When a journalist decides to be become a PR: an analysis of the university role’ programs and internships to the careers choices of Brazilian journalism students

TitleWhen a journalist decides to be become a PR: an analysis of the university role’ programs and internships to the careers choices of Brazilian journalism students
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Pereira, F. H., N. Oliveira, P. A. Travassos, and R. S. Sandes
Affiliation (1st Author)University of Brasilia
Section or WGJournalism Research and Education Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodeJRE W2a
Slot Code (Keyword)JRE W2a
Time of Session11:00-12:30
Session TitleFragmented Publics and Redefining Journalism Theme IV: Methods for Quantifying Professional Journalism.
Submission ID6305

This paper analyses representations that Journalism’ undergraduate students from University X, a Brazilian public university, make of public relations and corporative communication as a possible choice for their professional career. It seeks to evaluate their perceptions about such activities and how university and internships experiences participate in the construction of a professional culture shared by those future journalists. Journalists consider public relations activities as an important labor market in different countries (Frith & Meeth, 2007; Mellado et. al. 2006; Ruellan, 2004; Sant’Anna, 2009). In Brazil, it assumes a particular sense whereas 42.87% of Brazilian journalists do not work on traditional newsrooms (Ministry of Work and Employment, 2010 apud Müller, 2011). It results from the fact that from 1969-2009 the status of professional journalist in Brazil was defined by a bachelor's degree on journalism. The journalists’ appropriation of public relations and corporate communication jobs is a subject covered by a significant literature in Brazil (Castanho, 2003; Sant’Anna, 2009; Pereira, 2012; Silveira e Góis, 2011). However, it lacks studies about how such process reflects on journalism education. Common sense often considers that journalism programs are not able to follow the changes in the labor market. University itself sometimes assumes such idea. However, since journalism programs form the great majority of Brazilian journalists, universities (and somehow internships) can be considered as an environment where students have their first contact with professional culture. At this moment, representations about journalism practices, values and careers are permanently negotiated through interactions between students, professors and journalists. In this case, what is the contribution of the university/internships to the construction of this particular work field' representation between students? What are their perceptions about working as a PR? Are journalism programs responsible to anticipate and reproduce such perception between students? Or does it result from the socialization that occurs after they quit university? Finally, what is the role of professors, students and internships colleagues to the professional career diffusion of this specific aspect between journalism students? In order to answer these questions, this paper adopts the concept of culture as a setoff representations and conventional expectations manifested by the acts and tools that allow distinct social actors to act and coordinate their activities (Becker, 1999). The methodology consists on the triangulation of the results of three different analyses, described below: a. A statistical analyses of a questionnaire applied to journalism students from University X (response answer = 39.1%). The questionnaire contained 36 questions and was applied on November 2011. This paper will analyze only those answers that deals with: I\ the evaluation of the activities developed in the journalism program; II\ the perceptions about the professional roles and statuses shared by these students; III\ their expectations regarding the professional career; b. A documental analyses of the students’ internship reports, from 2007 to 2011. In these reports, students cite the organizations name where they have worked and also described the activities list they developed during the internship experience. c. An in-depth interview with 4 journalism educators from University X, responsible to the courses that emphasize practice and professional outputs.

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