European Journalists Face New Technology Crisis Says Survey

  • Almost half are “ill-prepared” for change
  • Call for media unions to act
  • Urgent plea for new training initiatives

    A growing crisis in journalism where more than 40 per cent of reporters and writers say they are not ready for the challenges of using new communications technologies was revealed in a survey published today.

    Urgent actions to create a training strategy for mid-career and freelance journalists were called for. Web-based information research, use of on-line databases and digital photography were the three most popular training demands among journalists.

    The training needs survey concludes the first phase of the ReporStag-e project organized by a consortium of European journalists organisations, research and training specialists. ReporStag-e will now establish a “Virtual training centre’ – (web-site) for journalists needing to improve their IT knowledge. In particular ReporStag-e will provide a user-friendly site for journalists needing to keep pace with technological changes affecting the profession.

    “Many journalists, particularly mid-career and freelance journalists are in danger of being left stranded by the pace of technological developments,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists. “While it has revolutionized many aspects of the profession formal training provisions have failed to keep up with demand. Good journalists are suffering as a result. ReporStag-e is an effort to provide a free training service for all journalists who need to improve their skills and their confidence with IT.”

    The EFJ believes that Freelances, who lack the support of in-house training programmes, are most likely to benefit. But it also aims to serve mid career journalists in danger of being swept aside by a new generation of Internet wise graduates.

    The content of the virtual training school is under development and will be ready for the first test-runs in the Spring of 2004. Journalists are invited to register at ReporStag-e to help evaluate the training modules and contribute to the final product.

    The project is funded by the Leonardo Programme of the European Commission and includes the following partners:

    The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

    Service Telematique et Communication (ULB-STC)

    The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC)

    The Journalists' Association of Granada

    SCIENTER Espana

    Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)

    The Association Journalist Provincial Press (ESET)

    MILITOS - Emerging Technologies and Services

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    Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00
    The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries