IFJ Consultation on the Future of Journalism


The IFJ is carrying out a thorough review of changing conditions in journalism. We have a daily monitoring service (see Monitoring Change ) and we are planning a major conference on the challenges facing journalism unions later this year.

The issue of how we deal with the media crisis, set out strategies for the future organisation of unions and help our unions reinvigorate the core mission of journalism will be at the heart of the IFJ World Congress debates in Spain in May 2010. 

With all of this in mind, the IFJ set up a group on the future of journalism[1] following the decision of the IFJ Executive Committee in Paris on November 15th 2008.

The Group is considering changes taking place in the world of journalism and will make recommendations to the IFJ on actions to be taken to review, strengthen and reinforce the work of journalists' unions.  An interim report and recommendations will be drafted by the end of 2009 and will be finalised for submission to the IFJ Congress in Cadiz next year.

The future group is looking at the impact of change on following
1.                  Industry change and industrial relations
2.                  Professionalism in journalism
3.                  Journalism at work

It is also aiming to consider the following:
4.         Why journalism matters and how we revive journalistic mission in a changed information environment
5.         The need for journalism education, media literacy programmes and clear understanding on the principles of access to journalism
6.         The role of unions in protecting and enhancing conditions of journalistic work

We are gathering additional information on these topics from all IFJ affiliates and other relevant groups and we would appreciate your feedback on all or any of the questions listed below, reflecting the main concerns or activity of your organisation.

Please reply by 6 July to marc.gruber@ifj.org


Industry change and industrial relations


  • What innovations are taking place in the newspaper or broadcaster industry in the face of the emergence of the internet and changing user habits regarding the use of media?   
  • What is the response of the industry to the fact that people are using new technologies -- such as computers or hand-held mobile devices -- to download news/information/ or entertainment content instead of using traditional media?
  • What has been the impact of these changes in the industrial relations climate?

Professionalism in journalism

  • Who is a journalist? Do we need to define their professional work? How do we distinguish this work from the other forms of information disseminations, for instance bloggers?
  • Should journalism be open? Are the different systems of access (apprenticeship, national cards, and diploma) still up to date?
  • How do we create systems of accountability and transparency for professionals and non professionals? Should journalists have special rights and responsibilities?

Journalism work

  • How has the day to day work of journalists changed as a result of multimedia working?
  • What are the key positive and negative impacts arising from multi-platform publishing on the working lives of journalists?
  • Give examples on how the new technical skills and the traditional skills for investigative  journalism are combined

Why journalism matters and reinventing journalism
Could you provide good examples of:

  • A story that played across a range of media platforms, which added value to the basic information and which could have only have been done effectively within a media institution. In particular, examples where journalism made a difference in acting as a watchdog on powerful institutions in revealing issues that help defend fundamental human rights?
  • An exemplary case of professional and amateur collaboration which made a story better?
  • An outstanding case of journalists using new technology and/or new methods to find and gather information (eg. mash-ups, twitter)?
  •  An outstanding case of journalists using new technologies in analysing information? (Eg. visualisation techniques in assessing data)?
  • An outstanding case of presentation of a story (eg. pushing the potential of online multimedia to the extreme, geo-customisation)?
  • Cases where civil society and public figures mobilise in the defence of journalism because they believe in the role of a vibrant, plural, free press in society. How was this done?
  •  Good journalistic practices that use new developments to enhance and improve journalism?

 Journalism education, media literacy and access to journalism

  • What is needed to promote wider understanding of the role of media and journalism in modern society?
  • How do we increase the prestige of our academic qualification in journalism without making them a legal requirement for the exercise of journalism? What kind of dialogue does this imply between journalists' organisations and education organisations and what are the most important topics to deal with?
  • Should there be restrictions, academic or otherwise, on access to work in journalism, if so what forms should this take?

 Unions at work

  •  How are companies reacting to change in industrial relations terms? How are unions responding? Should unions develop new relations with publishers or educational organisations?
  • What strategies are journalists' organisations using to engage and recruit media workers in new industries? Do newer members (or potential members) perceive themselves as journalists?  
  •  Can you give examples of techniques and technologies your organisation is using to organise freelance and contingent workers? What kind of collective agreements are necessary and how do you facilitate community building in journalism?

[1] Member of  the Group are Arnold Amber (CWA, Canada), Guy Berger (Academic, South Africa), Beth Costa (FENAJ, Brazil), Jeremy Dear (NUJ, UK), Rafael Diaz Arias (Journalist and Academic, Spain), Bambang Harymurti (Tempo, Indonesia), Fred Jacobsen (DJ, Denmark), Jean-Paul Marthoz (Editor and writer, Belgium), Claire O'Rourke (MEEA, Australia), Pr. Jamal Eddine Naji (Academic, Morocco-Canada)