Journalism education at Universities and Journalism Schools in Portugal
By Manuel Pinto and
Helena Sousa, Universidade do Minho
in Frohlich, Romy and Christina Holtz-Bacha (eds.) Journalism Education in Europe and North America, an
International Comparision, Hampton Press (Forthcoming))
current media system in Portugal and the recent political history of the
country are deeply ingrained. One cannot fully understand the current state of
affairs in both the national media system and in journalism studies without
considering the political dictatorship (1926-1974), the 1974 Revolution and the
subsequent social and political instability.
the dictatorship, attempts to develop Journalism Studies were halted. The first
academic Media programme was set up in 1979; today there are around 30 higher
education programmes with a journalistic focus. This enlargement does not
however mean that the communication/journalism field is a well developed
scientific area. Indeed, due to its novelty, most programmes lack human and
Portugal, there is no close relationship between academic qualifications and
journalistic performance. Most professional journalists have no academic
training and only a few have specific journalistic training. Still, the
situation is changing and it is gradually more common for media organisations
to recruit people with a university background. Traditionally, journalism has
been a low pay, low prestigious career but the instauration and consolidation
of democracy has created the necessary conditions for a progressive renewal of
National Media: Looking Back into
the political dictatorship, frequently known as Salazarism, the press in
Portugal has been under institutionalised pre-censorship. Restrained in
content, with poor distribution facilities and readership, the press lost its Republican vitality. Indeed, there was a
steady decline in the regional press: 'from 210 papers in 1926, to 170 in 1933,
80 in 1944, and to a mere 17 by 1963' (Seaton and Pimlott, 1983:94). At that
time, national press was virtually non-existent. Most city newspapers were
family businesses whilst in towns and villages papers were mainly controlled by
the Catholic Church. The press was generally underfunded, with very low or
non-existent profits .
terms of the electronic media, the first relevant intervention by the Salazar
regime was the creation of the government station Emissora Nacional (EN) (now called Rádiodifusão Portuguesa - RDP). EN resulted from the incorporation
of almost all existing private stations and began transmitting regular
broadcasts from Lisbon on short and medium wave on the 1st of August 1935. Nevertheless,
due to the country's overall underdevelopment, 'it was not until 1955 that some
80 per cent of the population were technically capable of listening to radio
broadcasts, and not until the second half of the 1960's that the country came
anywhere near a full nation-wide coverage' (Optenhögel, 1986: 240).
the importance of the new medium, the Catholic Church - with a traditional
involvement in the regional press - also set up its own radio station, Rádio Renascença (RR) which started
broadcasting in 1937. Rádio Renascença and Emissora
Nacional were clearly the most significant
radio stations whose importance has grown not only
during Salazism and Marcelism but after the 1974 revolution as
well. The so-called radio oligopoly was only challenged in the 1980's with the
explosion of illegal radio stations and with the subsequent attribution of
frequencies to local and regional stations.
Salazar did not oppose to the development of radio broadcasting, the same did
not happen in relation to television. 'Salazar felt at ease with radio but
deeply mistrusted television' (Louro, interview:12.01.95). Although television was
set up - in the mid-1950's - by a more liberal faction of the Salazar regime,
the same repressive mechanisms applied to television as to any other medium.
the 1974 coup d'etat, the media endured major convulsions. Pre-censorship was
immediately abolished whilst a ferocious confrontation for the control of the
most important media had just started. Very different factions co-existed
within the so-called 'winners' of the revolution. No consensus would be easily
achieved as to what role the media should play in a post-dictatorial society
and a chaotic situation could hardly have been avoided.
because of the dangerous 'reactionary forces', leftist elements within the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA)
contended that the media would have to be controlled during the revolutionary
period. There was a clear contradiction in the MFA programme which contemplated
both the 'abolishment of censorship and previous examination' and the creation
of an 'ad hoc committee to control the press, radio, television, theatre and
cinema' in order to 'safeguard military secrets and to prevent disturbances
which could be provoked in public opinion by ideological aggressions from the
most reactionary sections of society' (quoted in Bruneau and MacLeod, 1986:
ad hoc committee transformed itself enormously, according to which faction was
more powerful within the MFA movement and within the Junta de Salvação Nacional. First, radical leftist media were censored but, with the removal
of the more conservative General Spínola, after the 28th of September crisis,
the leftist wing gained progressive strength and the ad hoc Committee
concentrated its activity among the rightist/conservative press. From the 6th
of September 1974 to the 28th of February 1975, 28 publications were suspended
whose majority was close to the Catholic Church (Mesquita:1988:89).
battle for media control right after the revolution and, particularly, after
the 28th of September, was far from being fought only within the ad hoc
Committee which had powers to suspend and punish newspapers which were out of
the leftist 'revolutionary' line. Elements close to the MFA movement were
appointed to leading posts both in radio and television. By early 1975, the
panorama in the electronic media was perceived as being chaotic. This highly
volatile situation got even worse with the installation of the communist
provisional governments of Vasco Gonçalves, after the 11th of March coup.
this revolutionary period, the press which was still in private hands was
'transferred' to public ownership. Important sectors of the economy such as
banking and insurance were nationalised. Because many leading newspapers were
owned by strong economic groups and banks, they became state property. 'From
the important dailies, only the República in Lisbon and O Primeiro de Janeiro, in Oporto remained in private hands'
(Mesquita et al., 1994:368). The nationalisation of the press was never
explained as a political option. 'It was presented as an indirect consequence
of the nationalisation of the banking sector' (Mesquita et al., 1994:368). But
behind this option was clearly the will to control what was left out of
government's direct influence. Significantly, the nationalisation process was
not reversed with the removal of the communist prime minister, Vasco Gonçalves,
in November 1975.
is remarkable about the media development in Portugal is that laws drawn up
during an exceptional period shaped the media until the 1980's. This aspect
suggests that the authoritarian nature of the provisional leftist governments
suited the newly created democrats. Despite the 1976 Constitution, with its
impressive display of civil liberties, no elected government was prepared to
grant freedom to the press. Generally, following the political measures
introduced during the revolutionary period, politicians from all affiliations
have not openly designed media policies but have merely taken the necessary
steps to ensure that the nationalised media would be favourable to those in
the nature of political, economic and technological developments in the
mid-1980's, changes in the national media were bound to happen. At a regional
level, the European Union was developing its policies for telecommunications
and television broadcasting. Conservative governments in the UK, Germany and
France (not to mention the US) persuasively argued for liberalisation of
markets and privatisation of state property; and last but certainly not least,
important technological advances - mainly the development of satellite and
optic fibre and the subsequent convergence of distribution technologies - had
enormous implications. The proliferation of European satellite TV channels, for
instance, started being used as an argument against the national Rádiotelevisão (RTP) monopoly. RTP's
critics argued that, once one could receive international private TV channels,
there was no reason why one should not have national private channels.
At a national level, important changes were
also taking place. Up to the mid-1980's, the political instability in the
country was so acute that any comprehensive set of political decisions was
hard, if not impossible, to implement. In 1987, one year after Portugal joined
the EEC, the first majority government was elected since the 1974 revolution. At
that time, the country's economy was booming that being the main reason for a
substantial rise in advertising revenue which had increased, in total, from
around £52 million in 1986 to around £400 million in 1994. In this economic circumstances,
relatively unconstrained newspapers such as O
Independente and Público were set up and their existence
seriously impaired the government's ability to suppress politically damaging
material. In addition, the climate of opinion was turning against the
concentration of the media in the state's hands. The Cavaco Silva's government
itself believed that if Portugal was to be seen as a truly European partner,
changes in the economy, and consequently in the media market, had to be
introduced. A pro-business approach was taken and the liberalisation of the
media market and privatisation of a substantial share of state media was
this context, the two Cavaco Silva's majority governments undertook the most comprehensive
changes in the media system since 1974-75. The first set of measures directly
related to the structure of the media concerned the re-organisation of the
radio broadcasting sector. By mid-1980's there were so may illegal radio
stations operating that the government could no longer ignore that reality. Nevertheless,
it was only in 1989 that 310 local frequencies were allocated. In the following
year, two regional frequencies were attributed: one went to Rádio Press, part of the Lusomundo group
and the other to Correia da Manhã Rádio
which belonged to the Carlos Barbosa group.
1991, the two most important state owned newspapers were privatised. The
government had been following a wide privatisation programme and there were no
grounds to justify the maintenance of Jornal
de Notícias and Diário de Notícias under state control. The government was in a
dilemma between its interest in controlling those newspapers and the
ideological and political belief in privatisation. In a controversial process,
both were bought by Lusomundo, one of
the most important multi-media groups in Portugal, perceived - at the time - as
having close links with the government.
opening up of TV channels to private ownership has been on the political agenda
throughout the 1980's but it was materialised in 1992/93. Three candidates
bided for the two TV national channels which would be set up to add to the
existing ones: RTP1 and RTP2. One channel was granted to Sociedade Independente de Comunicação (SIC), a
company led by the former prime minister, Pinto Balsemão, an historic member of
the Social Democrat Party (in power at the time); the other channel was
attributed to Televisão Independente (TVI), a company made up of entities and
individuals close to the Catholic Church.
Portugal has four national terrestrial TV channels: two private/commercial
channels and two public service channels. In addition to terrestrial
television, throughout the 1980's the most well-off were able to receive dozens
of foreign television channels mainly from Eutelsat and Astra satellites. Cable
TV is a more recent development. The first licenses were attributed by the
government in 1995. Several companies are now operating in the most affluent
urban areas of the country. It is estimated that around 200 thousand households
are connected to cable networks (Expresso,
13th June 1997).
the radio broadcasting sub-system and the press are far more diversified than
television broadcasting. With the exception of small local radios and local/regional
newspapers, the media in Portugal are in the hands of so-called multi-media
groups (v. Diário de Notícias, 13th
April 1996). The state itself owns, in addition to RTP and RDP, a number of
magazines and 50% of the unique national news agency, LUSA. The Catholic Church
is a major player in the media scene. Rádio
Renascença is the most popular national radio and the Church owns more than
600 publications. Besides the state and the Church, the most important
multi-media actors are: Impalagest, Lusomundo, Presslivre, Impresa and
The Long Wait for Journalism
there is a close relationship between the overall media system in Portugal and
the political/historical development in the country, this connection is
particularly obvious in the way journalism education has developed. Indeed, the
political dictatorship has had a strong negative influence in the cultural
arena in general and in education in particular.
cultural terms, the Salazar regime was dominated by an elite who believed that
people should be educated to be passive and non-participatory in political
life. The authoritarian and centralist regime did not favour the development of
Social Sciences and Humanities in the country. People was to be indoctrinated
by the cultural/political elites, led by Salazar. 'Due to the lack of
equilibrium in the human spirit, order is not spontaneous; someone must command
for the benefit of all' (Salazar, 1945:138). In these circumstances, there was
not no point in providing journalists with superior education or professional
training which could bring them public recognition and/or intellectual tools
that might put at stake the ideological apparatus of the regime.
enough, decades before the implementation of the dictatorship, in 1898, Lisbon
hosted the 5th International Press Conference and one of the resolutions was
precisely the recognition that journalism schools had to be set up. Still,
according to the available data, it was only in 1940 that a first
attempt in terms of journalistic training was made by the National Journalists'
Union (Sindicato Nacional dos Jornalistas).
The Union was set up in 1934 and its first president, António Ferro, later
became the Head of the Government's Propaganda Department.
Journalists Union' project was a two-year course that could be attended by
candidates to the profession with a minimum of nine years of schooling (four
years of elementary school and five years of secondary grade school) or to
journalists working in a company for at least one year. The studies plan
included theoretical matters in the journalistic area and practical
journalistic exercises. Although this project was fully developed and the
programme had actually been scheduled, it never materialised. 'The programme did
not get the indispensable official support', states the Journalists' Union
bulletin (November, 1968, nº 8).
the objectives and the content of this training programme were novelties which
were possibly seen as a danger for a regime concerned in maintaining the status
quo. Furthermore, the lecturers invited by the Union to teach the different
study areas were not all devoted supporters
of the regime. Some, such as Marcello Caetano, certainly were but
others, such as the priest Abel Varzim, clearly diverged from the regime's
views. This diversity certainly compromised the viability of the programme. In
1942, in a veiled criticism, the journalist Luis Quadros wrote: 'whilst the
Portuguese mental aristocracy has been dignifying the liberal professions (...)
conferring them academic degrees, the most delicate activity in a nation - the
orientation of the public opinion - has been devoted to an incomprehensible
ostracism' (quoted in Marcos, 1986:282).
from the regime's lack of interest in the development of journalism studies, a
considerable number of journalists did not recognise their training as a
priority. As a prestigious journalist put it: ' the newcomers were instructed
not to become professionals but to follow the rules of the book' (quoted in
Correia, 1995a). Still, the Union continued voicing the need to train its
members. In 1967, for example, the Union's bulletin Jornalismo published several articles about the importance of
journalistic training in the country.
1970, with Marcello Caetano already in power, the Journalists' Union presented
another consistent proposal. At that time, there was a belief that the regime
would open up and therefore this would probably be good timing for another
attempt. A new union leadership - relatively independent from the political
establishment - set up a commission whose task was to develop a project of
superior studies in journalism. This commission brought together prestigious
journalists in the country and professionals with journalism degrees from foreign
new project, approved by the Union's General Assembly in late 1970,
contemplated a five-year programme with theoretical and practical courses
lasting 24 hours per week. Overall, there were predicted 60 semestral courses
distributed in the following manner: in the first three years, the students
would have general Social Sciences studies (e.g. History, Languages and
Literature, Political Science, Economy, Public Opinion, etc.); during the last
two years, the focus would be on journalistic/communications topics. It is
interesting to note that this programme included highly sensitive courses such
as Contemporary History and Research Methods in Journalism and Social Sciences.
that time, there were high hopes about the future of this graduate programme. On
the one hand, the regime was preparing a wide educational reform, led by the
Education Minister, Veiga Simão; on the other hand, the Union's project,
submitted to the government, was the result of deep research and prolific
dialogue amongst a great number of
actors. It was believed that the conditions had been met to initiate journalism
studies in Portugal. But once again politics determined otherwise.
to the then President of the Journalists' Union, Silva Costa, the programme did
not receive the go ahead because too many people were interested in the
tutelage of journalism studies (Costa, 1983). At least three government
departments were said to be interested in 'supervising' this initiative: the
Education Ministry, the Corporations' Ministry and the Media Office.
This reveals not only political fights within the government but also its
inability to solve internal contradictions.
factor which might have influenced the halting of this project was the parallel
development of another journalism education project in the private sector. An
important economic group, Grupo Quina - with interest in the media and owning the
newspapers Diário Popular and Record,
and the magazine Rádio-Televisão
- decided to set up a Superior School for Media Studies, the Escola Superior de Meios de Comunicação
Social. This potential link between the interests of this economic group
and the failure of the Union's project has yet to be researched. In any case,
neither the Journalists' Union nor the government were the architects and
founders of the first journalism programme in the country. It was the Quina group that, in 1973, laid the
foundation of superior studies of journalism in the country. However, this
programme would not last long because the economic private groups close to the
authoritarian regime were dismantled right after the 1974 Revolution and the
journalism programme of the Escola
Superior de Meios de Comunicação Social was closed down as a result. A very
small number of current professional journalists have been trained in this
Considering what has been said so far, it
is quite clear that it was mainly amongst the Journalist's Union members that
the need for academic training has been felt and has consolidated throughout the
years. Even if the initiatives were unsuccessful, the union made an effort to
develop journalism studies. For political reasons, the government and the
academia did not take any initiative in this study-area.
higher education was far from a priority to the regime. From 1927 up until the
Veiga Simão reform, in 1973, higher education did not get any serious attention
(Carreira, 1996a). The regime was particularly concerned with making of primary
education an privileged space for political/religious indoctrination. As
minister Carneiro Pacheco would put it in 1937, it was less relevant to 'teach
the alphabet' than to 'model souls' (quoted in Carreira, 1996b:14).
university population was therefore very small. In 1960, for example, amongst
the 18 to 22 years old group, only 3,9% were attending university. When the
1974 Revolution took place the percentage was still around 10% (Carreira,
1996a). It is also relevant to our case
the fact that, in 1960, among the entire university population, only 6,4% were
studying Social Sciences. In 1970, this figured augmented to 11% and after the
Revolution it has been around 20% (Carreira, 1996a).
the revolution, important changes took place in the academic world. More
students were allowed to enter higher education and new programmes were
developed. Once the previous regime was so opposing towards the expansion of
Social Sciences, the new democratic regime, despite the initial instability,
has certainly created the necessary conditions for a fresher approach towards
various study-areas, namely journalism. The implementation and development of
journalism degrees was made possible by a new political and social climate.
Competing Perspectives in
In 1979, five years
after the Revolution, the first university Communication programme in the
country was set up. The initiative was taken by the Faculty of Human Sciences
of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Duarte
Adriano Rodrigues, who got his Ph.D. in the Catholic University of Lovain
(Belgium), developed the programme and became the Head of the Communication
Department. In the same drift, other Communication programmes were developed in
the Universidade da Beira Interior and
in the Universidade do Minho.
explains the philosophy behind the programme structure as such:
- students have to
have a philosophical background which helps them understanding the historical
trends and contradictions;
- a special attention
should be given to language sciences in order to prevent journalists from being
- a sociological and
political knowledge is needed so that journalists can understand their
strategic role in the social/political arena and the conflicting interests they
will have to deal with;
technical expertise should go well beyond the mere handling of tools; it should
provide means to understand its limits and possibilities (for more, see
Rodrigues and Miranda, 1989).
university project has a strong theoretical basis. The emphasis is clearly on
broad communications issues rather than specific communication areas such as
journalism, advertising or public relations. It might therefore be argued that
in the early beginnings of communication higher education, technical expertise
was not on the top of the university programmes' agenda.
In the communication field, the gap between
university education (generally with a theoretical basis) and polytechnic
education (mainly concerned with practice) became increasingly evident. In
fact, these two perspectives about the education of media professionals can be
identified since conditions were met for public debate. Obviously a yielding
discussion had not been possible before the 1974 coup d'etat and immediately
after the revolution there was still a highly volatile political climate. Therefore,
only a few years later these two viewpoints became clear and started producing
parallel with university projects, more technical ones were also being
developed. In 1983, the Centro de
Formação de Jornalistas (CFJ) was
set up in Oporto and two years later this centre produced a Polytechnic school,
the Escola Superior de Jornalismo
(ESJ). The ESJ results from combined efforts of a group of journalists and a
group of professors from Oporto University, Universidade
do Porto. With the outgrowth of ESJ, CFJ redefined its role, being now
mostly concerned with career development of professional journalists whilst ESJ
provides mostly academic degrees to young candidates to the profession.
1986, in the same line of thought and action, it was founded in Lisbon the Centro Protocolar de Formação de Jornalistas
(CENJOR). This centre which might be seen as a replica of CFJ results from
combined efforts from the government (namely the Employment and Career Development Agency and the Media Office)
from the Journalists' Union and from Press owners associations. Currently,
CENJOR is developing specific programmes for professional journalists and is
giving special attention to local and regional media professionals.
work developed by CFJ and CENJOR, with a greater technical emphasis, has
evolved in tandem with university Journalism education. If, in the early
1980's, the university Communication/Journalism programmes were indeed very few, things have changed dramatically
in the second half of the 1980's. Mário Mesquita, a former journalist and
prestigious journalism professor has ironically called this phenomenon the 'the
miracle of multiplication' (1995a). Currently there are 27 higher education
programmes with a focus on journalism issues, even if their denominations vary
from 'Communication' to 'Journalism'. Another 30 university programmes are
related to communications but do not have predominately a journalistic focus. Typically,
these degrees are called 'Public Relations', 'Entrepreneurial Communications',
'Advertising', 'Institutional Communications', among others.
expansion can only be understood within the overall expansion of superior
education in Portugal in recent years. The growth has been particularly
significant in the private sector as the public sector, although growing
considerably, could not absorb a great number of candidates to higher
education. Under pressure, the government has facilitated the creation of
private universities and schools mainly in areas with few laboratorial needs
such as Social Sciences. Being now relatively easy to set up a media programme
and considering the 'media-chic' phenomenon, there is a risk that a par with
the multiplication of programmes, there is also the 'multiplication of fraud'
(Mesquita, 1995a). In general, most communication programmes in the country
have very limited financial and human resources.
the great number and diversity of university programmes and the increasing
number of students looking for a journalistic job, it should be noted that
there is only one university degree specifically called 'Journalism'. This
programme started in 1993 in the Universidade
de Coimbra and is led by Mário Mesquita who, in addition to his long
journalistic career, lectured journalism in a Polytechnic School (Escola Superior de Journalismo) and in a
University (Universidade Nova de Lisboa).
This is the only programme in the country with a specific focus on journalism,
although Mesquita does not see 'Journalism Studies' in a narrow perspective of
professional/technical expertise, apart from critical analysis and research
increasing number of university programmes does necessarily mean that there has
been an increasing number of communication/journalism students. Currently, it
is estimated that 500 per year start their academic career in the public sector
and one thousand per year initiate their studies in private universities and
schools. Obviously, not all students finish their courses and not all try to
enter into the journalistic job market but competition for a place in newsrooms
is already fierce.
far, it has not been possible to overcome the dichotomy between practice and
theory. There are still strong controversies about the best way to prepare
journalists. On the one hand, there is an ongoing debate about newsroom
practice and technical programmes versus Media/Journalism higher education. A
considerable number of professional journalism still believe that one becomes a
journalist in the newsrooms and do not trust journalism schools. On the other
hand, there is - within higher education - a somehow adversarial relationship
between university and polytechnic programmes. In general, universities believe
that polytechnic schools have been proliferating for political rather than
academic reasons and that these schools have been set up in a light-hearted
time, the development and consolidation of the field will bring some consensus
around a number of issues which are still highly polemical. In countries with well
developed journalism studies, few argue that higher education is not desirable
for a professional journalist, and probably few argue that a synthesis between
a strong theoretical basis and technical expertise should not be attempted in
an academic journalism programme. Still, it is feasible that there will always
be space for more career-oriented programmes, with a strong connection to the
professional world, and for research-oriented programmes, particularly
concerned with critical analysis of the journalistic profession.
novelty of journalism as a study-area in Portugal has naturally consequences in
terms of post-graduate studies. Before the mid-1980's there were virtually no
post-graduate studies in communication in general or in journalism in particular.
The first Communication Master programme was set up, in 1984, in the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and it has
had a theoretical approach. Since 1996, this programme allows students to
specialise, among other areas, in Media and Journalism studies. Apart from Universidade Nova, few universities have
initiated Master programmes. The Instituto
Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa and the Universidade da Beira Interior are already running their Master
Communication programmes whilst Universidade
do Minho is, at this stage, developing its own.
From Studies to Action: Who are the
studies are, in fact, so recent that only a small percentage of professionals
have a communication/journalism academic degree. In any case, formal education
or the lack of it is bound to be one among other aspects which determine the
journalistic outcome in the country.
Portugal, various legal instruments regulate the profession and dictate its
ethics. The Constitution and the Press Law draw the wider legal framework
whilst the Journalist Statute, the Ethical Code of Journalists and the
Profession Press Card Regulation deal with more specific professional topics.
Constitution guarantees the freedom of press and identifies the role of the
state in the media, namely concerning public service broadcasting. Fundamental
rights related to the media independence and freedom of expression are,
according to the Constitution, to be safeguarded by the High Authority for the
Media (Alta Autoridade para a Comunicação
Social). The Press Law deals not only with rights and duties of journalists
but also covers judicial matters and organisational issues of journalistic
companies. The legislator has referred to the Journalist's Union the writing up
of its own Ethical Code and Statute.
Ethical Code, approved in May 1993, states the rules of what is perceived as
high quality journalism: objectivity, impartiality, identification of sources,
non-discrimination, respect for privacy,
among other attributes. The Journalist's Statute is more concerned with
the accession to the profession. Basically one becomes a journalist when one
has a contract with a journalistic company to perform journalistic tasks as
his/hers main occupation. During the first two working years, the journalist is
not considered to be a professional but a candidate to the profession. Apart
from that, individuals older than 18 with high school education and no criminal
record might become journalists. Professional journalists are identified as
such by a Press Card. The Press Card is attributed by a special commission (Comissão da Carteira Profissional de
Jornalista). This commission is an independent public entity led by a
these legal tolls tell us who might become a journalist, in what circumstances,
and what are their rights and duties. But they tell us very little about those
who perform journalistic tasks in Portugal. As we have seen before, the media
underwent dramatic changes after the mid-1980's and these changes have had
direct consequences in the profession. Political/social stability and economic
prosperity created the necessary conditions for a substantial increase in the
quantity of publications and broadcasting stations. In this context, the number
of professional journalists has expanded rapidly. According to Garcia, before
the Revolution there were 700 journalists in the entire country. From 1975 to
1980 another 821 joined the profession. By 1990, there were 2374 and currently
first attempt to characterise journalists as a group was developed by Oliveira
(1988). More recent research (Garcia and Castro, 1993; Garcia, 1994; Garcia and
Oliveira, 1994) has shown that most journalists work in the press (51,9%)
whilst 13,8% work in the radio sector and 11,4% on TV. Journalism is also a
profession exercised mainly in Lisbon. 50,7% of the professionals work in the
capital which is not surprising considering that Lisbon is the locus of
political power and considering the country's overall asymmetric development. Although
it is now more frequent for women to become journalists, journalism is still a
profession dominated by men. Three quarters of all professionals are male. In
terms of ages, it can be said that mostly young people are now journalists
(70,1% have less than 44 and 23,4% are younger then 30). These aspects suggests
that journalism is in deep change. It has young blood and a stronger than ever
media companies are progressively recruiting journalists with academic
background, no degree is actually required. Therefore, there is an enormous
variety of both levels of formal education and types of degrees. Garcia and
Oliveira (1994) study reveals that 8,8% of journalists have primary education
(these journalists joined the profession before high school was required), 18%
completed high school, 45,2% have either a technical degree or high education
frequency (did not complete their university programmes). Only 27,9% have a
first degree in any scientific area (most frequently in Social Sciences and
Humanities). The high percentage of journalists who have not finished their
academic programmes suggests that journalism has created working opportunities
for those who were not satisfied with their academic choices. Up to now no
research has been conducted to find out the percentage of journalists with
specific journalistic training.
journalism has not been a prestigious profession. Censorship and the
non-existence of specific academic qualifications, made it a low qualified and low paid profession. Although
the situation has been steadily improving since the 1974 Revolution and
particularly since the mid-1980's, journalism is still a poorly paid job. In
terms of pay, Garcia and Oliveira (1994) study suggests that journalists are
well below, for example, doctors and lawyers. The authors believe that
journalists' income might be compared with those of nurses and accountants. This
is probably one of the reasons why a quarter of professional journalists have
taken a second job as, for instance, translators or teachers. Within the class,
there are obviously well paid journalists, such as news editors or TV news
presenters, but these are clearly a minority.
political dictatorship has clearly shaped the relationship between political
power and journalists for a long period of time. Once the government had
complete control over media content, journalists ended up reproducing state
views or printing/broadcasting innocuous news. With the implementation of
democracy, the situation was bound to change but it took quite some time for
most media to achieve relative editorial independence from the political
establishment. In any case, and despite obvious progress, journalists still
lack autonomy as a professional group and their relationship with policy-makers
is frequently ambiguous.
historical/political reasons, there is no tradition of journalism studies in
Portugal. The authoritarian regime did not recognise any interest in developing
journalistic teaching and research. In these circumstances, the Journalists'
Union efforts to train its members were all fruitless and only a few years
after the revolution did the first academic programme in communication start. Basically,
before the mid-1980's there were no professional journalists in Portugal with
specific academic training.
recent years, the number of communication programmes has increased enormously. The
vast majority of them are not 'Journalism Studies' per se; journalism is rather taught as part of broader
communication programmes. The study-area is still poorly defined mainly due to
the novelty of communication/journalism as academic degrees. Most programmes
have deficiencies in terms of human resources and technical infrastructures. It
follows that research is obviously in its early stages and the number of
scientific journals dealing with communications issues is indeed very restrict.
It is therefore too early to think about communication and/or journalism as an
autonomous scientific area or research field.
newness of communications studies naturally has implications in the
relationship between the journalistic profession and academia. A considerable
number of professional journalists still view with suspicion higher education
in their field and are great believers in 'training-on-the-job' whilst academia
perceives professionals (in general) as inadequately prepared for the role
their are supposed to play.
second level of fissure exists within academia itself. On the one hand,
universities tend to be sceptical about the quality of training in polytechnic
schools. On the other hand, polytechnic schools generally believe university
teaching is too theoretical and does not prepare students for the 'real world'.
Implicit behind these splits, there are long-standing views about what is more
valuable: some say 'theory', others say 'practice'. In the future, the
development of the field should bring the debate to a more elaborate and
intricate level of analysis.
we have seen, journalism education in Portugal is recent and incipient. However,
because media organisations and journalistic companies are undergoing enormous
changes - which follow from economic and social transformations - attention
should be given to new ways of thinking both the profession and
work environment. The present ebullience of the discussions has an healthy
semblance but it could also have some pernicious overtones: i.e. overlooking
new technological developments or the increasingly multi-layered nature of the
work market. Rather than measuring the comparative advantages of practice and
theory, academics and journalists should concentrate on the evolving nature of
the media and their ever changing role in society.
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Illiteracy figures throughout
- 61.8% of the population over 7 years old.
1940 - 49.0%
1950 - 40.4%
1960 - 31.1% (Serrão e Marques (1992), Vol.XII:476).
10% of the population is still illiterate.
The Monarchy was abolished in 1910
and from then on up until the implementation of the dictatorship, the press was
quite diversified and free.
In addition to RR and EN, there were
a few local radio stations and Rádio Club
Português, a radio station owned by the Botelho Moniz family, a traditional
ally of Salazar and Marcello.
When Salazar became ill in 1968,
Marcello Caetano took power but the regime would not last for much longer.
Soares Louro was formally chairman
of both Rádiotelevisão Portuguesa and
Rádiodifusão Portuguesa, and is a
long-standing member of the Socialist Party.
These figures were estimated,
utilising data from Sabatina and the
opinion of several experts in the field.
The first majority government since
1974 ran the country between 1987 to 1991; the second majority government was
in power from 1991 to 1995 (these were respectively the XI and XII
The information about the topic is
scarce because historical research about the media and journalism is just
The foreign universities
'represented' in this commission were: the Superior School of Journalism of
Lille, the French Press Institute (University of Paris), the Journalism School
of Madrid University, the Journalism School of Navarra University (Spain) and
the International University Pro Deo (Rome). Important names, in the journalism
scene, were associated to this project: Silva Costa, António Reis, Cáceres
Monteiro, Oliveira Figueiredo, Jacinto Baptista, among others.
 Percentage of population in higher
education in the 18-22 year old population:
Official data quoted in Carreira, 1996a.
The first one was, as we have seen,
set up by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa,
in 1979 and the second one was set up in 1980 by the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.
These figures were advanced by Mário
Mesquita in a Public Debate about Journalism Education in Portugal, Auditório da Reitoria da Universidade do
Porto, 18 October 1997.
Updated figures are expected to come
out in 1998.