Professional Perspectives: placing lived experience at the heart of journalism education
Authors: Fowler-Watt, K.
Journal: Journalism Education
This paper will consider the importance of the blend of theory and practice in journalism education. It posits that in order to be equipped for a lifetime in journalism, students need to operate as reflective practitioners, with a well-‐‑formed sense of professional and personal identity. Now more than ever, in a post-‐‑Leveson landscape, they need to know who they are, what they stand for and to have their own individual ‘voice’. Drawing on the example set by the BBC College of Journalism and my own doctoral research, for context, I also use a case study from my own teaching to illustrate the point: Professional Perspectives operates a programme of visiting speakers from industry that provides students with differing perspectives on current and key issues in journalism, such as ethics, original storytelling, impartiality. In the final assignment, students address a key challenge, placing quotes and ideas from the practitioners into a theoretical context supported by wider reading. In addition, they reflect on their own sense of self as a journalist. The paper will conclude that active learning from the lived experiences of others can enhance the lifelong education of journalists, informing their self-‐‑understanding and encouraging an ethical approach to their craft.