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University partners in the project release their research results

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The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations and the four Journalism Schools in French-speaking Belgium release today their reports presenting the results of a research carried on Self-regulation bodies and challenges of the digital age amongst journalists, and journalism students.

The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations carried a research project to gather the opinion of working journalists and relevant stakeholders on how media councils can adapt themselves to the challenges of the digital age.

The results are based on two surveys conducted between August and November 2020. The first survey focused on working journalists from nine countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. Overall, 454 journalists took part in the survey. The second survey gathered the opinion of 61 persons from members of the boards of media councils in the same nine countries mentioned above. As part of the research project, a data visualisation tool was developed along with a report.

In parallel, the ULB, along with UCLouvain, ULiege and IHECS, ran a qualitative research study on journalism students' perceptions of journalism ethics. This study was based upon focus groups with 33 students from the main journalism schools in French-Speaking Belgium who had recently done an internship in a newsroom.

The objective of the research was to analyse how journalism interns are confronted with ethics, how they apprehend these issues and how they deal with it, deviate from or adjust to those common standards. The study also analysed students' opinions regarding how adequate they think professional norms are in connection to current developments in journalism: digitalization, economic crisis and blurring professional identities.

The Research report can be found here

This Academic Research programme is aimed to support the work of media councils in adapting to the digital age. It was produced in the framework of the pilot project "Media Councils in the Digital Age", funded by the European Commission (DG CONNECT) and led by a European consortium bringing together several European press councils (Austria (OP), Germany (TDP), Ireland (PCI), Belgium (RVDJ and CDJ), Finland (JSN)), two universities (ULB in Belgium and Ramon LLull-Blanquerna in Spain) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The involved press councils are part of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe (AIPCE).