The educational requirement of press and broadcasting profession in Europe in the 1930s was only high school degrees. The absence of formal education for journalist let to the creation of different schools for journalism such as the establishment of Turkey Two-Year Institute of Journalism in 1949. However, although there were about 500 students enrolled in the program, the initiative failed due to the lack of qualified lecturers.
In 1965, UNESCO supported the establishment of Journalism and Communications Higher School in Ankara and gave French journalist Georges Pitoleff and four other students scholarships abroad.
Since journalism involves giving importance to public interest and being aware of social problems, human rights, equality, and cultural diversity, the mission of ILEF is to combine knowledge with practical lives. This in practice is providing core and basic skills and developing students public interest and desire to make a better world.
Journalism’s relationship with social structures and institutions made it a public interest in terms of ethics and social responsibility. For instance, investigative journalists were questioned regarding the ethical implications of their expose on people’s privacy. Journalists’ strong emphasis on freedom of the press and social responsibility often result to media framing, an enduring practice affecting people’s attitudes towards social issues such as crime, internet safety, and others.
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Public Interest and Press Freedom
Public interest and limitations of press freedom are the practical aspects of journalism education. In reality, journalists are often interested in socially relevant issues transpiring in different sectors. Their work normally involves choosing between professional interest and social responsibility and therefore requires a morally sound journalist.
Journalism is often praised when it is fair and socially responsible thus a good journalist follows the rules of their work and aware of society’s demands of journalism.
The idea of social responsibility came from Adolph Ochs pledge when he bought the New York Times in 1896. It was a promise to “give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect or interest involved”. The pledge was later on adapted by the journalism community that later developed the idea of “journalistic independence”. However, great responsibilities are often hard to fulfill, as journalism in practice is historically associated with horrifying practices such as fabrication in news stories, publishing of fake photographs, impersonation, racism, and others.
Higher education help journalism students developed academic and practical skills necessary in professional and social responsible journalist. However, since journalism, in reality, involves professional interest, the practical aspects of journalism education should be given more emphasis particularly in the area of public interest and human dignity and privacy.