The British University of Leicester is starting doctoral lectures in journalism for PhD students to help them present their work to a wider academic audience. The students will be taught journalistic skills that are, most of all, up to date.
The university is broadening its horizon in response to changes in the media landscape. These will have consequences for the way ideas and knowledge is distributed, says the course’s lecturer, Kostas V Saltzis, who is on a special assignment from De Montfort University, also in Leicester.
Kostas carried out research into newsroom practices which included interviews with senior managers and journalists at BBC News, Sky News, the Financial Times, The Guardian, and APTN.
The study concentrated on managerial decision-making and the restructuring of production processes, and how the changes affect journalistic practices.
Kostas’ findings are that news organisations are in the midst of a massive overhaul of their management philosophies and missions.
Journalists and media professionals will have to become more versatile in their work than ever before, Saltzis predicts. "Reporters now have to cope with extra challenges because the boundaries are blurring between diverse media", he says.
Newsrooms are integrating and journalist work is becoming reorganized as a result of the move towards multimedia production. This challenges traditions of media separation in production and culture, and sets the conditions for the detachment of news from formats specific to particular media.
“At the journalist-audience level, the plethora of new media outfits facilitates a transformation of the relationship. The new dialogue forces journalists to reconsider their role as both ‘gateopeners’ and ‘gatekeepers’ of information, Kostas says.
“New forms of communication such as blogging mean that journalists are engaging in a more direct dialogue with the audience, and are encouraging the networking of information."
"As the sharing of information and dialogue becomes increasingly important, there is also an emphasis for impartial, accurate and professionally produced journalism,” says Saltzis.