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New journalism practice needs a new journalism education

Crossborder collaborative journalism is applied more and more widely in the media, as journalists address global challenges in networked societies. The move towards collaborative journalism is used in globally known investigations such as the Panama Papers on tax avoidance schemes and in local and regional collaborations focusing on topics of immediate importance for the citizens such as affordable housing, reliable health care or work conditions just to mention a few examples. Thus, crossborder collaborative journalism is a competence that journalism educations need to provide their students with, in order to meet demand in the industry. This is the immediate need we wish to address with this project.

To do so, we have to equip the next generation of journalists – our students – with additional competences such as intercultural communication or the competence to constantly maintain a transnational outlook even when doing local, regional or national journalism.

Practical competences include interpersonal communication in remote and diverse teams and international project management. Digital competences are indispensable, so future journalists need the necessary familiarity with digital tools to actually make journalistic research and publication happen while being mindful of digital opportunities and limitations, digital routines, and digital security for example for source protection, as well as an understanding of ethics and media law in transnational contexts.

So what is the best educational model for a practice oriented journalism education?

In one classroom, we can teach about collaborative journalism, but we can not guide the students through the – inevitable – difficulties that need to be surmounted in intercultural, remote and diverse teams. Hence, we decided to go for a model, where we simulate the international set up from story idea to publication – but under guidance of experienced journalism practitioners and lecturers.

With the Crossborder Journalism Campus project, CJC, we develop a model for crossborder collaborative journalism education. Once developed, tested and documented, the pilot collaboration model is flexible because it enriches already existing curricula and thus has high transferability potential.

Developing a new education practice

The Crossborder Journalism Campus 2022-2024 allows the opportunity to offer two cohorts of students from the three participating journalism educations to meet in Brussels to get to know each other, discuss and draft their work plans. For two semesters, they collaborate on journalistic research and end publishing their shared material towards their respective target groups. Once the program is finalised, the findings, evaluation of the process aswell as teaching material will be made public for other practice oriented educations to see, be inspired by and develop further.

The Crossborder Journalism Campus needs – obviously – money to allow 70+ journalists and their lecturers to travel to meet once, and it needs additional time among the lecturers to support the students and to develop the model. For this, Gothenburg University in 2021 applied for Erasmus+ funding, the project was granted and runs from 2022 to 2024. The Erasmus+ support comes with full freedom on the educational, editorial and academic work.

Read more about the Crossborder Journalism Campus project in this Erasmus+ announcement.