AS IT HAPPENED: Journalism training and diversity inclusiveness

The first panel discussion at the MEDIANE London Thematic Encounter deals with journalism training and diversity inclusiveness. The panel is facilitated by Reynald Blion, Media & Diversity and MEDIANE Programme Manager at the Council of Europe.

Panel members:

  • Nico DROK Professor, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences – The Netherlands – The EJTA Tartu Declaration and its Diversity Inclusiveness;
  • Pascale COLISSON, Postgraduate Studies & Diversity Manager, IPJ – Institut Pratique du Journalisme – France – A Journalism School running after the French Diversity Label;
  • Diane KEMP, Professor, BCU School of Media & Deputy Chair, BJTC, Broadcast Journalism Training Council – United Kingdom – Possible initiatives between broadcasters & training centres for diversity inclusiveness.

14:46: Nico Drok starts off the panel with a presentation about the EJTA Tartu Declaration and its Diversity Inclusiveness. He says EJTA was founded because people thought we can’t have a “unified democratic Europe” without education.

14:49: Speed has become part of the system and of professional cultures, says Drok. If you see people running, most of the time they will be journalists. Speed is part of the culture, but stereotyping also is, and there is a link between the two.

14:52: Are we trying to incorporate diversity inclusiveness or do we have to redefine journalism and change the balance from fast news to analysis and reflection – a dilemma affecting journalism trainers. Drok says the mass media model we know is coming to an end, because citizens and consumers have entered the market as suppliers and there is an abundance of information.

14:55: Journalism education has four pillars: journalism skills, language skills with an accent on listening and reading, general knowledge, and research and reflection. These four pillars have lead to the 10 competences of the Tartu Declaration, which include reflecting on journalism’s role in society, finding relevant issues and angles, and accounting for journalistic work.

14:58: It should be part of normal daily practice to include variety. Drok sums up by saying that the Declaration is not trying to change journalism culture, but to help it change from “media as a mirror” to “media as a catalyst”.

15:08: Colisson has put her school through a process which has been called the “diversity label”. Blion asks why Colisson chose to chase after the label, and what impact the process had on the dynamic of the school.

Reynald Blion, Media & Diversity and MEDIANE Programme Manager at the Council of Europe

Reynald Blion, Media & Diversity and MEDIANE Programme Manager at the Council of Europe

15:11: Colisson says the process was extremely demanding. The label forced them to have a very broad discussion about diversity in the school, including the recruitment of students – how they choose future journalists and how they teach them to practice journalism. Colisson says the diversity of staff was also important. The diversity label was a 360 degree turnaround on everything. She prefers the expression “equality of chances” to “diversity”.

Pascale Colisson, Postgraduate Studies & Diversity Manager, IPJ .

Pascale Colisson, Postgraduate Studies & Diversity Manager, IPJ .

15:14: Colisson also fights against self-censorship. She says she is aware that people from certain backgrounds are less likely to come into the trade. When such students come to a first meeting, they are told that the school fights against all types of discrimination and that they have real policies in place.

15:17: Communication is fundamental. The management also needs to show and clearly demonstrate that this is a priority for the school. Colisson says she almost cancelled an event once because the boys ran the bar and the girls were cleaning up afterwards. It’s not about a couple of hours of nice words, it has to permeate everything.

15:19: Students should be told why they haven’t been selected for a particular course. Colisson says assessment of students is important all the way through.

15:21: She says the school sensitises their students to stereotyping and looks at the way they work in their articles and reports.

15:22: Blion asks what impact the label has had on the school. She says they’ve only just achieved the label, and that the process involved a number of exchanges with other media organisations who have achieved it – a limited number at present. Those that have achieved the label are a little bit more careful in terms of their recruitment because of the economic environment, so it’s difficult to live up to it.

15:26: Next to contribute is Diane Kemp, who explains the thinking behind the BJTC, a consortium of companies who get together with higher education institutions in the UK to discuss guidelines for training standards.

15:30: Kemp says key storytelling is about finding the people who have the stories, and that’s not the preserve of a certain group. If you’re going to be a good journalist, it implies that you are going to be good at being inclusive. The challenges for universities are: getting an inclusive cohort, supporting them to succeed, and translating that into jobs in the industry. Kemp says universities should start doing outreach work and try to inspire children to be journalists at an earlier stage than A-Levels.

15:33: The BJTC guidelines state that all student journalists have to have contact books that reflect all their communities. Kemp says you have to have fingers in every pie. The BJTC will also be holding sessions on a regional basis, and Kemp says it is sometimes harder for universities outside London to embed these practices.

15:36: The session is coming to a close, and Blion concludes by highlighting the idea of establishing bridges between the different players in the industry and communities.


15:38: The conference is briefly breaking up for a coffee break and then will split into three sessions for group work. Keep an eye on the site for the latest updates and exclusive content, and get in touch by using the hashtag #mediane_uk.


About Catalina Albeanu

Romanian expat and coffee lover. Around @cityjournalism most of the time. Tech is cool. Things I wrote:

Posted on June 11, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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