Professional development

According to the Labor Observatory, the number of professional communicators covering all areas of expertise in the country is of around 194,784 -ranking 15th among the 67 professional degrees in the country, but it is only the 28th best-paid career in the national labour market. Gender distribution of working professional is nearly even, with 51 percent of professional communicators being male and 49 percent female in the first third of 2018.

There is a high concentration of professional communicators in central Mexico, as half of the professional graduates work in this area. Up to 78.6 percent of the workforce in communication works for the private sector and 21.4 percent in public organisations, while 78.2 percent are subordinated employees and only 5.6 percent employers. However, only one in four actually perform tasks closely associated to their Communications degree.

With respect to postgraduate options, in 2017-2018 there were 35 programs including Master programs, Doctoral programs and Specialties according to ANUIES. Of those, 25 are Master programs in some area of Communication, two in Journalism, one in Scriptwriting, four PhDs in Communication and three Specialties. One in three out of the 664 postgraduate students in Communication is studying in Mexico’s capital. The Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City offers the longest-standing postgraduate program in Mexico, a Masters in Communications, launched in 1976.

However, ANUEIS’ list does not include two key institutions that offer practice-oriented Master degrees in Journalism: Escuela Carlos Septién (Masters in Political and Financial Journalism, respectively) and Master in Journalism and Public Policies, from the Economics School CIDE. In fact, Master programmes in Journalism as such are much scarcer than Postgraduate degrees in Communication, showing the lack of professional and educational development after graduate education.

There are other programs that contribute to professional development and training for journalists. One of such programs is Press and Democracy (PRENDE), launched in 2004 and hosted by Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City to contribute to the professionalisation of journalists. As the only of its kind in the country, PRENDE offers each semester journalism fellowships to short and mid-career journalists from all over the country to study the courses they wish during their semester time, plus additional free workshops, talks and seminars. PRENDE has a registry of more than 250 fellows in its first 15 years of existence, and was at first funded by international donors. Frequently, universities also run a vast range of diploma courses targeted to journalists, examples of 2018 include Justice and Law Diploma at UNAM, Electoral Reporting Diploma at Universidad Iberoamericana, or Investigative Reporting Diploma at CIDE, and at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana through its Granados Chapa Chair, and so on. The University of Guadalajara hosts the Centre of Training in Digital Journalism, an online platform that offers courses and diplomas.

Another opportunity for professional development is the Knight Centre for Journalism in the Americas, within the University of Austin, Texas, that offers useful online courses, seminars, talks and publications that are open for journalists in Mexico, particularly those near the border. Other international organisations also offer development and training opportunities for journalists in Mexico, such as the International Centre for Journalists.

However, life-long learning, training and professional development are more frequently provided through online seminars, short courses, workshops and once-in a time modules all over the country, either organized and funded by State agencies, by international organizations and donors, by journalistic collectives such as Periodistas de a Pie, or by private organizations such as Google Lab or Taller Arteluz, who offer a vast range of courses and workshops for journalists and communicators. In the non-for-profit sector, NGOs such as Social TIC offer data, digital and security training to journalists and social activists. Moreover, experienced freelancers and veteran journalists also often offer short courses and workshops to train their peers in their field of specialty, from environmental journalism, to the sensitive coverage of violence victims, to human rights to narrative journalism.