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CADJ – Centre of Excellence in Applied Digital Journalism

Volda University College


The main goal of CADJ is to engage students in creative practice as well as critical reflection upon the role of digital journalism in democracy. To meet this goal, CADJ will focus on providing a learning environment where students, media partners and technology developers collaborate around new forms of digital journalism. CADJ wants to support students in addressing the need of an increasingly international and entrepreneurial focus in a journalism career and enhance student-reflectivity on the impact of technological innovation in the role of journalism in democratic societies across the globe.

Strengths and weaknesses:

The proposed centre has a solid foundation in existing quality and there is evidence of managerial commitment to proactive development in the digital journalism arena. Existing external stakeholder and partner relationships are strong, and there is documentation of student satisfaction, learning outcomes and involvement. Institutional support seems strong.

CADJ’s centre plan outlines key developments in terms of journalism curriculum when it comes to digital development and entrepreneurial journalism. However, it would seem that the trend of digital journalism has been in motion for some time already and that practicums are a common feature of many journalism programmes. Benchmarking internationally would have assisted in consideration of the level of innovation of this proposal. This makes the panel question the innovative feature of this bid in a global context.

The panel felt that in order to keep the curriculum up-to-date, much of what was proposed needed to happen regardless of SFU status. On-going curriculum renewal is a constant to ensure graduates’ success in subsequent relevant employment. Consequently, the additionality of being an SFU was difficult to determine.

The plan is not strong on international orientation nor with regard to how R&D permeate student learning. Furthermore, it is not clear how the centre plan will be realised and the plans for dissemination to other institutions are staid, though students being actively involved in dissemination is a positive feature. Although an evaluation group is planned, the panel was not convinced that the membership of this group had been well though through.

Points to consider:

  • What does the centre want to accomplish that will not happen without an SFU grant (additionality)?
  • What are the key steps to achieve the centre goals?
  • How does research inform teaching?
  • How does the centre develop innovative R&D-based education?
  • How might dissemination for action to other institutions in Norway take place?

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