JOURNALISM STUDENTS, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND THE PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF MASS MEDIA
How are journalism students' basic perceptions of their future occupation influenced and changed during their education?
This research question is the starting point for a survey based on current internship reports at Sodertorn University, the largest University journalist education Center in Sweden.
At the heart of the Anglo-Saxon mass media tradition is the common normative concept of journalism as first and foremost a third estate; an independent professional reviewer of society's power groups and central institutions.
As a pilot project we have chosen to focus on reflections on this basic value and how it is perceived during the first period of education in relation to the internship semester at the end of three years of education.
Two research hypotheses are tested;
H1: Students are influenced by a strong normative perception of the role of journalism prior to long-term practice
H2: Most of the students revise the perception of journalism's emphasis on critical inquiries during the three-year program foremost in connection to their internship during the last semester
The survey is based on reading of student’s internship reports from 2012 and 2013.
In their reports nearly all pointed out that they were strongly influenced by an normative image of the profession as relatively free and focused on investigative journalism. Which suggests that hypothesis H1 is correct.
During their courses and in connection to their internship during the last semester, the reports show that images of the profession have changed. In their reports students says that freedom within the profession is more limited, the financial framework tight and the scope for investigative work limited. The observations indicate that the hypothesis H2 is correct.
As the observations are based on a limited number of reports, the project will continue with interviews of the students who got their degree five years ago, as well as interviews with teachers and supervisors.