Saturday, February 15, 2014

WJS Researchers gather in Greece to Discuss Data, Methodology and attend ECREA


Greece, a country that is home to ancient architecture, art museums and historical monuments, will host the Worlds of Journalism Study convention this spring for member-scholars to discuss and analyze the evolution of journalism around the globe.

The Worlds of Journalism Study, a research group established in 2006, will host its 2014 convention in Thessaloniki, Greece March 27-29.

According to the Worlds of Journalism Study’s (WJS) official website, the organization “is an academically driven project that was founded to regularly assess the state of journalism throughout the world.

“The Study’s primary objective is to help journalism researchers, practitioners, media managers and policy makers better understand world views and changes that are taking place in the professional orientations of journalists, the conditions and limitations under which they operate, as well as the social functions of journalism in a changing world.”

The organization is a product of researchers from 80 countries, including Kenya, Malaysia and Ecuador, among others.

Chair of the Worlds of Journalism Study, Dr. Thomas Hanitzsch, said “This type of collaboration is, to the best of my knowledge, the first in the field.” He observed that this kind of research collaboration is “much more common in other fields (such as science)... (The Worlds of Journalism Study is) the largest collaboration in the field of communication studies.”

Hanitzsch’s interest in comparing global journalism culture sparked when he finished his Ph.D. studies in Indonesia, and was motivated to seize the opportunity to compare Indonesian journalism to other country’s approaches.

The European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) posted an itinerary online; the event will include featured keynote speakers and several parallel sessions.

ECREA’s theme for this year’s convention is, “Journalism in Transition: Crisis of Opportunity?” which is the kind of question that researchers at the Worlds of Journalism Study are trying to explore.

Tim Vos, associate professor and coordinator for global research initiatives at the University of Missouri and one of the U.S. primary investigators for the Study, said there is a lot to analyze based on data collected from journalists of all ages in various cultures.

“The convention promises to be an academically productive and internationally well-attended event,” Hanitzsch said in a letter.

He explained that at the convention, researchers are expected to present their findings from their studies of certain countries, reflect upon the methodology and discuss future steps in the Worlds of Journalism Study.

Some of the countries to be discussed include Rwanda and Tanzania, which was studied by Director of the Institute for International Journalism (IIJ), Dr. Yusuf Kalyango.

Approximately 400 journalists were surveyed on their journalism approaches for researchers to analyze the similarities and differences in the culture of the field around the world. According to Hanitzsch’s letter, the final data is due in December.

Vos said the U.S. is “ahead of the game” in its research, but added that some researchers have “only just begun” to analyze what they have found so far.

Hanitzsch said that the process of the study remains ongoing, and the collaborators will discuss how to continue research and the future structure of the Worlds of Journalism Study at the Greece conference. 

“The whole landscape or environment of journalism is changing,” Vos said. “Journalism cultures are reacting to each other and (trying) to get a sense of what’s driving some of those changes.”

He added that part of the future of the Study involves publishing a book after analyzing and publishing the results of the data. Hanitzsch said that the Worlds of Journalism Study’s data are expected to be published in mid-2015, and expects the book to be on shelves approximately two years later.

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