the subject. Constructive learning is described by some scholars as `active, cumulative, goaldirected, diagnostic and reflective behaviour' (Breen 1996: 4). All these behaviours are found in journalism practice, and should frame both words in journalism training. This requires a more interpretive approach that teaches the practice of journalism as many of the same processes commonly understood as learning.

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