How do you educate a journalist? : the competing discourses of journalism education
This research is concerned with the curriculum in an area of professional education, that of journalism. Competing concepts of journalism and journalism education exist which have led to variety and some confusion in the structure and content of educational programmes. The research investigates the beliefs and values underlying the two main undergraduate degree programmes in journalism in Ireland, at Dublin City University and the Dublin Institute of Technology, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the issues involved. The study is set in the context of the more general debates on journalism education and professional education. As the topic is to do with meaning and language, a discourse analysis approach was used, specifically the method of critical discourse analysis developed in the work of Fairclough. This approach entails a comprehensive, multi-layered analysis starting from a small amount of data or core texts. The data used were documents. The brief published descriptions of the two courses served as the core texts; the analysis of which was further tested through examining documents detailing the course modules and course rationale. The third layer of analysis looked at the usage of the concepts in texts from the wider journalistic and educational contexts in which the courses were developed. Discrepancies were found in the concepts of journalism and journalism education within and between the texts at the different levels of analysis. There were differences in the perception of journalism as distinct from or part of the media in general, differences in the nuances attached to its role, and differences as to whether its status is that of a profession. The two curricula studied exemplify the two common journalism education models which are difficult to place within the conventional models of professional education. The findings of the study are discussed in so far as they have implications for practice.