Freedom Network is looking for a research consultant to conduct a mapping study of existing university courses related to themes of online disinformation, digital journalism, and AI taught in Pakistan.

The deadline for submission of your CV is 04 June, 2024. Interested researchers should send their CV, cover letter and samples of previous research work at coordinator@fnpk.org.

The following are terms of reference (ToRs):

Consultant for Journalism Curricula Mapping

Description: Rapid advances in generative AI and other digital technologies are disrupting the news industry once again after a similar disruption to journalism was witnessed during the past decade due to the advent of the social media era. Where the role of new technology can be to assist reliable media, its use is also already being noted in generating disinformation messages to pollute the information channels and create further pressures for independent and credible journalism. This is a challenge all current and prospective journalists and content producers will have to deal with. Communication and journalism education needs to catch up to and align with these technological changes to be able to equip media students with the necessary skills to navigate the digital future and effectively produce public interest journalism.

Freedom Network and IMS are working with the Coalition Against Disinformation (CAD), an alliance of journalism schools, digital media and civil society, to address disinformation in the country through media and information literacy initiatives. As part of CAD efforts, previous research and consultations with university professors has indicated the need for proactive course development on emerging trends in technology and countering disinformation to support the ongoing efforts by journalism departments at local universities.

The proposed mapping exercise intends to determine the current educational offerings related to online disinformation and AI at Pakistani universities. Its results and findings are expected to help with future course development and faculty training on these topics. This will contribute to improvements in the competencies and quality of educational interventions for public interest journalism and countering disinformation at local universities.

Scope of study

The objective of the assignment is to produce a research report of the mapping of journalism curricula of universities related to disinformation, digital journalism and AI. The consultant will work closely with Freedom Network, CAD and IMS, and is expected to:

  1. Conduct a basic mapping of the universe of journalism higher education in Pakistan.
  2. Determine the state of readiness of the journalism departments and faculty in prioritizing disinformation, factchecking and AI in existing curriculum.
  3. Review the quality of existing courses on disinformation or AI at the university level (The consultant will develop a separate analysis and review framework for this.)
  4. Estimate the size and scale of journalism student bodies and faculty at the identified universities.
  5. Determine the tech needs of departments to become specialized, cutting-edge centres of journalism.
  6. Map the assistance potential to support journalism and/or CS departments.
  7. Map the current state of department/university-industry collaboration.

In order to complete the above, the consultant will be required to perform the following preliminary tasks in connection with point #1 above:

  1. Prepare a list of universities with journalism or mass comm departments. Also include details of the computer sciences or IT departments for the identified universities in the list.
  2. These universities can be either public or private. 
  3. The universities should be HEC recognized. 
  4. The list should include all current CAD member universities.
  5. The list should include the names and contact details of the heads of (journalism and computer science) departments.
  6. Identify from amongst the above departments those that offer any kind of course on disinformation or AI.

The consultant will work in tandem with an IMS expert (co-author). The hired consultant will do the data collection, primary research and analysis. The co-author will provide inputs in report conceptualization, report outlining, report strategy development, quality assurance and final editing.  The consultant will be assisted by two student researchers in performance of the assignment tasks.

Expected outputs and deliverables:

  1. Inception report with methodology and work plan after orientation discussion with FN, IMS and CAD:Last week of June 2024
  2. First draft of report:Last week of July 2024
  3. Final draft of report based on input from FN, IMS and CAD:Second week of August 2024

Qualification of the consultant:

  • A degree in social sciences, development, media or human rights
  • Experience of research, advocacy  
  • Experience of engagement with universities and faculties
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent English language skills  
  • Excellent report writing skills

Duration of work:

The assignment will cover a period of not more than two months between June and August 2024.

To Apply:

Please share cover letter mentioning your past experience in such research and your CV to coordinator@fnpk.org by CoB 4th June 2024.

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