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WJS Statutes

1   Mission and objectives

(a) The Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS) was founded to regularly assess the state of journalism (as well as news organizations and journalists) throughout the world. The Study’s primary objective is to help journalism researchers, practitioners, media managers and policy makers better understand worldviews and changes that are taking place in the professional orientations of journalists, the conditions and limitations under which they operate, as well as the social functions 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 that these changes – unparalleled in the history of journalism – have important ramifications for the larger societies for which journalism is of vital importance.

(b) In order to do so, the members of this Study will carry out representative surveys of journalists on a global scale. The Study is generally open to researchers from all countries in the world, and we will strive 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 the relevant academic communities, policy makers and the general public. To the extent that such comparative evidence can have implications for policy-making and ongoing political conversations, the Study may also increase the public relevance of academic work in the field of journalism studies.

(c) 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. Consequently, another important goal of this Study is to develop a world-wide 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 discussions. It facilitates 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 societies. In so doing, it helps establish and maintain sustainable collaborative partnerships and makes an important contribution to a global knowledge society.

(d) 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 project.

2   Membership

(a) Membership in the WJS is by invitation. Invitations to join the WJS are issued by the Executive Committee.

(b) Each country group is free to recruit as many members as it deems necessary, but it shall have one vote (one membership) when decisions are taken by the WJS.

(c) The Executive Committee plans the expansion of the group and seeks collaboration in countries not yet represented in the study.

(d) The membership of any country group may be terminated by a two-thirds majority of the Executive Committee. Membership will automatically expire if the member fails to conduct a survey according to the Study’s overall conceptual and methodological framework and within the designated time period, unless the Executive Committee makes an exception in recognition of exceptional circumstances.

3   Meetings and Decision-Making

(a) A general membership meeting (General Assembly) shall be held at least once every two years. The General Assembly can be held via means of online communication. At least one Principal Investigator (PI) from each participating country is to be invited to the General Assembly.

(b) If meetings are held physically, it is the responsibility of Principal Investigator(s) to cover the costs of their attendance.

(c) At the General Assembly, each participating country shall be represented by at least one Principle investigator. Each country team independently appoints their representatives at the membership meeting.

(d) Each participating country has one vote at the General Assembly. Each country group decides how the group shall vote. Decisions are by simple majority.

(e) Motions are carried at General membership meetings by a simple majority when a quorum exists. A quorum exists when two-thirds of the membership representatives are present at the General meeting.

4   The Executive Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee

(a) The WJS shall have an Executive Committee (EC) consisting of seven people. EC members will also act as Regional Coordinators (RC) for the seven world regions represented in the WJS: Africa, Asia, Oceania, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America/the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Western Europe & North America. Each Executive Committee member has a five-year renewable term of office.

(b) The Regional Coordinators are voted into office by simple majority of the voting membership during a General Assembly.

(c) The Executive Committee will appoint two of its members as Chair and Vice- Chair.

(d) The Executive Committee shall provide leadership and strategic planning for the WJS, recruit new members, organize meetings and workshops, promote publications and dissemination of results, as well as raise central funds and assist member groups in their fund-raising efforts. It shall coordinate research activities, including research design development, data archiving and the Study’s website maintenance.

(e) 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. The members of the Scientific Advisory Committee shall not be selected from the Executive Committee.

(f) The members of the Scientific Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Executive Committee by invitation. The Executive Committee may invite experts from outside the WJS to become part of the Scientific Advisory Committee.

5   Data Collection, Archiving and Publication

(a) Every member agrees to conduct the field research according to the Study’s overall methodological framework.

(b) Each country questionnaire is to be a translation from a standard questionnaire upon which the General Assembly has agreed.

(c) 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.

(d) Documented data files of each country group, together with technical details of the research methods, are to be sent to the Executive Committee no later than three months after fieldwork has been completed.

(e) Country data sets will be checked for errors centrally by the Executive Committee. As soon as all data set are found to be free of errors, the Executive Committee will distribute a combined dataset containing the data from all countries to those who have provided their country data, and will provide updated releases as new material is received.

(f) 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 web site.

(g) The WJS highly encourages its members to engage in the practice of collaborative publication and co-authorship as much as possible. For publications based on the WJS data set, following rules may apply:

  • If members use their own data for publications reporting only country-specific findings, they may wish to acknowledge the larger WJS context.

  • If members want to use other country data in order to contextualize their national findings, an acknowledgement is required.

  • If members want to use other country data for cross-national analyses, an acknowledgement is required, but best practice would be to offer co-authorship to members in the countries whose data are being used.

  • If members want to use the entire data set for pooled analyses, they should at least include an acknowledgement.

6   Amendments to the Statute

(a) Proposals for amendments to this statute must be signed by at least five voting members and submitted to the Executive Committee, who has to distribute the proposal to the members at least three month before the General Assembly. Amendments must be supported by a majority of two-thirds.