Journalism and Communication Studies

Journalism and Communication Studies

Journalism and Communication Studies

The Study Programme of Journalism and Communication Studies was founded in 1997 as the Department of Journalism at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Banja Luka. Following the end of the 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and having signed the Dayton Peace Agreement, the Republic of Srpska saw the emergence of a number of electronic and printed media and correspondence offices of TV and radio stations and newspapers from the former Yugoslavia region, which urged the need for educated journalists, editors, commentators, reporters etc. At the same time, the increased and dynamic development of public administration and institutions, companies, and a non-governmental sector opened a space for public relations experts, public opinion researchers, and similar professions. Bearing this in mind, the Government of the Republic of Srpska, along with the Rectorate of the University of Banja Luka, made a decision to establish the Department of Journalism as the first and only regarding the public universities in the Republic of Srpska. The first generation reached the number of 90 students, who enrolled  in a 4-year study course. 

Not surprisingly, the greatest challenge was the lack of qualified teaching staff, so a cooperation with the Faculty of Political Sciences  was established, as a renowned institution in the field. Names like Prof. Neda Todorovic, PhD, Prof. Branimir Stojkovic, PhD, and Veselin Kljajic, MA, along with  Prof. Nenad Kecmanovic, PhD, and Prof. Milosav Carkic, PhD, of the University of Belgrade, guaranteed quality. Furthermore, early generations enjoyed the classes of Prof. Rajko Kuzmanovic, PhD, Prof. Snezana Savic, PhD, Prof. Vujo Vukmirica, PhD, Prof. Djoko Slijepcevic, PhD, Prof. Krstan Bosnjak, PhD, Prof. Milimir Mucibabic, PhD, and others as well.

Due to the lack of room, the educational process was realised on various locations, with other departments at the University wholeheartedly helping the youngest one. Regardless of obstacles, the department was evolving, much to the credit of the aforementioned members of staff. For the purposes of practical work and active cooperation with the media, the teaching assistants engaged by the Department came from the ranks of experienced journalists and editors, who demonstrated to the students the way an editorial board functioned, manners of reporting, media analysis techniques, writing an article, running an interview, and other tricks of the trade. The study programme organised numerous panel-sessions, workshops, public debates, and conferences dedicated to the improvement of professional and ethical codes, freedom of media, responsibility of a journalist, shaping public opinion etc. As a result of such work, many of the then students are now employed as editors, journalists, column writers, anchors, and corrspondents of practically every media in the Republic of Srpska and the region of former Yugoslavia

The current members of staff at the Study Programme of Journalism and Communication Studies are as follows: Prof. Tatjana Duronjic, PhD, Full Professor; Prof. Aleksandar Bogdanic, PhD, Full Professor; Vesna Djuric, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dragana Trninic, PhD, Assistant Professor, Andjela Kupresanin Vukelic, PhD, Assistant Professor, and Borislav Vukojevic, MA, Teaching Assistant.

The study programme belongs to social sciences, the scientific field of journalism and communication studies. The narrow scientific fields comprised by the study programme are Journalism, Communication Studies, Information Science-social aspect, and Mass Media.

Since its establishment, its curriculum has been significantly modified and modernised, with these changes being the result of accelerated media processes given the global media scene, the modern-day profile of a journalist requires an application of new  techniques and methods and changes in terms of the contents of teaching subjects.

The first of these changes took place in 2007, with the change affecting the name and model of studies, switching to the 3+2 model in accordance with the Bologna Declaration. Three classes followed the aforementioned model, which was changed to the 4+1 model in 2009, given the construction of the new building and putting the issue of the lack of room behind. It was re-licensed in the same year and labeled Basic Academic Studies of Journalism and Communication Studies, which was followed by the 2010 licensing of the curriculum. Finally, the Second Cycle of the Study Programme of Journalism and Communication Studies, under the title of Graduate Academic Studies of Journalism and Communication Studies, was licensed, offering two course routes: Communication Studies and Journalism.

Due to the dynamic nature of this profession, there was another amendment to the curriculum in 2017. On the one hand, it was modified in order to prepare students for the challenges in the world of media imposed by the global information-communication system. These amendments are adjusted to the changes in the manner of communication, reporting, and creating media contents, as well as to the need for protection against the excess of information, against disinformation, and against fabricated facts. 

In the same year, the structure of the study programme was significantly broadened, with the insertion of the research area of ‘Media Studies’ within the mutual third cycle. The current 4+1+3 structure refers to the duration of the first, the second, and the third cycle respectively.

The academic title acquired after finishing the first cycle is BA in Journalism – 240 ECTS. As for the learning outcomes at the first cycle, they imply gaining general and special knowledge from the fields of Journalism and Communication Studies, Law, Politics, Culture, History, and alike, to equip students with the competences necessary for future journalists and communication studies professionals or other positions within the domain of journalism. Taking into consideration the specificities of various types of media, they are offered practical work aimed at acquiring the skills responding to the media in question. For the purposes of extra-curriculum activities, cooperation with referent organisations and associations is permanently developed. The concept of the curriculum is directed at developing students’ skills to connect the knowledge acquired and to apply it in an adequate way in their profession, at acquiring intellectual abilities and maturity for independent analysis of the work in media and journalism in general, as well as at developing individual programmes for the improvement of work in media and journalism.

Depending on the course route, by finishing their master studies, students acquire the academic title of MA in Journalism or MA in Communication Studies – 300 ECTS in total. The learning outcomes for the course route of Journalism imply mastering professional competences, especially for positions requiring a high level of knowledge, expertise, and responsibility, such as running an instance of media and managing and editing activities in the  media. The studies are conceived with the idea of equipping students with skills necessary for starting up a private innovative business that improves the work in the media and brings progress to the profession and beyond, and for engaging in individual research projects. When the course route of Communication Studies is concerned, it implies learning outcomes addressing skills necessary for individual work in every segment of the profession – a journalist, a media analyst, an advertising agent, a public relations expert, a business communication consultant, consultant for social communication of an advertising agent and public relations expert, as well as for designing, strategic planning, and moderating social and business communication. Through licensing the second cycle of studies, the Faculty laid a foundation for further academic development of talented students.

Finally, upon successfully defending their dissertation, candidates indulge in the research area of Media Studies complete their doctoral studies and acquire the academic title of either PhD in Communication Studies or PhD in Journalism – 480 ECTS in total, given the course route they have chosen. The third cycle of studies is inter-disciplinary in its nature and it is directed towards acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for research and educational work.