Regional Report: Media Literacy and Education Needs of Journalists and the Public in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

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The research on education needs of journalists and public in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia was carried out within the framework of the project “South-East European Partnership for Media Development”.

The research aims to provide an up-to-date environmental analysis of the journalism education and media literacy programs available in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It provides real world data and informationon education needs in journalism and for the general public, as well as an overview of the environmental factors at the basis of media literacy.

The key conclusions of the research are:

• Level of knowledge and training of teachers/professors lags behind or is non-existent both in ICT and in media
• Diverse backgrounds of teachers/professors, rarely with any practice in journalism, and not in possession of a
degree in journalism.
• State and private universities have been offering journalism degrees in the past decade, however there is a trend in
the recent year of universites either closing, or transforming journalism programs into communications and public
relations programs.
• Journalism education, as every other discipline in education, is in a need of reforms, improvement of processes and
addressing the gap between education and business.
• Numerous industry and professional associations exist throughout the region, however they seem not to be leading
the changes and improvements in the media industry, as the majority are not active or act sporadically. Professional
organisations are not strong and do not power any major initiatives across all researched countries.
• There is no structured and comprehensive information about journalism education, quality levels, as there is no
authority across all countries which collects data about the progress of journalism stutents in the sector and their
advancement in career.
• Holding a degree in journalism is not essential for applying and finding a job in the media sector.
• Professional qualification/journalism degree is not a driver for career growth. No journalists’ career paths or
developed competency models were found.
• No evidence is found about the existence of a direct correlation between education (degree hold) and positions in
newsrooms hierarchy.
• There is major dissatisfaction of media owners and editors with the knowledge and skills obtained in universities.
• Media sector companies call for better programs, mirroring the industry changed requirements towards knowledge
and practical skills, in the light of digitalisation and changed consumer/audience information consumption patterns.
Newsrooms seek journalists with practical know-how and general education.
• Cooperation between media sector and universities/education institutions is an individual effort, rather than an
established, sustainable system of partnership.
• Very often, journalists and editors face obstacles in applying best journalism standards, principles, and knowledge
gained through workshops, qualifications, courses and formal education, because of media dependence on a variety
of interests – political (pro and anti-government), business, commercial etc.
• Education institutions (universities, schools) are chronically under budgeted to allow for high-profile guest lectors,
equipment and practical trainings.

Read the full report here.

Read the document Considerations and Policy Recommendations here.