By Nikola Krstikj |

Learning by doing — this is the essence of the famed Missouri Method practiced at one of the oldest journalism schools in the world.

Teaching without practice – this is the way not only journalism but virtually all Macedonian higher education institutions function.

After completing their studies, most of the newly graduated journalists in Macedonia have vast theoretical knowledge but essentially no real world experience. They are literally lost when they arrive at their newsrooms. The problem only gets worse. In the beginning they are all ambitious and driven, and adhere to the standards they were taught and everything they have learned during their studies. But after a while, most of them succumb to the pressure and to the distorted values that prevail in the profession.

The new generations of reporters in Macedonia need support and reassurance, but they also need a better education. The especially need practical expertise like that attained at the Missouri School of Journalism.

I firmly believe that by mirroring at least part of the Missouri Method in the Macedonian schools we can improve the conditions in the media sector that have gotten drastically worse in the past decade. In 2016 Macedonia’s media status declined from “partly free” to “not free” in the Freedom House index. In 2017, the country was ranked at the 111th place in the Reporters Without Borders ranking. The problems in the media sector are also noted in the European Union’s progress reports and the reports by the U.S. Department of State.

At least a partial but also a long term solution to all of this is improving the education levels of the new generations of journalists by implementing the Missouri Method that allows students to receive hands-on training in real news media. By having practical knowledge the students also improve their self-confidence and resistance to the pressures they will face during their professional career.