Build Bridges Between Academia and Media

Universities and the media should be natural allies, given similarities in their social mandates, and there are many examples of how fruitful partnerships between them have enriched public discourse, Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, said in Toronto last week. But for both sectors to be globally responsive they need to be aware of global inequalities and voice the concerns and interests of the marginalised.

The relationship between academia and the media has not been sufficiently deliberated upon, “but it needs to be, not only because it would enable the full realisation of the mandate of both sectors, but also because it is necessary for the realisation of inclusive development”.

Speaking at the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education, held in Toronto from 16-18 June, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) described himself as a political scientist, a researcher of democratisation and development and “an engaged academic with a desire not only to understand but also to change the world. He is a high-profile commentator in South Africa.

Habib said universities and the media were heterogeneous sectors with overlapping functions including promoting societal values and enriching public discourse and a critical citizenry. The similarity in their core social functions “suggests that they should be natural allies and partners, even if this partnership will at times be strained”. Read more…