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YOU CAN BE YOURSELF HERE AND NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU

"YOU CAN BE YOURSELF HERE, AND NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU"

It was just a piece of things, which make this place different. It was about Ukrainian Catholic University, which is situated in Lviv, Ukraine. The main idea is to educate youth with right values in life, teach how to be human being and love people and surroundings. Mostly there are departments, somehow connected with religion. But also in best traditions of European Universities they have opened Journalism Masters’ School. Same as all the university, Master’s Program lives without any support of government. So mostly it’s co-working with Medias, journalists, representative’s of non-governmental sector, who are working in media field.

Honestly, when I’ve heard firstly about journalism program in Catholic University – I was really surprised and of course all those banal stereotypes in my head started to work and move on. And they did its job. Firstly, I was pretty sure they are preparing just religious journalists, who are working after on educating people to be tolerant within representatives of different religions etc.

But from my conversation with one of the teachers of Journalism and Media&Communication departments Otar Dovzhenko, I understood I had wrong idea.

As Otar Dovzhenko has said the main idea of realizing such project as Master’s Journalism Program was to build in Ukraine educative program for journalists, which is speaded in Europe and America. J-school is the place, normally, where youth go after getting basic education of any specialization they want. So they have 1-2 years in such school to become journalists with getting knowledge and skills of professional journalist. As he thinks, the liquidation of nowadays journalism education in Ukraine (post soviet one) is just a question of time.

There are a lot of ideas about Master’s in Journalism. Especially if future journalist has to be scientist, has to explore project in media science. What values more: science or practicing side of journalism? Very often graduate student comes to work in media and see there mostly representatives of other departments in University. Editors says, that to be good journalist you need to know how to write and basics in the science, no need to go deep into scientific researches. Same says Otar Dovzhenko, who is surely proud of the format, which was chosen for Master’s Journalism program in Ukrainian Catholic University:

“We’ve chosen the only available format in Ukraine to provide Master’s Journalism Program. We give task to our students as a Master’s project don’t write scientific research, but realize and present own practical master’s project. And hopefully soon the diploma of our Program will value more than the one from authorities Universities. Then we will be able to decline all the formalizations. Even now there is possibility to study with less payment and get our diploma, but without status of Master in Journalism. We have students of different specializations, which they’ve got in other Universities. But also there are bachelors in journalism, PR, promotion etc. It’s interesting to work with all of them. The ones with bachelor in Journalism often need to be “redirected” after they have spend time and got education in post soviet way. The others need more time to understand everything and get involved, but fortunately, after they go fast”.

If about innovative methods of education for journalists there I’ve heard from social networks and media, about being student of Journalism department in Catholic University I didn’t have any idea. What do we see? We see a lot of workshops every day, publications of students, famous visitors, projects with other media institutions… But what do we know about specific of studying Journalism in University where mostly all the departments are directed on religion. Do they prepare religious journalists? I think it was fair question.

Firstly I would like to show idea about that of my close friend and first year student of the Master’s Journalism Program Natalia Shevyakhova:

“Of course firstly I’ve had a lot of doubts about applying or not to Ukrainian Catholic’s University. But after I’ve talked to some people, who were already studying there, I’ve understood that University don’t care which religion are you in, they accept all the confessions and views of their students. You can hear that universities in Ukraine put patriotism on the first stage. In here they put “respect” as the most important value. Journalism in UCU is a work non-stop. It is studying which is based on practicing and lot of work-shops. We are never obligated to learn, read or write. It is everything on our own responsibility. “Just do it!”

On other side teachers have also their views on it. As University was founded by catholic’s community, of course there is always hope that their graduates will work on developing it. If they are journalists – promoting ideas and values. But, as Otar Dovzhenko says, the programs are secular. And their experience shows that anyway few people from each course are interested in topic of religious. Especially that in UCU is all needed instruments and contacts for being successful in it.

“Three people from first graduation are working on Greek-catholic’s online-channel “Zhyve-TV”. I don’t think that religion journalists are needed to be prepared in any specific rogram and principles. Knowledge about religion and church comes from self-education and surroundings. And ethic standards we give to our students are suitable for both religion and other kinds of journalists. We have students of different confessions including those who are not belonging to any of religions. We don’t obligate them to go to church, do a feast etc. But the important part which is obligation to all is respect religion and views of each others.”, - says Otar Dovzhenko.

One year ago in Ukraine was a revolution. Firstly, most of the authorities’ universities kept silence to avoid all kind of problems they could have. But in Lviv revolution has begun from the students of Master’s Journalism Program.

So here is small review about Master’s Journalism Program in UCU. But honestly, having possibility to talk with Otar Dovzhenko, I couldn’t just add few questions which are interesting for me and maybe will be informative to read for you.

Once I had interview for job and was asked if Journalism is an art or craft? That was my question.

Otar Dovzhenko:

“Journalism is a craft, and actually easy one. But the level of owning this craft and a chance to bring it to art level depends on intellectual level, erudition, education, spiritual development and personal motivation.

Standarts and rules of journalism craft person can get in few weeks. Harder is for young person to learn how to get right decisions in not typical, exceptional situations. The main exam for our students to pass is appearing after their graduation. It happens when they come to the office and meet Ukrainian media truth. It’s kind of meat-chopper, which slices and dices all the idealists, making them leave the profession or follow with censorship, political dictature, under pressure of owners and money seduction. Universal receipts how to avoid it don’t exist. That’s why one of the main parts of studying becomes workshops – communication with experiences media workers, who are sharing their unique experience.

I think that the main problem of Ukrainian journalism, that its main part of workers doesn’t like their profession. For me it is important to make our students graduate with love to journalism and desire to change journalism in Ukraine for better, which means change the country as well”.

About The Author

Iren Broh

Iren Broh

Iren Broh is a freelancer journalist from Slavutych, Ukraine. Currently main topic to discover and work in she chose human rights and its defence. She is working in the area of NGOs and non-formal education.