Model Curricula for Journalism Education: Setting Standards for Quality Journalism

© UNESCO

“Journalists should be aware of our basic dilemma as citizens: that we have a need for timely and deep knowledge of important issues and trends – but we lack the time and means to access most of this crucial information. Thus journalists should use their special access to put the material they gather in a context that will engage our attention and also allow us to see trends and events in proportion to their true significance in our lives.” (The Elements of Journalism – Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel) 

The challenge for trainee journalists is to present facts from a gripping and relevant angle with authority. This requires verification skills enhanced by an engaging cross-disciplinary educational experience.

To meet this challenge UNESCO Model Curricula on Journalism Education offers a framework for a comprehensive education that can be adapted to specific needs. It takes into account social, economic, political and cultural contexts of developing countries highlighting connections between journalism, development and democratic discourse.

Developed through a global consultation process over a period of two years, the “UNESCO Model” was endorsed at the first World Journalism Education Congress (25-28 June 2007).

The “Model Curricula” is not meant to be prescriptive. It provides models that need to be adapted by journalism educators to meet local needs and resources. It has now been adapted by 57 journalism education institutions in 45 developing countries. The curriculum is available in 9 languages.  

Who can use it?

  • Journalism faculties of universities
  • Journalism training institutes and media organizations 

The Curricula aim to develop the:

  • Ability to think critically, incorporating skill in  comprehending, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating unfamiliar material quickly and well enough to explain it clearly to others, as well as a basic understanding of evidence and research methods;  
  • Ability to write acutely, using narrative, descriptive, and analytical methods;
  • Knowledge of local, regional, national and international political, economic, cultural, religious, and social institutions issues;  
  • Knowledge of current affairs and general knowledge of history and geography.  

What do the “Model Curricula” offer?

A set of competencies and course listings and descriptions for:  

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism;  
  • Masters Degree for specialized journalism;  
  • Diploma in Journalism (Post secondary and Mid-career).  

The Curricula are structured around three axes or lines of development:  

  • The norms, values, tools, standards, and practices of journalism;  
  • The social, cultural, political, economic, legal and ethical aspects of journalism practice;
  • Knowledge of the world and preparation to meet journalism’s intellectual challenges.
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