Professional development

An obvious disconnection exists in Iran between journalism education and the job of journalist. On the one hand, most of newspapers and other news platform don’t require a journalism degree for their employees, and many journalists start their career without an academic degree in this subject. On the other hand, many of the graduates in journalism choose not to enter this career. Even though there are no reliable figures on this matter, according to a report from the website Khabarnegaran-e Iran (Iran Journalists) of 2014, only 10 percent of journalism graduates worked in the Iranian press.

One reason is that, given the difficulty of the Concours, the general entrance exam for all Iranian universities, many students decide to take the test on different subjects, and then they choose the one they passed. Many of them, therefore, end up in a faculty that was not their first choice, and they have little desire for undertaking the respective profession. This is very often the case for journalism, considered by many as one of the most uncertain and dangerous jobs in a country with a very high level of censorship and repression. Those that choose this job must be ready to face all the connected risks, and the political characterisation of most of the publications, printed or online, contributes to make of a journalist an activist before a professional.

Several sources, however, stress also the unsatisfactory quality of the curricula of the schools of journalism in Iran, that don’t give the students the right professional tools to work in such a complicated scenario. According to Hossein Shahidi, “the quality of journalism taught at colleges is in need of improvement, having fallen due to the scarcity of resources, shortage of practical experience and over-emphasis on abstract, theoretical subjects.”