First: Academic Field
The report reviews the most important developments witnessed in the academic field in 2017, with the continued implementation of a quality policy at the Jordan Media Institute heading the list. This reflected on JMI's reputation and status by raising the bar of student admission and improving competition standards and examination levels in spite of a rise in tuition fees. This was evident in the improvement of the quality of students over the past two years, as well as the educational process, which can be measured through several indicators. These include a decline in students’ reliance on copying homework and material from the Internet (plagiarism), due to close monitoring, applying a system of ethics and issuing directives on Intellectual Property Rights. Similarly, efforts were made to enhance the quality of graduation projects and make sure they follow the manual issued for this purpose. Research papers written by thesis track students were well received by media and academic circles, in terms of the nature of the topics selected and the quality of the work.
The eighth intake, comprising 34 students enrolled in both the comprehensive examination and thesis tracks, graduated in 2017. JMI admitted 29 students in the ninth intake: 20 in the comprehensive examination track and nine in the thesis track.
In terms of academic performance, students maintained very good achievement levels, while attendance met the required percentage. In addition, the applied aspect was sustained in most subjects and clear directives were issued to regulate and enhance the practical module. Moreover, the student website (Journalists) was reinstated and back online.
In 2017, 13 MA theses were debated after completing all academic and administrative procedures. Also, students worked on 21 graduation projects, all of which met the necessary standards. A total of 44 student activities were carried out in 2017, including lectures, workshops and training courses, while 14 students took part in exchange programs in Lebanon, Germany and Austria.
By the end of the first semester of the 2017/2018 academic year, the total number of JMI graduates stood at 189, 50.32% of them females. Jordanians constituted the majority at 78.6%, while other Arab nationalities accounted for 21.93%.
The JMI alumni database, developed in 2016 and updated regularly, shows that 90.4% of these graduates have jobs, 4.8% are pursuing PhD studies and 4.8% are unemployed.
Second: Projects and Research
In 2017, the number of projects and research projects conducted by JMI in media and communications expanded, with most of the training courses held as part of projects. The JMI handled 10 projects in 2017, some of which were initiated in previous years. Four projects were implemented and concluded in 2017: Media and Information Literacy; capacity building for local radios; documenting media coverage of the Great Arab Revolt in the Arab and U.S. press; and building the capacities of local communities in participation and accountability. All these projects were carried out to completion and the evaluation of partners was good.
Meanwhile, projects still ongoing in 2018 include cooperation with UNICEF to enhance the quality of reporting on child rights and protection issues in Jordan; development of the National Population Media Strategy in cooperation with USAID; and the MedMedia project in collaboration with BBC Media Action.
MedMedia, which is funded by the EU and part of the Maidan project for supporting media reform in the MENA region, had faced problems in previous years, but the JMI managed to overcome most of these issues in 2017.
The Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED), financed by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD), received full funding for 2017 and JMI renewed its agreement with KAFD for 2018.
Some of the previous projects entailed key research work, such as preparing public policy papers, training manuals, curricula and strategies. The institute also conducted a study on public confidence in the UAE media for the National Media Council in the UAE and a broad study for assessing journalism and media education systems in the MENA region, the results of which have not been announced yet.
JMI witnessed significant development in the area of training, capacity building, projects and research, the biggest in its history despite the fact that most of the training courses were part of projects. The institute organized 50 programs for 1,566 trainees in 2017, compared with 20 programs for 379 participants in 2016. JMI’s external operations in this sphere also expanded, with training programs conducted in Tunisia, Mauritania, Bahrain, Lebanon and Kurdistan. Meanwhile, trainees from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria attended training courses at the JMI premises.
The institute implemented two major training and capacity building projects in 2017, which contributed to its progress. One was a training diploma in TV production for Bahrain’s Ministry of Information Affairs, under which 60 young Bahraini men and women were trained by 18 trainers from Jordan. The program covered various technical and editorial TV production areas: news editing and writing; producing features and documentaries; filming; using special programs for sound effects; lighting and color correction.
Fourth: Institutional Framework
In 2016, the JMI obtained funding from the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to renovate the first floor of its premises. The renovation project, which began in November 2016 and was completed in February 2017, doubled the capacity of the institute. The additions included a new newsroom equipped with computers and furniture and five new training halls that can accommodate around 100 students or trainees at the same time. Moreover, two rooms with sliding glass walls can be transformed into one large room that accommodates 180 people and can be used for public functions and lectures. In addition, a donation from the US Embassy in Amman funded the creation of nine furnished administrative offices.
In 2017, the library received around 880 new books, including specialized reference material related to communications, media and journalism. The collection was presented to the JMI by the family of the late David Klatell, professor of journalism at the Columbia University in the U.S.
In 2017, JMI also received the necessary equipment for applied education, such as computers and cameras. Moreover, the JMI TV studio was renovated through an EU-funded project.
The institute’s visibility in local and Arab media outlets increased by 39% compared with the previous year, while the number of JMI staff members went up by 9%.
Fifth: Resources and Sustainability
In a nutshell, JMI operations in all domains, i.e. academic achievement, projects and training, and institutional framework, witnessed a qualitative leap in 2017, which corresponds with the fact that it is a non-for-profit institution. The institute’s expenditure and income increased by around 33% from the previous year, a growth rate of around 56% compared with the average of the last four years. The deficit dropped to around 1.1% of the revenues, an indicator that JMI’s work is growing amid difficult and complicated conditions witnessed by similar organizations.