Universities and schools

Since the foundation in 1946 of the first Escuela Nacional de Periodismo (National School of Journalism) in Caracas with a president’s order by Rómulo Betancourt, the Journalism Degree has become essential for the praxis of journalism (Arcila et al, 2016). There are currently 13 universities offering journalism bachelor degrees in Venezuela, five of them public and the other nine, private; from all these the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) and the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB) are the most relevant ones. These degrees are estimated to last five years, except in the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (Bolivarian University of Venezuela), created in 2003 by President Chávez to form professionals that can help achieving the goals of the “state communicator”, where it is a 4-year degree. A study conducted in 2016 in some of these universities shows that students tend to rate the quality of these degrees positively (Arcila et al, 2016).

There are master programs in journalism or different fields of communication with more specific goals. According to their economic possibilities, most universities and journalists’ associations, such as the CNP, IPYS or the IPSP, usually in collaboration with some media, offer different workshops, seminars or courses, often about digital and online journalism. These courses are aimed at students but sometimes also at professors, and the most demanded ones have a focus in community managing techniques or digital writing, as they are considered most useful for the professional future. They are mostly in person, as Internet and telecommunications are not reliable to carry out courses. That explanation is also valid for online degrees: There are some possibilities to study journalism online, but the face-to-face option is preferred by a vast majority.

Minorities, mainly constituted by indigenous groups, do not receive any particular attention in journalism studies, but it must be highlighted that, even if it does not offer any courses related with journalism, there is a university especially designed for indigenous people in Venezuela, the Universidad Indígena de Venezuela (Indigenous University of Venezuela). In any case, indigenous groups, although less present in universities, usually located in big cities, do not have extra barriers to access university or later to develop a career in the media. The provenance, gender or income level of students and professors do not play a relevant role either, as they are usually quite proportionally distributed. However, there exists a slight majority of female and middle class students (Arcila et al, 2016).