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Tamara Witschge

Tamara Witschge

The changing face of journalism

‘Our students find jobs or start their own media or communication businesses soon after graduating,’ says Tamara Witschge, lecturer in the Journalism department and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen. However, journalism as a breadwinner is going through an existential crisis.

The Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at the University of Groningen was set up to monitor changes in the way news is produced and consumed, and analyse the changing role of journalism in society. Some of this work comes from partners in the media industry, in need of the University’s specialized knowledge and powers of reflection.

Revenue

How is the news industry responding to current advances in digital and social media, for example? Social media provide consumers with easy access to free news and social discussions. Witschge: ‘Changes in consumer behaviour are jeopardizing the existing revenue models in journalism, which traditionally serves as the intermediary between politics and citizens. New journalists are keenly searching for new revenue models to fund today’s high costs of producing news.’

A state of flux

Which skills do media producers look for in young journalists? Witschge: ‘In addition to the basic principles of journalism, we also teach our students how to reflect on the changes in the historical function of journalism and the current challenges and digital possibilities. This equips them for a career of high-quality journalism and gives them a business sense that will help them find their niche in a competitive market, whether as an employee or a freelancer. Journalism has a very important social function. Journalists are intermediaries between politics and society and as such, they are the guardians of democracy. They work towards the greater good, which also needs to be redefined given the current state of flux. Entrepreneurs from the media sector want to know where they are in order to align their strategy for the future. The Department of Journalism can provide the independent research into modernization that they need.’

Last modified:19 June 2014 4.12 p.m.
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