Bridging the Gap Between Media Education and the Industry By Farha Tomoum, Mayar El Zanaty and Jackline Said

From left to right: Amal El Masri, CEO, J. Walter Thompson, Cairo; Tarek Saed; journalist at Shorouk News; Kim Fox, panel moderator and professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at AUC; Lamia Radi, chief of the Arabic Language Service at The Associated Press; and Ramy Radwan, TV presenter and anchor at ONTV.

Photo by Mayar El Zanaty

Journalist Tarek Saed giving an introduction about the topics addressed by the panel.

Photo by Mayar El Zanaty

Khaled Dawoud (center), JRMC professor at AUC and deputy editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Weekly, attentively listening to the talk.

Photo by Mayar El Zanaty

The speakers listening to questions from the attendees.

Photo by Farha Tomoum

Attendees carefully listening to the lecture to prepare for the Q&A session.

Photo by Farha Tomoum

Integrated Marketing Communication student, Kareem Ragheb, addressing a question to one of the speakers.

Photo by Farha Tomoum

Dean of the Blanquerna School of Communications of Barcelona, Josep Maria Carbonell listens to the translation of the session, which was delivered in both English and Arabic.

Photo by Farha Tomoum

American University in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Nov. 22. — Media experts agreed in an event held on Sunday that hands-on training is one of the solutions for bridging the gap between media education and the industry.

During the Third Networking Event for Media Schools in the MENA Region held at The American University in Cairo, a panel of media professionals discussed the rising issue of detachment between media students and the actual career. Amal El Masri, CEO at J. Walter Thompson, Cairo; Ramy Radwan, TV presenter and anchor at ONTV; Tarek Saed, journalist at Shorouk News; and Lamia Radi, chief of Arabic Language Service at The Associated Press were the speakers on the panel.

The speakers acknowledged that there is an existing gap due to the lack of training students acquire during their academic years. Saed suggested that different institutions need to communicate to fill the gap between media education and the industry. “There must be some sort of cooperation between university facilities and institutions to have training for students,” he said.

Radwan suggested that students be required to spend at least one month interning at a media institution during their undergraduate studies. “When they work, they are shocked between what they studied and what they are supposed to do,” he said.

Saed pointed out that media schools need to update their technological facilities to match the equipment used in media institutions. He gave an example of a public university that had outdated technological equipment, making a point that students don’t get the needed equipment to further develop their skills.

The panel raised the issue of the inability of students in private universities to write and speak formal ‘Fusha’ Arabic. “There is a big problem when it comes to Arabic, I cannot believe that [university students] even don’t know how to pronounce some words,” Radwan said. Radwan also proposed that Arabic should become part of the core curriculum at AUC. Radi, however, thinks that students should be proficient in both Arabic and English so that they could pursue their careers as professional journalists.

The speakers suggested that institutions collaborate with one another in order to improve the media education experience for students.

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