Antagonism, Disregard or Integration: Three Faces of the Relationship Between Professionals and Journalism Academics in Egypt


Different aspects of the relationships between academics and practitioners have been tremendously discussed in various studies (Blinder, 1997; Fitzgerald, 2003; Baldridge, Floyd, and Markóczy, 2004; Nicolai, Schulz, & Göbel, 2011)

Researchers have pointed out that the lack of congruity in those relationships is impeding potential desirable progress of the profession. Reviewing the literature In the Egyptian journalistic context has shown low interest of the issue. Egyptian laws in both academic institutions and media organization don’t promote high degree of mutuality of consideration. According to the the Organization Law of Egyptian Universities and Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate law, professors in journalism officially are not allowed to work as journalists or being members of journalists’ syndicate. In the other hand, despite the favorability of having practitioners as part time faculty in universities (Beer,1995; Reese,1999; Henderson, Bradey, 2008; Chan, 2010), journalists don’t, or aren’t, frequently invited to contribute in teaching or training journalism students in Egypt.

This qualitative study adopts a new model proposed to investigate and interpret the different aspects of the relationship between academics and practitioners in the field of journalism, considering the Egyptian context.

Data collected through semi-structured interviews conducted during the period from December 8th, 2018 to January 10th, 2019 with participants affiliated in public and private universities and media organizations in Cairo. The sample consisted of 28 interviewees represent four subgroups: journalism educators with expertise as journalists, journalism educators without expertise in the industry, journalists who have coached, supervised or judged graduation projects of journalism students, and journalists who haven’t. The sample considered variety of expertise years for each side. The total time of recorded discussions was 19 hours. Each interview averaged between 35-45 minutes.

The findings support that the broader cultural and legal context affects the relationships between the two sides more than the internal and personal factors. Educators suggested precautions regarding the ethical considerations more than the technical part of the practice. Journalists are concerned about the applicability, relevance of the research, continued improvement of the curriculum and the originality of the pedagogy. both sides agreed about the negative assessment of the relationships between them as it varies between hostility and underestimation. Few of the educators (30%)  assumed that the cooperation between the two sides is improving.