Journalists need to empower themselves with analytical and critical skills to be able to navigate the ever-evolving digital world.

That is according to fraycollege of Communications CEO Paula Fray.

“The story is no longer as straightforward as it was,” she said, speaking during a Namibia Media Trust (NMT) #freespeak podcast episode called ,“The future of journalism education”. Fray joined podcast host Gwen Lister to discuss the relevance of media training programmes in a changing media landscape.

Lister said in these unprecedented times, journalism education is at the core of bridging the skills gap brought forward by a digitised media landscape. She emphasised that it is important to ensure that good journalism standards are upheld in order to support the media’s function in society.

“At the core of this uncertainty is the issue of journalism education and the sustainability of ethical independent journalism that can push back the tide of disinformation to best serve democracy,” she said.

Fray spoke on the challenges such as the fast pace of the new media environment and the high expectations placed on journalists that are reshaping capacity building for contemporary journalists.

“Journalists are in an environment where the daily grind of journalism sometimes hampers the ongoing learning as well,” Fray said.

Despite heightened pressure, journalists cannot afford to remain rigid in a media environment that demands a series of skills to satiate the growing demands of a digitised working environment.

“We can no longer consider ourselves only as print, radio or television reporters. We are multiplatform storytellers,” said Fray.

Lister reflected on when traditional media still flourished. She highlighted concerns about how training programmes are cementing journalism ‘basics’ as the critical foundation for good journalism and how this is being adapted in journalism education for the new digital world.

Today, the popularity of traditional media is on the decline. According to the Status of the Media 2019-20 ,report, South African print news has plummeted through the years. A South African supplement for the ,Reuters Institute Digital News Report states that 72% of respondents in a news survey said that they access their news online.

As the world embraces digital technologies, Fray said it is important that journalists receive strong yet adaptable value-based training.

“Future-fit journalists are not only comfortable with change, but they also embrace it in order to serve the public,” she said.

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