Jordanian media professor, Sulafa al-Zoubi
Jordanian media professor, Sulafa al-Zoubi has criticised the new generation of graduate journalists for seeking “quick fame and money” rather than developing their specialised knowledge in a field of journalism
Al-Zoubi was the first female Jordanian to gain a PhD in Audiovisual Media Studies. She earned her degree from Yarmouk University with a dissertation on the portrayal of Arabs in American media and has worked for major television networks as a reporter. However, she has little sympathy for students who are hungry for the spotlight and fail to commit to real, hard-hitting journalism.
“The Arab media is tired and worn out,” she complains, “particularly the political programmes and news. Across the breadth of satellite channels, there is little variation and originality.”
Al-Zoubi, who is Vice Dean at the Faculty of Media at Zarqa University said she wanted to be a journalist since her childhood. Her favourite cartoon, Sandy Bell, featured a young journalist whose work constantly lured her into exciting adventures.”
Her approach to teaching journalism is very practical and hands-on. She explains that “a good journalist must be cultured and have a strong personality.”
“These days, anyone can be a reporter” she adds, noting the rise of the citizen journalist during the Arab Spring. “The public at large can now capture events and relay news and developments. “You need to be professional, have connections and certain presenting style if you want to get paid for it.”
“Most students study television rather than radio journalism because they think they will reach the top and become famous instantly. This is not how journalism works”
“Fresh graduates are not getting jobs in the industry because media companies require examples of hard work first. Experience and specialisation are essential in succeeding as a journalist.”
She is critical of womens’ roles in the media despite their high ratings on Arab television. “The reason female broadcasters tend to focus on entertainment and pop culture. “We are in a society governed by a strict code of customs and traditions, which do little for womens’ confidence.”
Al-Zoubi criticised Facebook as downgrading the profession. “Journalists are relying on unreliable Facebook polls and rumours to gather ideas. People are not reading the in-depth analyses in newspapers.”Regarding social network website Facebook, al-Zuabi criticised the tendency towards exaggeration by its users and urged disregard of polls conducted on such websites which she says have tempted people to stop reading and rely on social networking websites for their news.
Al-Zoubi comments her inspiration comes from journalists such a s Mohammed Hasaninm, Heikal, Abdulbarry Attwan, Jazeel Khoury and May Chidiak who come from a “patient, cooperative but ambitious” generation who had little training and developed.