Why journalism education matters : an analysis of the third wave of Australian journalism education (1987-2001)

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The 1990s saw an accelerating growth in student demand for Australian journalism education despite ongoing doubts over the meaning of professionalism in journalism. Professional education primarily aims to initiate students into a specific occupation. Research on the history and character of professional education in journalism in Australia, stimulated in part by the recent growth in the sector, is still relatively embryonic. The claim that journalists possess a distinct way of thinking conceptually (Stuart 1996) is not pursued in this literature. More broadly, in the Australian context, journalism education has not been interrogated in theoretical terms and there is no account that explores journalism as an intellectual practice susceptible to research and development through higher education. On the contrary, against a background of historical claims about the anti-intellectualism of journalism, research on journalism education has tended to focus on issues such as the course design and delivery, the industry relevance of curricula offerings, and graduate employment destinations. This lack of exploratory research aimed at formulating a theoretical approach to journalism education represents a serious gap in the knowledge required to identify and develop the rationale for professional education in journalism. Thus, the aim of this research is to critically appraise recent developments in professional education in journalism in Australia in a way that is directed towards understanding journalism as a distinct intellectual practice, focused on academic practices and standards, and alert to the student experience. This thesis draws on the resources of reflexive sociology to examine changing academic practices and standards in journalism education, explore student experiences of the educational offerings, and investigate the intellectual work of journalism. It offers a profile of professional education in journalism since 1987; an exposition and analysis of the views of a group of journalism students and graduates from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); and a theoretical discussion of the journalistic mode of thinking or habitus and its susceptibility to change through education. This thesis proposes that the study of journalism as intellectual practice provides an effective means for interpreting recent developments in professional education in journalism in Australia. It develops an understanding of the specific mode of thinking or habitus, produced by and in journalistic fields, and concludes that journalism can be well learned in a university because it offers myriad opportunities for the kind of competitive encounters between practical and reflexive viewpoints that characterise journalistic work. This thesis highlights innovative new approaches to professional education in journalism that emerged in Australia in the 1990s. Not only do they give expression to the possibility that journalistic practices can be modified and reformed through critical and constructive relationships between journalism educators and journalists but as well, they confirm the importance of studying of journalism as intellectual practice and of working to provide journalism students with optimal resources for their future endeavours.
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