Journalism, which functions as a public watchdog in the functioning of liberal democracies as the fourth force or as a channel through which important information that will contribute to the formation of public opinion is conveyed to citizens, is involved in a transformation process involving digitalization and technological developments. Newspapers, which have basic duties such as providing news and information, supervising and criticizing, thus contributing to the formation of a healthy public opinion and explaining this formed public opinion, have continued their existence through various developments, changing and transforming since their birth in the 17th century.

Journalism education, which has been given for more than seventy years in Turkey, has been influenced by the digital transformation process in the field of media, revealing the need to reorganize the curricula according to the requirements of the age. However, there is no standard education model for the journalism profession in the world and in Turkey. Journalism education curricula, which differ according to the social, cultural and economic structures of countries, do not enable the development of common achievements and skills related to the profession. However, the constant change in the qualifications the industry expects from journalist candidates creates a gap between the education curricula that lag behind the industry dynamics and the industry’s needs. In the context of new communication technologies and digitalization, this research aims to examine the curriculum of the four-year journalism departments in universities in Turkey and to reveal the current trends in journalism education. It presents a broad framework on which journalism-related courses are available, and how digitalization and technology-oriented courses are distributed among universities.

The main findings of this research, in which the course plans of the nine journalism departments with the highest base points according to the results of the 2022 Higher Education Institutions Exam (YKS) were analyzed by content analysis method, are as follows:

  • The number of theoretical courses in journalism departments of both state and foundation universities is higher than the number of applied courses. This situation may create a lack of practice in preparation for the sector.
  • Elective courses included in the course plans of universities are more than compulsory courses. Students can choose courses of their interest from a wide pool of elective courses and choose the area they want to specialize in.
  • Journalism courses, courses related to other fields of the communication discipline, and courses related to general culture/other disciplines are predominant in the journalism department course plans of both state and foundation universities.
  • Courses with the highest distribution among journalism courses are; intro to journalism/basic journalism, history of the press, types of newspaper articles, news gathering and writing, and photography. This is indicative of a trend close to the Western European model of journalism education in Turkey. Despite the diversity of journalism courses, very few courses are included in the curriculum of five or more universities.
  • It is not possible to see the diversity in journalism courses in digital and technology-oriented courses. Courses related to these fields are mostly given as elective courses in the lesson plans of the departments. For this reason, it is difficult to say that the sector has the qualifications to meet the technological and digital transformation speed.