Statute of the Worlds of Journalism Study

(Adopted in Madrid, 5 July 2019)

1 Mission and objectives

1.1 The Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS) is an academically driven project founded to regularly assess the state of journalism throughout the world. The Study’s primary objective is to help journalism researchers, practitioners, media managers, and policymakers better understand the worldviews and changes that are taking place in the professional orientations of journalists, the conditions and limitations under which they work, and the role of journalism in a changing world. We believe that this is particularly relevant during a time of major transformations taking place within the institution of journalism around the globe. We also believe these changes – unparalleled in the history of journalism – have important ramifications for societies at large for which journalism is of vital importance.

1.2 In order to do so, the members of this Study will carry out representative surveys of journalists in accordance with a joint methodological framework. The Study is in principle open to researchers from all countries in the world, and it strives to include the widest possible range of societies. The members of this Study will analyze and interpret the data resulting from these surveys and disseminate the results to academic communities, relevant stakeholders, as well as to the general public. To the extent that such comparative evidence may have implications for policy-making and ongoing political discourse, the Study also aims to, at the same time, increase public relevance of academic work in the field of journalism studies.

1.3 The Study’s objectives can only be met effectively if it is carried out by research from throughout the world, representing a wide range of cultures and perspectives. Another important goal of this Study, therefore, is to develop a worldwide network of researchers who are interested in the changing state of journalism. Not only does such a network open up new avenues of research, it also provides an intellectual platform for the exchange of ideas and evidence, as well as for conceptual and methodological innovations. It can facilitate communication between scholars from all over the world, including researchers from regions that are not yet adequately represented in journalism research. Furthermore, the Study encourages collaborative publications that draw on the combined insights of researchers from all participating countries. In so doing, it will help establish and maintain sustainable collaborative partnerships and delivers an indispensable contribution to a global knowledge society.

1.4 The Study will utilize the best available research techniques. The Study’s conceptual and methodological framework will be designed with input from around the world. All participating researchers will have the opportunity to make their contributions at every stage of the research process.


2 Membership

2.1 Any natural person may become a Member of WJS if s/he participates in academic research efforts to meet the Study’s mission and objectives as set out in Section 1 (above).

2.2 Membership in the WJS is by invitation. Invitations to join WJS are issued by members of the Executive Committee (see below).

2.3 A Member may resign from the Association at any point in time.

2.4 Each country can be represented by multiple Members, but it shall have one vote when decisions are taken by WJS.

2.5 Membership of any country group may be terminated by a two-thirds majority of members of the Executive Committee. Membership will automatically expire if members fail to conduct a survey according to the Study’s overall conceptual and methodological framework and within the designated period, unless the Executive Committee makes an exception in recognition of extraordinary circumstances.


3 The Executive Committee, Regional Coordinators and the Scientific Advisory Committee

3.1 WJS shall be steered by an Executive Committee (EC) consisting of all Regional Coordinators (see point 3.3 below).

3.2 The Executive Committee shall provide leadership and strategic planning for WJS, recruit new members, organize meetings and workshops, promote publications and dissemination of results, as well as raise central funding and assist Members in their fund-raising efforts. It shall coordinate research activities, including research design development and data archiving.

3.3 Regional Coordinators (RC) are WJS Members who coordinate research activities in one of the six world regions represented in the WJS: (sub-Saharan) Africa; Asia; Central and Eastern Europe; Latin America/the Caribbean; Middle East and North Africa; and Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Complex and culturally diverse regions can be coordinated by up to two Members.

3.4 The Regional Coordinators are voted into office by a majority of the voting membership of their respective regions during a General Assembly. If there are less than 50% of the members from a region present at the General Assembly, the vote for that Region will be suspended and followed-up by an online vote to be organized by the Executive Committee.

3.5 The Executive Committee will appoint two of its members as Chair and Vice-Chair.

3.6 A Scientific Advisory Committee consisting of at least six leading journalism researchers will assist the Executive Committee in developing and further improving the Study’s conceptual and methodological framework.

3.7 The members of the Scientific Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Executive Committee by invitation.


4 Meetings and Decision-Making

4.1 A General Assembly shall be held at least once every two years. The General Assembly can be held via means of online communication.

4.2 If meetings are held physically, it is the responsibility of Members to cover the costs of their attendance.

4.3 When voting on resolutions, each country group shall cast not more than one vote. Country groups consist of Members who carry out research in the same country. If multiple Members of a country group are present at the General Assembly, they shall appoint a principal representative prior to the vote. Only the representative of that country group shall be entitled to participate in the voting.

4.4 Every General Assembly of Members has a quorum regardless of the number of Members present.

4.5 Decisions on resolutions shall require a simple majority. When candidates are being elected to the Committee, the candidate who obtains the largest number of votes shall be elected.


5 Data Collection, Archiving, and Publication

5.1 Every Member agrees to conduct the field research according to the Study’s overall methodological framework.

5.2 Each country questionnaire is to be a translation from a common core questionnaire in English adopted by the General Assembly.

5.3 In addition to the common core questionnaire, each country team is free to add questions to the questionnaire in order to account for its specific research interests. Country teams are also free to use additional methods, such as qualitative interviews or content analysis, for their research.

5.4 All Members who contributed a dataset in compliance with the overall methodological framework are entitled to get access to data from all participating countries.

5.5 The combined dataset will remain strictly under embargo for three years after the end of the period designated for fieldwork. They will then be made available to the worldwide research community and other users through the Study’s website.

5.6 The WJS encourages its Members to engage in collaborative publication and co-authorship as much as possible. Rules of data sharing and archiving are formalized in the WJS Data Sharing Protocol.

5.7 All Members undertake to adhere to the highest standards of research ethics.


6 Amendments to the Statute

6.1 Amendments to this Statute shall be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the voting Members attending a General Assembly.