30 April 2013



The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Robert R. McCormick joined together to sponsor the Hemispheric Conference on the Modernization of Education in Journalism. This conference, held at Cantigny, Illinois, in September 1995, brought together Latin American deans of journalism and their counterparts in the United States, plus newspaper editors of both latitudes, to discuss the status of university training in Latin America and how to meet the requirements of the media.

The "Cantigny Conference" focused on the modernization and placed special emphasis on the need to promote a more practical training, professional and multidisciplinary. With the meeting began the debate about alternative journalism training XXI century in the service of free societies where citizens have the right to seek and receive information, to express opinions and disseminate them without restrictions.

The deans and editors jointly examined the current situation in each of their countries, analyzing issues such as preparing students to meet the expectations of the profession, job opportunities, links between schools and the means and the change taking place in the structure of the information before the advent of new technologies such as the Internet. Beyond the diversity of countries, cultures and university programs that were represented at the meeting, there were several common interests, as well as the exchange of experiences and ideas led to several proposals to make changes in approaches of journalism education.

Participants noted that the main problems included the lack of a practical teaching, the overemphasis on the lectures and rote learning rather than learning participatory type, rigidity in a curriculum where all attendees enrolled materials without interacting with students from other places. It was also observed that students graduate with a rather poor preparation, that the powers generate an excessive number of professionals to existing labor demand, that there are different positions on the academic graduation requirement to work as a journalist, that there are academic failures and private alternatives proliferate rather than public universities offering journalism programs.

After evaluation of the problems participants saw the advisability of establishing a Latin American Council of Accreditation to set benchmarks for journalism schools in the region in their quest to meet the requirements of the media. Analyzed the benefits of accreditation and success in America. They understood that accreditation is a way to ensure that they remain the standards of excellence in educational institutions and a guarantee of quality for educational programs and for the public to which they are directed.

Accreditation is a private and voluntary process that began in the U.S. in 1945. Currently, the Accreditation Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Media (called "ACEJMC") has over 35 members and more than a hundred accredited programs nationwide. Each year more than 20 visiting faculties seeking accreditation for the first time or obtain reaccreditation, a procedure that is managed in six years.

After the conference, some participants formed a task force to try to overcome the crisis of both newspapers as the faculties of journalism in Latin America. Organizing Committee was established, with deans of journalism programs in five countries of the Americas and ACEJMC representatives, in order to plan the creation of the Latin American Council of Accreditation.

During several meetings of the Organizing Committee between 1997 and 2000, members drafted the structure and statutes of the Latin American Council of Education Accreditation in Journalism (CLAEP) and three fundamental documents for the accreditation process:

1) Policies and Procedures 2) Accreditation Standards 3) Self-Study

These documents were submitted and approved by CLAEP during its first meeting on October 13, 2000 in Santiago, Chile.