Universities and schools

As in many Latin American countries, journalists in Colombia are trained at Social Communication-Journalism Schools. There are more than 100 undergraduate programmes in this area in the country and only 3 of them offer exclusively the title of journalist. Others are called communication, organisational communication or audiovisual media. The programmes exist in public and private universities. The Association of Faculties of Social Communication-Journalism (AFACOM in Spanish) is the union that brings together the programmes of this nature in the country. About 70 programmes are assigned to AFACOM, which establishes guidelines and is responsible for structuring the professional examination carried out at the end of the career of the students.

Undergraduate programmes last for 4.5 or 5 years and include a period of apprenticeship in practice that usually lasts one semester. This semester of practice is carried out in their area of interest, either written journalism, radio, television, and Internet or in other areas of communication such as the organisational area in non-journalistic companies. There are 32 master's programmes. Most programmes take 18 to 24 months. Some of these master's programmes include a special association between some type of media and the University. Part of the training includes a period in some magazine (Semana) or in some newspaper (El Heraldo). Most of the academic programmes that train journalists combine a theoretical and practical training with a strong humanistic education.

The Ministry of Education (MEN) offers the possibility for undergraduate and postgraduate journalistic programmes to be accredited as ¨high quality¨. The process is voluntary and involves a rigorous preparation process and supervisory visits by MEN-appointed peers. For its part, the Latin American Council of Accreditation in Journalism (CLAEP), an international organisation affiliated with the Inter-American Press Association (SIP), accredits journalism programmes in Latin America. Currently, Colombia is one of the countries with the highest number of accredited programmes by CLAEP in Latin America.

There is a distance training program that enjoys certain popularity (UNAD). There are no formal academic training programmes registered in ethnic minority languages. However, it is worth mentioning the experience of the Regional Council of Cauca Indigenas (CRIC), which has opened the Master of International Communication for Indigenous People, in collaboration with indigenous groups from Nicaragua and Ecuador.

These are some of the universities that issue degrees in journalism and communication:

  • Universidad Javeriana
  • Universidad Externado
  • Universidad de Antioquia
  • Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana
  • Universidad de la Sabana
  • Universidad del Norte
  • Universidad Santiago de Cali
  • Universidad Autónoma de Occidente
  • Universidad del Rosario
  • Universidad de Los Andes