Media Education Consortium Organizational Meetings
Representatives of Chinese university members of the Media Education Consortium have met twice in organizational meetings, first at Renmin University in June 2008 and second at Tsinghua University in December 2008. The formal launch of the Media Education Consortium took place on the occasion of a conference organized with Wuhan University’s School of Journalism and Communication. This conference was held in Wuhan on December 8-10, 2009.
The Media Education Consortium draws on the history of USCET’s successful organization of its American Studies Network (ASN). The ASN has been operating since 2004 and brings together 42 Chinese universities’ programs in American Studies. Initial members of the MEC were, in most cases, the schools of journalism and communications at ASN member schools.
The first organizational meeting of the USCET MEC was held in June 2008 and brought together eight universities as well as a representative from CCTV. A record of this meeting is as follows:
First Organizational Meeting of the Media Education Consortium – Hosted by Renmin University – June 17, 2008
Below are highlights of the discussion at the first informal gathering of the Media Education Consortium (MEC). First, USCET would like to take this opportunity to thank Renmin University Journalism School, especially Dean Yang Baojun, for facilitating the first informal MEC meeting organized by the US-China Education Trust (USCET). Nine participants, eight representing university journalism schools/faculties and one from CCTV, attended this day-long meeting at Remin University. Schools represented included Fudan University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong University, Renmin University, Shantou University, Tsinghua Univeristy, Wuhan University, and Zhejiang University.
Participants agreed to the need and usefulness of the primary purposes of the MEC:
- An idea to connect top journalism schools in China and enable them to utilize common resources to enrich curricula and exchange ideas; and
- A vehicle for journalism educators to exchange ideas, support each other, and connect with practitioners from both the domestic and international media to promote journalistic excellence, expanding horizons and strengthening expertise as well as access to resources.
While everyone agreed that the Media Education Consortium is a good name in English, participants spent some time discussing the appropriate Chinese name. There was difficulty in translating the word “Consortium.” Finally, two names emerged: “Mei Jie Jiao Yu Lian He Hui”, 媒介教育联合会 and Meijie Jiaoyu Cu Jin Lian He Hui 媒介教育促进联合会. Given their similarity, the group concluded that it should use the first, shorter Chinese name.
Some highlights of the meeting’s discussions include:
The first meeting succeeded in fostering the exchange and sharing of ideas and information. Most notably, discussion revealed that Fudan University, Tsinghua University and Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) each have business and financial journalism programs. Begun in 2007, Fudan J-School’s Financial Media Institute (FMI) is a short-term certificate program co-sponsored by USCET. Also launched in 2007, the Tsinghua J-school has partnered with the US-based International Center for Journalists to offer a MA degree in Global Business Journalism to international students that enables students to “master the fine points of business, finance and economics in China.” HKBU offers a new one-year Business and Financial Journalism Concentration, charging a program fee of HK$100,000. Each university features international speakers from the media and business world in their programs. Tsinghua appears to have the most prominent partners, including Bloomberg, Reuters, BusinessWeek, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CNN and others, several of whom also have provided internships for the students. Beyond sharing information, Fudan raised its problems in recruiting students for the FMI and, also, the students’ unwillingness to pay tuition fees. Suggestions offered included: Conduct separate programs for students and practitioners, who can afford to pay, and charge the latter to cover the costs for students. If the program is offered in Shanghai, recruit country-wide. But offer Shanghai students the opportunity to study in other cities. Chinese students apparently are willing to pay substantial fees if a program is held at a locale that is of interest to them.
- Interest in possible collaboration also surfaced. HKBU and Fudan J-School also share another similar program. Like HKBU’s Pulitzer Prize Winners Workshop (PPWW), Fudan’s USCET Journalist in Residence (JIR) program also features Pulitzer Prize winners. Given that HKBU’s Department of Journalism dean comes from Fudan, there may be opportunities for partnership arrangements between the two institutions related to the financial media and Pulitzer Prize winners programs. Several university representatives also expressed interest in getting advance notice of the JIR/PPWW speakers, as they would like to invite the speakers to their campuses on a cost-share basis, paying a standard fee for the privilege. In addition, the head of HKBU’s Department of Journalism has been successful in fund raising and is willing to share his experience with Fudan and other MEC members.
- The public relations director representing the Hong Kong University Journalism and Media Studies Center (JMSC) as well as the Shantou University J-school delivered an impressive presentation. Shantou is well funded by the Li Ka-shing Foundation. Meanwhile, the JMSC has been offering training in business and finance journalism since 2002 and has sent dozens of students to jobs and internships at local and international finance media institutions. JMSC graduates are working at Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, the SCMP, among others. The contrast he presented in the ease of working in HK versus on the Mainland highlighted possible benefits of HK-Mainland collaboration on media programming, particularly taking into consideration his advice on targeting niche audiences – i.e. financial journalism.
- In discussing the MEC’s next steps, the group discussed the format and venue of the opening ceremony. In that regard, a representative from the Wuhan University J-School offered to host an international conference connected to the launch of the MEC but did not present much detail. Some participants suggested that the opening ceremony might be in addition to but distinct from a conference. The group agreed, however, that some time in late 2009 would be the best time for the MEC launch.
- As the meeting was wrapping up, discussion turned to possible MEC program activities that had not yet been raised. Dean Yang suggested that in addition to conferences, financial media programs, prominent speakers series, and workshops, that the MEC might offer scholarship/training opportunities abroad for young journalists, similar to USCET’s Media Fellows programs.
The meeting concluded with lunch on campus, and participants made suggestions regarding other university J-schools that should be invited to join the MEC. Those potential additional schools include China Communication University, Peking University, Xiamen University, Shenzhen University, Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University, Lanzhou University, Taiwan University, Taiwan Chengchi University, Macau University, and National University of Singapore (if MEC is to expand into Asian countries).
USCET agreed to follow up and:
- Establish contact with other universities. USCET needs points of contact as well as contact information in order that additional Journalism schools to be invited to join the MEC.
- Determine the date, format, and venue of a MEC opening ceremony and conference.
Second Organizational Meeting of the Media Education Consortium – Hosted by Tsinghua University – December 19, 2008
The next formal meeting of Media Education Consortium (MEC) was held on December 19, 2008, at Tsinghua University during the first conference on Global Journalism Education reform co-hosted by Tsinghua University and USCET.
Representatives from 23 universities’ schools of journalism and communication attended. Participating universities included Bohai University, Chongqing University, Fudan University, Guizhou University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hunan University, Jilin University, Lanzhou University, Nanjing Politics College, Qinghai University, Neimenggu University, Political Science and Law University, Qiqihaer University, Shanghai University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanxi Datong University, Shizihe University, Shantou and HK University, Sichuan University, Tsinghua University, Xinjiang University, and Zhejiang University.
At the meeting, USCET President Julia Chang Bloch introduced USCET’s current media programs, including the Financial Media Institute, Journalists in Residence, and Media Fellows programs. Discussions extended to reflect current and future programming at the schools represented, potential areas of cooperation, and the structure of the MEC.
The consensus of the institutions present at the Tsinghua meeting was that the MEC should be formally launched in Fall 2009.
虽然大家都认为媒体教育协会是英文的好名字，但参与者花了一些时间讨论合适的中文名字。翻译“Consortium”这个词是有困难的。最后，得出了两个名字:“ Mei Jie Jiao Yu Lian He Hui”-媒介教育联合会和 “Meijie Jiaoyu Cu Jin Lian He Hui”媒介教育促进联合会。考虑到它们的相似之处，研究小组得出结论，应该使用第一个更短的中文名字。
•第一次会议成功地促进了思想和信息的交流与分享。最值得注意的是，讨论显示复旦大学、清华大学和香港浸会大学都有商业和金融新闻课程。从2007年开始，复旦J-School的金融媒体学院(FMI)是由USCET共同赞助的短期证书课程。清华J-school于2007年创办，与美国国际新闻中心合作，为国际学生提供全球商业新闻硕士学位，使他们能够“掌握中国商业、金融和经济的精华”。香港浸会大学提供为期一年的商业和财经新闻专业课程，收费10万港元。每所大学的课程都有来自媒体和商界的国际演讲者。清华大学似乎拥有最著名的合作伙伴，包括彭博社(Bloomberg)、路透社(Reuters)、《商业周刊》(BusinessWeek)、《纽约时报》(New York Times)、英国《金融时报》(Financial Times)、美国有线电视新闻网(CNN)以及其他几家公司，其中几家还为学生提供实习机会。除了分享信息之外，复旦大学还提出了为FMI招生时遇到的问题，以及学生不愿支付学费的问题。所提供的建议包括：为负担得起学费的学生和实践者分别开设课程，并收取后者的费用以支付学生的费用。如果该项目在上海提供，请在全国范围内招聘，但为上海学生提供到其他城市学习的机会。如果一个项目在他们感兴趣的地方举行，中国学生显然愿意支付大量的费用。
在会议上，USCET主席Julia Chang Bloch介绍了USCET目前的媒体项目，包括金融媒体研究所、常驻记者和媒体研究员项目。之后开始讨论代表学校目前和将来的方案拟订、可能的合作领域和MEC的结构。