Under the influence of economic, technological and social developments, the field of journalism has been so turbulent in recent decades, that the need arose to look ahead. In 2013, this prompted the Dutch Journalism Fund to conduct a large-scale scenario planning study into the future of the sector. This resulted in four scenarios This study was repeated last year. The results were presented at the beginning of 2022 on the website journalistiek2035.
Yet, if the journalistic landscape is changing so quickly, how should journalism education anticipate this? How do you train for a future when you do not know what it will look like? Either in intermediate vocational education, higher education, or for professionals who want to make the switch to journalism? Or for those who have been working in journalism for much longer and are expected to keep up with all these developments?
Many educators struggle with the choices they can and sometimes have to make. Do you train students to become generalists, who can work cross-media, who can think entrepreneurially and who have research skills as well? What do you do with all those issues that keep coming up, for example because there are new social developments that suddenly shed a different light on contact with your audience? Or technological possibilities that require different skills?
Would it be better, maybe, to train specialists who have acquired knowledge and skills in a specific area of journalism? All of this is happening while media companies are increasingly starting their own internal training courses, either for new talents or for the development of their own journalists.
In addition, various issues are at stake in education. The goal of programs is to be more flexible and give the learner agency. At the same time, the question is what role the working field will play and what mix of hybrid and blended learninginstitutions will offer. The role of the teacher is also changing: in addition to teaching knowledge and skills, the teacher is expected to act more as a coach.
Inspired by the method of scenario planning, we have drawn up radical, coherent but also plausible scenarios for the future of journalism education and professionalization in journalism (lifelong learning/development). The aim of this research is not to predict the future, but to give direction to the debate about training in journalism. For more information about how we came to these scenarios, see Method.