Teaching journalism or teaching African journalism? Experiences from foreign involvement in a journalism programme in Ethiopia

Terje S. Skjerdal


Journalism programmes across the African continent have different attitudes to the issue of universal vs.
local values in journalism. This article discusses the issue in light of a post-graduate journalism
programme that opened at Addis Ababa University in 2004. In its 5-year implementation phase, the
programme engaged educators from Europe and North America in addition to local instructors. Thus, one
could expect a potential conflict between Western and Ethiopian approaches to journalism. However, on
the basis of experiences with the Addis Ababa programme, the present study questions the assumed
dichotomy between Western and Ethiopian (or African) journalism discourses. Tensions did indeed come
to the fore when the programme was planned and implemented, but they were defined by determinants
such as professional background and personal preferences of the instructors involved rather than by
geographical and cultural origin.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5789/5-1-56


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