Background of the Department
The Print Journalism Department of the FJC is situated at Abune Petros Campus and trains students in degree program in the field of journalism with the necessary cognitive and practical abilities and transferable skills to contribute to the building of a just political and social system in the country.
It is crystal clear that the play pivotal and multi- layered roles in any society like educating the public through different media channels and raising political consciousness of the masses.
Mass media were introduced in Ethiopia over hundred years ago, during the reign of Emperor Tewodros when a Lazarist missionary called Father Binacheri styled himself as printer of the Emperor in 1857. However, development was slow and gradual that actual modern print journalism began in Ethiopia with the introduction of formal education and development of communications during the time of Menelik II. The first newspaper was a bilingual weekly, Le Semeur d' Ethiopie, which appeared in 1884. The first Amharic newspaper Aimero followed in 1895. Though the material aspect of the print journalism developed from time to time showing a gradual transformation in quantity and quality, the human aspect of the profession was not given due consideration for the last many years. Few men were sent abroad to attend a short term training on the profession, and for many years there were no educated journalists with professional competency trained within the domestic environment of higher educational institutions. It was only in 1997, the Ethiopian Mass Media Training Institute (EMMTI) was established by the Council of Ministers Regulations No 19/1997 pioneering formal journalism training in Ethiopia. The Institute was merged with AAU in February 2005 under the Faculty of Journalism and Communications as the Undergraduate Division.
The Division has two departments (Print and Broadcast), and the Print Journalism department began its teaching with on-the-job training program. For the first time, eighty working journalist were enrolled in order to raise their cognitive and practical abilities as well as transferable skills with academic award of certificate level. Side by side the department started a long term training of diploma programme in order to produce better qualified print journalists.
As time went on, the country's need in having highly qualified journalists grew further due to the expanded nature of the political, economical and social changes taking place within the country. Furthermore, the emergence of private media since the early 1990s gave an additional impetus to the raising of appetite for highly skilled professional journalists in order to augment the all round development efforts of the government.
In light of this, an alumni survey, which was the first of its kind, was conducted in 2005 in order to identify the impact of journalism education, and to analyze the undergoing degree program so as to arrive at if there are any gap in the profession and new needs in journalism. For the purpose of the study, close-ended questionnaire were prepared and sent to 18 major media organizations all over the country. Out of the 639 total graduates (print and broadcast) from the year 1998-2005, 245 sample sized populations were selected to fill the questionnaires. Out of the total respondents, the print alumni amounted to 25.1% of the respondent population of who 1.3% and 23.2% were working for magazines and news agencies respectively.
The survey found out that the graduates, due to low level credential holdings (diploma), did not acquire major salary and job position increment. In line with this, it was found that the alumni had a great interest in continuing their education in order to develop proficiencies in knowledge and skills. Thus, 24% showed no interest to continue degree study while 9.3% showed no interest to further study. Lastly, a workshop for stakeholders was held where 15 representatives participated.
The preparation of a three-year tailored curriculum and the commencement of a degree program in Journalism in 2004 were the direct outcomes of these research findings. Since then, 325 students have graduated in print media with three years curriculum.
The currently working curriculum is evaluated with the maxim of upgrading it by adding new inputs and making the three years curriculum so as to accommodate the new needs of the country.