Digitisation in the communications sector: a challenge for Europe
Digitalisation in Romanian Media Companies: Born or Trained PC-centred Newsrooms. (Research Report)
Authors: Raluca RADU, Romina SURUGIU
- Digital technology, introduced massively during the last two years in all media (predicted its absolute hegemony in European countries in a period of two years, for instance, in TV), involves a very important impact in all that affects image, sound, emission and reception of data. It opens fields and new ways of the use of image as product of information. These technologies put ourselves in front of an scenario that is radically renewed every two years and substantially renewed every six months.
- Due to this technology, the jobs of the sector are very importantly affected in its contents and procedures. Specially and as an example, the sound technicians, image technicians, editors and photographers, or those called "digital journalists", who see how their work tools are changing radically since some years ago (depending on the companies and on the countries). They don't know towards where these tools progress and don't have resources and tools to give an answer to the emerging lacks and problems.
- The companies investment in this technology doesn't count with a strategic vision about towards where this technology is heading (from Human Resources departments), and lacks strategies and plans to adapt the competences of workers of the sector to the new needs. Thus, introduction of technology doesn't count with an analysis of the present and future changes suffered in jobs. Neither with the needs of new competences as a consequence of these changes. Neither with a planning of the training offer giving response to these new needs.
- By its side, neither Universities nor centres of vocational accredited training, are proceeding to adapt their syllabus offer to the consequences of these technologic innovations. This happens as in official syllabus, as with elective subjects, postgraduate training, complementary training, continuing education or others. Nowadays the existent offer of training or tools only consists on the manufacturer handbooks when these have sense, and on a few continuing or vocational training courses programmed by private centres.
- As a consequence we find difficulties in different areas:
- University and vocational training students that join the work market are not prepared for the companies demands: study programmes and qualifications don't adapt quickly enough.
- Workers who are on active service have big lacks to carry out their jobs efficiently, and frequently they don't know the real implications of these new technologies (loss of capacity to be employed).
- Companies have difficulties to adapt their organisation structures and their capacities to the technological evolution (loss of competitivity).
- The European Commission and Groups of Experts of the educational and the vocational training area as well as that of the work market, have explicitly reiterated the need to anticipate and observe the tendencies and changes produced in the needs of competencies, to be able to adapt the training offer (accredited and not accredited) and the systems of guidance to tackle these changes. Technologies of digitalisation represent a revulsive which is transversally affecting the Media and some jobs in a more intensive and specific way. It consists in a technology which is going to be adopted by all countries and environments. Thus, the need of understanding the changes that it involves and to offer tools to give response from the different areas (accredited training, lifelong training, guidance, etc.) is vital.
- All the mentioned so far is specially obvious in the southern European countries that share work organisation patterns in this sector, due, amongst other things, to the fact that their professionals work in supplier companies which belong to multinational groups, frequently from the mentioned geographical area. When Media or multinational groups buy digital platforms they do this with the intention that these will be bought/used in various countries. This produces a very similar problematic situation in the southern countries, different from the northern countries more advanced in these aspects.
- Professional entities and training suppliers are starting to tackle this problem from different perspectives, reason that makes us see as specially interesting not only the procedure analysis but also the formalization of quality methods, reached by consensus, and validated by a wide representation of the active agents of the sector, generating synergies and offering operative results that favour European convergence processes (anticipation, Bologna process…) and also to compare possible answers, perspectives and work methods that different partners are in conditions to contribute to the association. Now that the problem is spotted, it is necessary to create mechanisms and tools to give it a coherent and of a good quality answer.
Resources: Studies form the participant organisations, analysis of technological tendencies. Other resources: Project of resolution about the strengthening of politic systems and practices concerning permanent guidance in Europe. Reports from the groups of experts linked to the European strategy of permanent learning
The project "Digitisation in the communications sector: a challenge for Europe" is based on two phases of research:
- Media field research: analysis of digitisation processes undertaken by various media channels (at state, regional, provincial and local level, and in both public and private sectors). The aim here is to provide a snapshot of the current situation in this field in those countries involved in the project; there will be then a transnational comparison from which both common and differential trends can be extrapolated, with the aim of identifying what training deficiencies (in terms of digitisation) workers are subject to, in addition to the new jobs which have emerged.
- Field research about training: analysis of training programmes, both formal and informal (including those organised by the private sector and institutions) for media professionals, with the aim of comparing these programmes with media employees' real needs, and the creation of training pathways for each participating country.
Research, and formalisation of methods and tools, concerning changes in jobs and skills in the sector:
- To identify those development factors which are, in a substantial and homogeneous way across the participating countries, modifying activities involved in communications and information. This involves conducting research into those evolutionary factors which are bringing about profound changes in professions and jobs in the communications sector. In particular, those connected with digitisation.
- To identify those activities most affected by these factors, and the professions and jobs engaged in these, and to identify the changes occurring in current skills, together with the new demands.
- To describe new jobs in terms of associated skills, where applicable.
To offer tools which will help guide and train both currently active and future professionals in the sector:
- Formalisation of a quality standard for analysing processes of technological evolution (digitisation) in the sector, and their impact on the skills required, allowing these to operate as professional observatories, and contribute to the adaptability and competitivity of the sector in a sustainable manner.
- Comparative study of the skills which these changes demand of workers, and the related formal training available (University, Vocational Training). This comparative evaluation will be conducted specifically for each country.
- Identification of common deficiencies, and the translation of these shortfalls into training pathways, structured into modules which can be assimilated in the various participating European countries. This will allow each country and each agent within the education and vocational training system, based on a transnational definition, to group together and apply modules in a flexible manner in accordance with the needs of its target audiences. To offer these tools (training pathways, descriptors) to:
- Professionals, professional associations, journalists' unions, professional bodies and other organisations into which companies and/or workers within the sector are grouped, in order to offer reliable information and provide guidance to their associates and the users of their services, designing appropriate training actions and adapting their internal structures.
- Universities, formal Vocational Training Centres, institutes offering qualifications and other educational and training authorities, in order for these to be used within their guidance services, in order to contribute to the adaptation of the training courses they offer, in particular within postgraduate studies and in optional courses.
- Collegi de Periodistes de Catalunya (www.periodistes.org)
- Centro Protocolar De Formaçao Profissional Para Jornalistas (www.cenjor.pt)
- Fons Formació Zona Mediterrania (www.ffzm.com)
- Rogaland Kurs-Og Kompetansesenter - Rogaland Training and Education Centre (www.rkk.no)
- Sindicato dos Jornalistas (www.jornalistas.online.pt)
- Sindicat de Periodistes de Catalunya (www.sindicat.org)
- TEHNE - Centre for Innovation and Development in Education (www.tehne.ro)
- Union of Cyprus Journalists