Media Psychology: Challenges of Competence-Based Curricula and Employment

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The purpose of this research is to identify the core competencies for media psychology curricula and common criteria, which employers consider in the process of employing media psychologists. The research holds significance for adjusting interdisciplinary educational programs and in particular, advancing media psychologists’ competency matrix (graduate program’s learning outcomes). This research answers the questions as it follows: 1. What core educational competencies/learning outcomes are to be met by media psychologists (by completing graduate level)? 2. According to what criteria (in employers’ opinion), knowledge and skill-based competencies media psychologists might be employed in Georgia? 3. What are the basic gaps and recommendations to be considered for adjusting higher educational programs? Employers from 35 organizations (media, marketing and research organizations, governmental and non-governmental agencies) in Georgia answered the close and open-ended questions in 2018. Media psychology is an emerging sphere and in Georgia it has already started to develop in an interdisciplinary context. The field might have a unique condition for development in the region for its unique media landscape: Georgian media managed to survive under omnipresent Soviet propaganda, but the legacy still looms large on the country’s media landscape. For now, Georgia is in a condition of so-called hybrid war and struggles with anti-western propaganda. According to the results, 71 % of employers do not have in staff media psychologists and up to 45 % wish to employ specialists with such competencies; there is a low awareness about media psychologists and 39 % still do not know if they want to employ them in Georgia. Still 75 % of employers would offer a trial period to them. The majority of the respondents (82%) answers, was that knowledge and skill based competencies with emphasis of psychology are critically important (61 %) or important (21 %) for journalists (in particular); 88 % of employers think that media employees should have a good understanding of the negative and positive phenomena/effects of Media (TV, Radio, Print and online) products, and that they should be ethical (reduce stigmatization and strengthening stereotypes, not use hate speech, etc.); They should know, how fake, biased news and propaganda effects peoples’ minds and their perception of reality. According to the research, the core competencies for media psychology curricula have been shaped. The research is a valuable resource for educators in modernizing educational programs by taking into consideration employment requirements and fine-tuning accreditation standards.
Media psychology, Education, Employment, მედიაფსიქოლოგია, განათლება, დასაქმება