The digital media landscape is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. In 2013, mobile usage was up 115 percent, messaging apps had growth of 203 percent, and info graphics were searched on Google 800 percent more than in the previous year. 

With all of these changes, journalism programs at institutions around the world are struggling to find a way to adequately prepare their students for careers as media professionals. 

Anglo-American University is one of those institutions. 

Marketa Horazna, a journalism student in her last year here at AAU, believes the school is not doing enough. “I don’t feel prepared for entering the job market.” 

AAU is not the only school struggling in this difficult situation. Indiana University, the University of Southern California, and West Virginia University are just a few of the American institutions reshaping their prestigious journalism programs. Each one of these schools is putting a high priority on gaining multimedia skills and an understanding of the digital landscape as they seek to prepare their students for the 21st century.

Schools with fewer resources, like AAU, are put at an even bigger disadvantage when trying to effectively prepare their journalism students. “AAU will always be a small school,” said Iva Skochova, assistant dean of the School of Journalism. With limited funding and help from the Prague Freedom Foundation, Skochova and the rest of the journalism staff are doing everything they can for their students. “Our focus will always be on the personal assistance,” she said. 

AAU is trying to balance a limited budget and an ever-fluctuating student body with the responsibility of preparing its journalism students to succeed and adapt throughout their careers. 

Skochova cites the planned facilities in the new building as one key improvement. “We have been purchasing more and more media equipment,” she said. “The new building will have its own media room.” But for now AAU is struggling to adapt, according to students. When asked if the School of Journalism has embraced the digital age, Horazna said, “Nope. And that applies to the whole AAU.” 

In the last few years, the digital world has grown in staggering numbers, complicating how schools should prepare future journalists. 

Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have enjoyed phenomenal growth in users and popularity and are now important players in the media sphere. 

News aggregators such as the Huffington Post, Flipboard, and LinkedIn Pulse have excelled too. Content marketing, which blurs the line between editorial and advertisement, is now being accepted by many prominent news organizations including The New York Times. 

All of these changes, from what people consume to how they consume it, dramatically affect journalism school approaches. 

The School of Journalism at Indiana University is folding into the Media School beginning in July. After standing in Ernie Pyle Hall for 103 years, the school will now merge with telecommunications, communications and culture, and film to form the Media School, which will be housed in the College of Arts & Sciences. At a trustee board meeting in October, Indiana University Present Michael A. McRobbie praised the new Media School as an innovative solution at the forefront of the digital media world. 

West Virginia University’s 75-year-old journalism school had its name changed to the Reed College of Media in February. Maryanne Reed, dean at WVU, said to school governors, “What we felt like was that everything – all of our disciplines that we teach – intersect with media. Either on the news side or the communications side, we wouldn’t exist without media, and media will always be here.” 

The University of Southern California’s prestigious Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism announced last year they would be diluting their two-year M.A. degree in journalism into a nine-month M.S. program beginning this year.

American universities with rich foundations in journalism are struggling to resolve where their responsibilities lie.

AAU has nowhere near the resources or funding of any of these institutions yet is implementing changes that it hopes will be productive for their students’ futures. “Our program is unique in that we have a diverse student body,” Skochova said. “A lot of the times those students don’t really have an intention to stay in the Czech Republic. We are training them to have skills in other countries.” 

If AAU and its journalism program are not adapting to the digital world quite like its contemporaries in the United States, there is no doubt that at least AAU has a different view on the future of media. “Eventually the journalism market will turn around,” Skochova said. 

That may be the case. But, until then, AAU needs to become a more digitally savy university if it wants its students prepared for today’s job market. 

Students from all over Europe – and the world for that matter – are coming to AAU to get the education required for success in the global workforce. Many students, Horazna included, believe their journalism school must be at the forefront of digital innovation if the university plans on taking advantage of the new opportunities. 

“They should invest in new technology,” Horazna says. “When students are able to try how the technology works and actually make their own projects as reporters, they will be more engaged and keen to learn.”