The Journalism Research & Education feedback report reveals a range of ways in which the section is responding to the world challenges, and engaging the section members. In this context, the JRE section aims to play a vital role as an engine or driver of change; as a means of meeting present and future journalism research and education needs; and as a promoter of, or contributor to the journalism growth.
There is considerable emphasis on the development of the section mechanism, and performance within the utmost parameters of transparency, and democracy in the best civilized way.
A starting point is to recognize that JRE is a necessary and increasingly vital component in any nation's development, while taking into account the far reaching and profound changes in the journalism practice, research and education, as well as the corresponding impact and changes it has brought about all over the world.
Another cornerstone aspect is the advocacy of the JRE section to share the experience, insights, and lessons from different regions of the world, and conversely to learn and benefit from their experience; and to participate actively in the forging of a renewed global vision for journalism research and education that can adequately address the fast changing future.
The main objective of the current restructuring of the Journalism Research & Education Section is to help improve the governance, and performance of the section so as to further level efficiency and quality enhancement introduced by the JRE section chair; and improve the quality and relevance of content, structure and functionality of the section.
This feedback report contains a detailed summary of the information the section members and others provided during and after the Mexico (09) conference, or through the JRE Survey that was sent to all new and old members.
The report is divided into three sections: the first one includes an executive summary of the work progress of the JRE Section, while the second provides an assessment of the JRE section performance since its restructuring plan was introduced in Stockholm (08). The first part reflects some of the suggested recommendations for a better performance.
In the first section, there is a sincere attempt to reflect clearly and accurately the different activities undertaken in the JRE Section between Stockholm (08) and Mexico City (09).
Before the Mexico 09 Conference:
1. JRE Journal after Stockholm through a blind review process
2. JRE Website-to provide main information, time lines, logistics, themes etc.(http://www.jre-iamcr.org)
3. JRE Blog-to facilitate communication, engagement , & continuous updates.
4.JRE Restructuring through its five themes as proposed in Stockholm business meeting of the section.(http://jre09.blogspot.com)
5.Inviting a steering committee for the selection of abstracts for Mexico.
6.Accepted the challenge to help the Media Education Section based on the request of the Joseph Borg, to be the convener of MER & JRE program. This meant double the work, and dealing with the available time slots within the limited time, and availability of the rooms (A process closely done with Hopeton & Aimee).
7. Scope enlarged the call for papers in different regions to maximize the diversity of the contributions .
8. Old and new members of JRE were invited to chair sessions to ensure diversity and gender balance.
9. JRE 09 included (14) sessions; one of them was a joint Session with CPT. The JRE program also introduced two round table discussions as a pilot in two of the JRE themes to ensure maximum engagement.
During Mexico 09 conference:
1. Total number of papers that were discussed in Mexico Conference is (52), number of attendees exceed one hundred, excluding two more papers. As one author came, and got sick so was in the session but could finish the presentation, while the other author has also registered but had an emergency and sent another colleague to present the paper. Is there a fixed rule to deal with similar situations in the future?
2.JRE Section had generally very good attendance in (10) sessions, while having only two presenters in one session, one in a session, and the joint session with CPT was cancelled due to authors not showing up without notification.
3. All sessions have been documented by pictures, which will be posted in August on the JRE Blog.
4. I have been attending all the session, except the concurrent ones of course, to know the feedback of the JRE members. I think the feedback is great but I´ll still use the survey to get specific responses about the different issues related to the JRE section.
After the Mexico 09 Conference:
1. Survey to assess the level of performance and listen to constructive ideas for better structure and organization.
2. Selection of a new steering committee for the blind review of the JRE On-line Journal.
3. JRE members receive email for the JRE On-line Journal, and different information get posted on the blog.
In the second section, the feedback report includes the assessment of the JRE section performance in the eyes of its growing in size and demographics members. The overall performance of JRE section was generally very satisfactory, and in some cases have even surpassed the agreed upon plans. Others showed some delays due to unforeseen circumstances like the N1H1, or the unfamiliarity of the current changes that are already addressed and improved.
Having sad so, this is only the beginning of a more dynamic of the JRE section progress, through engaging and participation of the section members to help position itself as a global key player in the field of journalism research and education.
First, all the feedback responses confirmed that the JRE section has levelled the correspondence prior to the conference, and that it was informative and effective. For example, Abiodun Salawu said that the organization was good, and even considered it one of the best organised sections at the conference, especially in terms of availability of presenters and their papers for presentation. Dulcilia Buitoni added that the logistical arrangements were very nice, and the papers had a good level; as well as the logistical arrangements were very nice. However, Dulcilia urged the section to have more focus on visual languages, and further widening of geographic areas, and regions.
Hiroki Minami did not depend on the comprehensive information available on the blog, and requested more diversity among the participants, though Hiroki acknowledged that the JRE section mechanism and performance was very effective.
Second, the newly developed five themes, and the different components of journalism research and education were positively received. For example, Joel Frederico de Silveria said that the main trends of the theory and practice were balanced in the papers presented. Joel added that there were a lot of research in a comparative perspective about journalistic cultures, as well a strong discussion in terms of de-westernalization of journalism studies and research.
Susan Jacobson proposed to have “top paper” awards,.but they do not have to be monetary awards. However, to be eligible for “top paper,” presenters must turn in a full paper by the deadline. Susan urged for more attention to journalism education, and emphasis on junior researcher, I would be willing to serve as a moderator to free up some of the more senior scholars to be discussants.Susan recommended have a pre-conference workshop on journalism education. Susan acknowledged that JRE was one of the better-organized sections at IAMCR Mexico. I also found the papers to be of high quality.
Third, the technical and ethical challenges were projected by some of the members. For example, Malou Willemers had concerns about members missing the conference without notification. Malou also felt that the technical staff in some the sessions were not up to the mark, and lacked the necessary skills to help, and recommends that the next conference should give it much attention. Manual Pinto had concerns about the merge of the two sections, though Manual is very familiar why the JRE section chair accepted the challenge and offered to help. Besides, Manual confirmed that the sessions were very well dynamic with interesting debates, and supported the new idea introduced to have regular sessions, panels, and round table discussions (JRE Cafe').
Mara Rovida suggested to give more time for discussion, and advised the presenters to have brief over view to provide this essential dynamic time. Miguel Vicente had concerns about the fact that reviewing abstract submission, though it is acknowledged that at this stage it would be not practical.
Miguel recommended that JRE participants in the conference would receive comprehensive feedback for the final reviewed papers, and supported the idea of the conference virtual room, and recommended that the section should seek further collaboration from journals or editing houses to give a wider spread to some of the better papers presented at these conferences, as well as giving more attention to junior faculty. Miguel concluded by stating that the JRE section has proved very high level of performance, and suggested that the structure and mechanism should be adopted in other sections and working.
Fourth, the format and presentation was a point of debate by some of the JRE members. For example, Mireya Marquez-Ramirez & Susan Jacobson emphasized the necessity of having all full papers prior to the conference to dedicate most of the time for discussion, and also urged for providing affiliations and contact information available for further follow up. Mireya was skeptical about presenting their papers in Spanish! In contrast, Remgin Ozan urged for further language diversity including German, Japanese, and Turkish with summaries in English.
In a different aspect, Santi Urrutia said there were sometimes problems related to the conference venue: conference rooms and data show etc, and some meeting locations were a bit awkward (have to cross the street to go there), but concluded that JRE was better than what was expected.
Torbjorn von Krogh suggested to organize panels discuss ideas about themes within the the round table discussions (JRE Cafe). Torbjorn requested a wider spectre of formats during the day would be great that could range from probings of theoretical papers with appointed discussants in the morning, to normal paper sessions (also with discussants) in the middle of the day and in the afternoon move over to round tables,where the participants that are chosen to represent a variety of opinions only have stated their position on one page in beforehand with livelier discussions, maybe with a provocative moderator. In addition, Torbjorn suggested that the afternoon session could also be an interview/discussion between two ‘opposing’ scholars.
In this third section, the JRE section chair provides a general overview of his vision for the next three years, which includes some of the suggestions presented in Mexico (09) in the language diversity plenary.
The next business meeting in Braga, Portugal should address the suggestions revealed by members of the JRE section, though many of these pro-active recommendations are already implemented. As such the business meeting will be a general meeting to the section members to share the lessons learned and best practices from the actively participated members.
It is advisable to explore opportunities for linking JRE to different regions, and may be organize regional panels, symposia, as well as the establishment of a mechanism that enables the JRE section community become more integrated, and productive in assessing and shaping the practice of the field, whether from a theoretical or practical perspective.
Using language diversity to promote mutual respect and focus on how differences can be a positive aspect to reach a common understanding of what the language, as well as its context is all about and what it represents as a whole.
It is only through the encouragement of JRE members to gain real understanding of different aspects of different schools of journalism that educators and practitioners could avoid the current dilemma of hurting people’s feelings and reassuring people that their beliefs, values, and issues have not gone unheard.
Besides, the real outcome of the theme of International Collaborative Research that was introduced in (08)in Stockholm will not only help connect researchers and members, but also bond the whole IAMCR community and allow a space for unprecedented knowledge and mutual respect.
As such, the process of monitoring journalism language choices, especially with group members who are not speaking English as their primary language could limit the use of offensive misinterpretation of meaning that might result from changing context in translation.
It is also advisable to consider an initiative of collaboration among JRE section members to develop a digital library with different resources in different languages.
Introducing the idea of "Friends of (JRE) IAMCR," where outstanding research papers and promising scholars are encouraged to attend (This is not travel grant), by providing them with financial help, and translate their work to allow accessibility, and encourage cross cultural communication
Selecting and acknowledging the work of JRE board (could be changed every two years), and voting on their selection during the next business meeting (2012) to handle the JRE themes, selection of papers for the conference, and reviewing the papers for the JRE on-line Publication, and any other idea or matter related to the JRE section.