Mix & Match
INDIVIDUAL + INDEPENDENT
You do not learn journalism according to a fixed program in a one-size-fits-all training. Society is too complex, the roles too diverse, the tasks too diverse. As a generalist, a journalist is far too limited: because he can supposedly do everything, he can do nothing. Moreover, a fixed program ignores the desire for flexibility and individualization. It is therefore logical that regular journalism training became redundant once that was clear.
Journalistiek leer je niet volgens een vast programma in een one size fits all opleiding. De maatschappij is te complex, de rollen te divers, de taken te uiteenlopend. Een journalist is als generalist veel te beperkt: omdat hij zogenaamd alles kan, kan hij niets. Bovendien gaat een vast programma voorbij aan de wens tot flexibilisering en individualisering. Logisch dan ook dat reguliere journalistiekopleidingen overbodig werden toen dat eenmaal duidelijk was.
It is up to the journalist from the beginning to the end of his career? What kind of journalist does he want to be? That question is a constant. Special coaches and programs guide aspiring journalists in this, taking into account any other previous education, be it medicine, history or Japanese language and culture.
Then there are countless ways to complete the desired profile. By gaining work experience at a journalistic title, by following an internal academy of a media company, by doing separate (online) courses, by an in-depth master class every month for inspiration, by being coached by other experts. This creates hundreds of types of journalists, all with their own niches, accents, skills and specialisms.
The mix&match journalist has a critical, curious, basic attitude and acts independently in a specific part of the field. Because of the specialist level, this journalist will often become proficient in skills associated with in-depth research.
The type of knowledge required entirely depends on the field. The journalist will also use his audience for substantive research, for example by means of crowdsourcing or by sharing personal information when requesting a major study. He can also ask people about their area of expertise, opening up the possibility of involving them in a production. In this way, the audience contributes rather than just comments.
Technology for disclosures
It took journalists a long time to see the need for artificial intelligence (AI). It started with realizing how much AI is being used - and what the dangers are. Large productions about, for example, the discriminatory selection in application processing times were the result. In the meantime, people started to realize that AI was also very useful for the journalistic process. Not only for research, but also for data journalism. As a result, research can be tackled more carefully and on a larger scale.
For example, text mining helps to search large text files for patterns and trends. Machine learning can help you with everything, from scanning images to creating social media posts. It is crucial here that the correct data is supplied and that algorithms are constantly queried, as they are not value-free. This is where the skills of the specialists, the 'algorithmic journalists', come into play.
“Many people think that being a teacher means teaching others something. But I consider myself more of a guide who helps an individual determine the right route. Sometimes people who come to me already know where they want to go. Sometimes they have no idea. Sometimes they have already been working much longer and want to go in a different direction. I help them with this. What makes you tick? What have you done for this that is relevant? Then together we look at which route is possible. There are so many directions and so many types of journalists! It would be a shame to cram everyone into the same mold.”
“As a child we had a family site, for which I worked as a reporter. Once I had to make a choice of study, it became Economy & Management for financial reasons. But it kept on gnawing at me. I felt like I should have been a journalist. I missed the social aspect of my profession; I want to contribute to a just society by doing independent journalism. Once I was working and my contract was not renewed after two flex years, I happened to see an advertisement for an internal talent program at a national newspaper. Specifically for non-journalists with an economic background. I applied and got the job.
With my coach I looked at what suits me and what would be the best way to shape my own learning route. Once there, I discovered that I also find data very interesting. I followed a Data Scraping course in the evenings. Online I followed dozens of tutorials about data and became acquainted with all kinds of new tools. The next step is to improve my knowledge about the use of machine learning for my (data) research. I want to work on that next. That's how I stack my education myself.”