Monday, 24 January, 2022

Promotion Of Media Journals Essential

Harsha Man Maharjan

We are familiar with the different structural characteristics of journals in Sociology and Anthropology. However, we do not know much about journals related to media and communication studies. So, this article aims to initiate a discussion on media journals by looking into their contents and institutional locations.

Scholars often discuss the landscape of journals in social sciences published from Nepal. They communicate with their colleagues about their research through academic journals. This scholarly communication helps to promote debates among academic disciplines. Often such journals include original research articles, review essays and book reviews. However, there are some publications which contain materials that do not fit these three categories. They also include non-academic contents such as commentaries, and opinions without citations and references.

Major journals
Even if we include the journals that also do not have non-academic contents in Media and Communication Studies, we find that many media journals have not been published. A preliminary list shows that the following nine journals related to media have been published on from Nepal: Media Monitor (2005), Media Adhyayan (2006), Samhita (2008), Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2007), Media Journal (2014), KCC Media Journal (2015), Media Journal Version of Rajyako Rupantaran Magazine, Television Journal of Nepal (2016), and Nepal Television Journal (2020).

Three of them also contain non-academic materials. Samhita, published by Press Council Nepal in 2008, was conceived as a 'Press Journal'. But even after the preparation of one year, the team of editors concluded that Nepali journalists and scholars were not yet ready for a pure academic journal. So, at last it was brought as the combination of journals, newsletters and magazines. It contains few academic articles with proper citation and references. Media Journal version of Rajyako Rupantaran magazine published by Centre for Professional Journalism Studies (CPJS). Though it was called a journal, its contents such as features, interviews unrelated to media show that the editorial team deliberately did not want to make it purely academic. Similarly, Media Journal published by Media School also contains non-academic contents.

The remaining six journals contain academic materials. In November 2005, Media Monitor Nepal published Media Monitor containing materials in both Nepali and English. Similarly, Martin Chautari brought out Media Adhyayan in 2006. Colleges affiliated to universities also initiated journals. In 2007, the Department of Language and Mass Communication under the Kathmandu University brought out Bodhi as a forum for academic discourse. In 2015, the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kantipur City College published KCC Media Journal. Even Nepal Television has published two journals related to televisions: Television Journal of Nepal in 2016 and Nepal Television Journal in 2020.   When we analyse these journals in terms of their institutional locations, we find that among nine journals, three have been published by academic organisations (teaching and training organisations).

The Department of Language and Mass Communication under KU, which offers Bachelor in Media Studies, has already published seven issues of the journal. Similarly, the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that has offered MA level courses in Mass Communication and Journalism since 2001, has published two issues of KCC Media Journal. Media School which provides training on media and communication has published three issues of Media Journal. Three NGOs have published journals. Martin Chautari published Media Adhyayan regularly from 2006 to 2015, and then the name of this journal was converted into Samaj Adhyayan. CPJS published a couple of issues of Media Journal. Media Monitor Nepal has published two issues of Media Monitor. Similarly, Nepal Television has published two journals. Federation of Nepali Journalists, Nepal Television Chapters published an issue of Television Journal of Nepal and Nepal Television has brought out an issue of Nepal Television Journal.

 One way to promote journals is to start new journals. Though Kantipur City College, Purbanchal University, and Department of Language and Mass Communication, KU, have published journals, other important departments and colleges have yet to publish such publications yet. The Central Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Tribhuvan University needs to start publishing such a journal. This is important as it also offers MPhil and PhD courses.

Another way is to break silos. Often the editorial team only comes from one organisation. To have better collaboration, editorial teams should contain people from different organisations.  In this regard, the "UGC Guidelines for Peer-Reviewed Journals published in Nepal" approved on 31 December 2018 suggests these three points to assure the national and institutional diversity of the editorial team. First, only 50 per cent of the editorial teams could be from one organisation (campus, department, and school). Second, editors should be from at least three organisations or two universities. Third, in case of non-Nepali specific discipline, one-third of the editorial team members should be from countries other than Nepal.

The journals should have only academic contents. The team members can rethink the decision that was taken about 12 years ago. They have to decide whether to make it a magazine and focus only on op-ed articles or to have academic materials only and call it a journal. Media Journal published by Media School should try to include only academic materials.

(Maharjan is a senior researcher at an academic NGO Martin Chautari and writes on issues related to media and technology.