Zenaida Costales-Pérez1
Ana-Teresa Badía-Valdés1

1Universidad de La Habana. Cuba

This proposal gathers some bases for the professional formation of the subject of Radiophonic Journalism in the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana. The text explores the symbolic construction for the Cuban scenario in contemporary cultural contexts, on the transversal axis of radio education. Interpreting reality and communicating it, as well as the combination of theory and practice, is part of the pedagogical essences that contribute to understanding the complexity of our days. In this scenario, the teacher must assume a communicative and pedagogical news leadership that should influence professional training.

KEYWORDS: radio; teaching; theory; practice; pedagogy

Esta propuesta recoge algunas bases para la formación profesional de la asignatura de Periodismo Radiofónico en la Facultad de Comunicación de la Universidad de La Habana. El texto explora en la construcción simbólica para el escenario cubano en los contextos culturales contemporáneos, sobre el eje transversal de la enseñanza radial. Interpretar la realidad y comunicarla, así como la combinación de la teoría y con la práctica es parte de las esencias pedagógicas que contribuyen a entender la complejidad de nuestros días. En ese escenario el profesor debe asumir un liderazgo noticioso comunicativo y pedagógico que deberá influenciar en la formación profesional.

PALABRAS CLAVES: radio; enseñanza; teoría; práctica; pedagogía

Esta proposta percorre algumas bases para a formação profissional da matéria de Jornalismo Radiofônico na Faculdade de Comunicação da Universidade de Habana. O texto explora na construção simbólica para o cenário cubano nos contextos culturais contemporâneos, sobre o eixo transversal do ensinamento radial. Interpretar a realidade e comunica-la, assim como a combinação da teoria e com a pratica é parte das essências pedagógicas que contribuem a entender a complexidade de nossos dias. Neste cenário o professor deve assumir uma liderança noticiosa comunicativa e pedagógica que deverá influenciar na formação profissional.

PALAVRAS CHAVE: Rádio, Ensinamento, Teoria, Prática, Pedagogia

Received: 22/01/2018
Accepted: 07/03/2018
Published: 15/07/2018

Correspondence: Zenaida Costales Pérez
Ana Teresa Badía Valdés

How to cite the article
Costales Pérez, Z.; Badía Valdés, A. T. (2018). Strategies for professional training in radio journalism: experiences and proposals. [Estrategias para la formación profesional en periodismo radiofónico: experiencias y propuestas].
Revista de Comunicación de la SEECI, 46, 53-63
doi: http://doi.org/10.15198/seeci.2018.46.53-63
Recuperado de http://www.seeci.net/revista/index.php/seeci/article/view/508


In developing countries, at least 75% of households have access to radio. (UNESCO, 2012). That figure gives importance to that media.
In Cuba, the radio, by listening to its audience and responding to its needs, provides both edges and voices to address the challenges at present. (Rebel, 2018). Its teaching covers in the first instance a pedagogical dimension anchored to the responsibility of the professional future, its ethics, its professional ideology, and the need to consider the aesthetics of the new narratives at the moment of executing the practical exercises in the classroom.
It is proposed to teach the subject Radio Journalism at the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana as an experiential, alternating and simultaneous reflection that involves radio journalism production and university teaching. In addition, educational tools closely related to the interpretation of the political and sociocultural context were put into practice. As the Colombian researcher Jesús Martín-Barbero (2010) expresses, the first challenge of communication today in the knowledge society is to engage the university in dialogue with its society.
The empowerment of the radio story, its dramaturgical construction, which includes the role of the teacher in the conception of the class, as well as the individual and collective innovation to face social transformation, become modes and experimental means of the pedagogical experience.  


The objectives of research are: to reflect on routes for the search of training closely related to the interactive radio teaching experience and that go through the theoretical learning, the practical experience, the collective and individual contribution to a certain project, the evaluation of the results and the critical interpretation of the context. Also show the contributions that, from theoretical-practical experiences in the university environment, contribute to the search for a new training model as they assume the stock of critical thinking. It also includes evidence of the potential that the teaching of radio offers to build scenarios through life stories that in turn become strategic spaces of contemporary Cuban symbolic construction from recognition and self-recognition practices that could be useful in other fields of teaching training. And finally, design a proposal from the theoretical-methodological point of view for the contribution to the improvement of the teaching of the subject Radio Journalism at the university.  


This study is supported epistemologically on the interpretive paradigm of the research that seeks to understand, describe and interpret the reality related to the object of study. Methodologically, a qualitative design is used when describing and interpreting the phenomena of reality. It includes the realization of an innovative and experimental exercise (Galán and Quintanal, 2012). Subsequently, and based on the results of this initial exercise, some theoretical and methodological bases for the teaching of the subject are proposed. The inductive procedure is assumed, which allows us to establish a close relationship with the object in order to be able to penetrate into its essence, as it is necessary to establish the regularities that enable the elaboration of changes in the teaching proposal. Methods such as historical-logical analysis of pedagogical literature; theoretical generalization for the interpretation of the obtained information; analysis-synthesis and induction-deduction; documentary analysis; and triangulation of data are used.
The population and sample are at the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana where professionals of three careers are trained, information, communicative and journalistic sciences. In the career of Journalism, the subject of Radio Journalism is taught. This research work was carried out with a group of 46 students in the 2014-2015 academic years. On the basis of this diagnosis, the theoretical-methodological proposal for the teaching of the subject is established.


4.1. Radio Pedagogy

From the university, radio education must be modified at the pace of society and be in tune with the change of both educational and communicative models to prepare students and teachers for the challenges of the present and the future.
Nobody doubts the existence of a means of communication empirically recognizable both by its technological characteristics as by the certain generalized ways of operating it. The different professional practices that are formed around it and the academic knowledge that is developed give rise to the recognition of dissimilar ways of thinking about the radio, which obviously are not casual but are the result of multiple conceptions about communication and the media. (Canavilhas, 2011).
To assume then the pedagogy of radio communication, in front of a student who always demands a better didactic proposal, the teacher must know that the student is more passionate about doing, and sometimes even accepting that to produce radio does not need to learn the fundamentals of radio communication. In a more categorical way, Jesus Martin Barbero himself (2005) states: “the problem is no longer the adjustment of the weight that the different knowledge and skills should have in training the communicator but what kind of theoretical reflection can be articulated when ‘doing communication’ without being absorbed or neutralized by the technological reason and the ‘expansion’ of the commercial logic to the model of society”. (p.124)
This undervaluation towards theoretical training increases as the diverse methodologies used for the Pedagogy of radio communication are exhausted in models and traditional aids already spent in their application, which do not manage to captivate students the same way in which the possibility of being in a radio booth or in a studio with the technological components of these times seduces them. Mata (1998) considers that “the possibility of restoring (to the radio) its unit as a complete and complex object around which thinking and doing are not dissociated categories or moments, antagonistic, or simply linked by the nexus of applicability of certain theories in action, but different though converging moments” (p.94).
Although the intention of the radio educator is to train with a broad criterion that integrates different perspectives of the medium, the pedagogical process of radio communication is disturbed, in many cases, by this predilection towards more empirical and technical practices, at least, in the initial perception of the student.
The academic defense around the theoretical foundations enriches and sustains the production of a radio communication with context and conceptual depth. But, what factors begin to play in the task of teaching radio so that attention is paid to both the theoretical and the practical aspects?
The teaching of radio journalism becomes a transcendental pedagogical exercise as a tool of contemporary discourse par excellence: seduction, spectacle, playful imaginariness, possibilities of appropriation and construction of discourses. This is linked to the development and expansion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). In the combination of the above elements lies one of the pedagogical paths for the articulation of a transformative theory-practice, directly involved with the surrounding context.
The empowerment of the radio story, its dramaturgical construction (which includes the role of the teacher in the conception and staging of the class) and the individual and collective innovation to face the social transformation, become essential modes and experimental means of pedagogical experience.
The incidence of the magical radio story introduces new expressive, aesthetic forms, and the possibility of communicating deep senses, which reflect multiple realities and cultural diversities. A variety of languages must be used, as well as new forms of expression, interaction, creativity and imagination.
With musical, sound and auditory narratives, new ways of thinking and relating can be drawn and manifested. The variety and the multiplicity of sound interpretations contribute to discover another world within the world and to others in their entire dimension. This way, and not for pleasure, the Chilean journalist Perla Wilson proposes a possible crossing: “that the radio story be a memory”.
In the process of teaching / learning radio communication there is another significant element that aims to train: the specificity of the discourse of the medium that is proper to it and that safeguards many of the characteristics that make it different from others. As an art, radio has a very legitimate aesthetic concern: its relationship with the listener derives from seduction and the appropriateness of its contents. (Morley, 1996). Aspects such as variety, sound quality, illation of the story, appropriation of the four elements of the radio speech (the word, music, sound effects and silence) are, somehow, a guarantee of an aesthetic proposal. “Radio cannot do without art without the risk that its message, even though it may have some degree of usefulness, is a grim litany unable to gratify, to provoke aesthetic fruition.” (Haye, 1998, p.2)
For all the above, we believe that the teacher must also make art with his class: he is an actor that mediates the knowledge and experience of the learner. He is, at the same time, a facilitator of the student’s encounter with their environment. If a teacher does not handle the political and ethical implications of his time, he will have no way to induce his students to read about reality with dramaturgy and spectacularity as contemporary journalism suggests. Using the playful possibilities of creative learning that a means of communication allows, in particular radio, by its ability to combine doing with thinking leads us along the routes of a kind of pedagogical dramaturgy.
“Education is a work of art” ... “in the sense that the educator is also an artist: he remakes the world, he redraws the world, repaints the world, restores the world, re-creates the world.” (Freire, 1992, p.77).
For this reason, getting to the class involves wrapping the classroom’s creative and magical radial atmosphere with information, news and communicative products that reflect reality. The one of the moment of the class: The immediacy of radio must also be shown in the class of radio journalism. (Cebrián, 2004).
As explained by Lalinde (1992) “The news is a social institution and a historical reality, socially legitimized to fulfill the function of structuring reality itself”. (p.5). It is a creativity in the daily life, in the day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute of the sequentially for immediate communication with the audience. And this can work in the classroom as a kind of playful device that runs in unique sensations. Mystique that brings together group bodies and individual bodies that hear, resonate, model, rewrite and resignify in their eagerness to continue weaving the plot, creating fictional rhetoric, expressiveness and narrative aesthetics.

4.2. Classes physical or emotional space

As part of the experience, the physical space of the classroom was converted into a scenario of recognition and self-recognition, with a highly inclusive character, which allowed us to enhance the mobilizing-transforming spirit of the students.
“If to communicate is to share the meaning, to participate is to share the action. Education would then be the decisive place of intersection. But for that, it must become the space for the conversation of the knowledge and narratives that shape the oralities, the literalities and the visualities. For, from the miscegenation that is framed between them, is where the future is glimpsed and expressed, where it takes shape.” (Barbero, 2002, p.1)
As part of the pedagogical strategy, visits were organized and classes were authentically mediated in different radio stations. This changed the student’s perspective, since it allowed him to verify the agility and mastery that the medium demands. To the students, the class in the booth, in the radio studio, became more attractive, because that is where they could see its strengths. To the students, to be in the booth was to be in practice and practice is, apparently, the most tangible way to “do radio”. “The educator needs the learner as well as the learner needs the educator, both are educated, although the tasks of both are specific (...)” (Freire, 1992, p.77).
Another important aspect was the socialization of radio products, theoretical materials and scientific productions of students, as a pedagogical tactic that allowed both students and teachers to clarify concepts and learn new ways of working in radio communication. In this sense, it also highlights the need to seek strong links with real projects resulting from their interaction during their work experience. In our pedagogical experience, students collaborate in national, provincial and municipal radio stations, spaces where they have to articulate theoretical knowledge with praxis.
The study of radio journalism was articulated with optional subjects such as: Informative Locution, Audiovisual Story Building, Sound and Audiovisual Story, Digital Edition, which made it possible for the subject of Radio Journalism to become, together with Labor Practice, an integrating discipline so that students become more familiar with the media professional activity, daily life, professional ideologies and productive routines of Cuban radio journalists.
In order to obtain a greater effectiveness in learning, analytical strategies were used, such as the dismantling of communicative products of the medium, as a way to reach the production of materials in a more conscious and critical way.
During this piece of research, the need for a teaching training strategy capable of training professionals who are actively involved in the contemporary world and in the Cuban sociocultural environment was confirmed, which entails a conception of the journalist as a professional who, in addition to communicating reality through the written, radio, television and digital press, also has the responsibility to think about it.
The presence in the classroom of well-known personalities of the radio, who together share experiences and classes, also offered irrefutable pedagogical strength. The Uruguayan teacher Mario Kaplún (1997) used expressions such as: “you learn when communicating”, “knowing is communicating” or “from the listening student to the speaking student”, and he stated: “educating yourself is getting involved and participating in a process of multiple communicative interactions” (p.2).
As part of this piece of research, the construction of self-reports by students from the perspectives of an innovative radio discourse was included. It consisted of the students forming training strategies that pointed to self-recognition and insertion in contexts. They articulated personal life and social environment. The idea was a kind of sound canvas where the story, the life stories with the use of the elements of the radio speech, was present. The objective was basically to learn to listen and share with others their own construction of sound memory about a time and reality common to all: Their lives, a country. They worked from the intention of incorporating into the story not only music, but also sound effects, the word, silence. Most of the storytellers (the students themselves) chose not to use the classic figure of a storyteller or speaker to tell the story. The protagonists themselves acquire central significance as a starting point, a common thread in most of the works. In the stories, the theme of non-state work was present as well as its leading role in the daily city movement, which hawks with new technologies its rich tamales or sweets for the eternal challenge of survival.
The radio stories articulated by the students will tell their country from the sounds. This produced a collection of sounds that identified events linked to Cuban history from a generational and innovative perspective. It was an exercise in self-discovery and impact for students and teachers; they required the appropriation of the discursive radio elements with simple and available resources, creative capacity and sustainability in their application over time. That look demands, as Mata (2012) describes “a communicative relationship as a space of significant practice, of production of meaning; of interaction, of dialogue; a cultural experience inserted in a textual and contextual (discursive and historical) plot that constitutes it in turn and models it” (p. 6).

4.3. A proposal for teaching the subject Radio Journalism

The realization of the experimental exercise and the triangulation of data obtained from the bibliographic and documentary analysis make possible the articulation of several elements in a theoretical-methodological proposal for the teaching of radio journalism at the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana that includes:

a) Systemic conception of the subject
When teaching radio, you should delve into the axes of linear relative communication between receivers and emitters. In his reflections on learning as the key to educommunication, Prieto (2006, p.7) notes: “It is very difficult to learn from someone with whom I communicate just a little, with whom I miscommunicate or with whom I do not communicate; It is very difficult to learn from someone with whom I do not share times, because neither he nor I have them; It is very difficult to learn from someone I do not believe in; It is very difficult to teach, promote and accompany the learning of young people and young students if my willingness to learn has been undermined».
The existence and consolidation of subjects in the curricular network of the career of Journalism as: (Information Locution, Audiovisual Story Construction, Sound and Audiovisual Story, Digital Edition) today contribute to radio teaching being a true integrating discipline with the Labor Practice, all oriented to the acquisition of cognitive, methodological, technological and linguistic skills, as well as to the development of interpersonal competences, referred to the cultivation of individual and social capacities. These competences become spaces of integration and skills that must be acquired by students throughout their training process.

b) Articulation of the teaching of the subject with the context
The fact of observing, criticizing and explaining reality must be today, more than ever, a work of the future journalist who cannot be seen as a simple narrator of today but must appeal to his professionalism and his good work and try to interpret the reality to expose it critically. This reality is mediated by social, economic, cultural and political characteristics, among others. The introduction of exercises and classes related to the context allows the development of creative, critical and interpretative capacity, in close relation with radio aesthetics.

c) Linking the class with news and media news
The introduction of today’s news as part of the content of the class entails the renewal of radio education. For its debate, the use of radio story techniques, as well as its dramaturgical construction, should be applied in a way that reflects that current situation.

d) Linking theory and practice
In order to teach how to do radio from the university, contact must be maintained with the practice of production in the media. They can be conceived at the end of each semester, as well as in a systematic way, so that the students apply the theories obtained as part of the teaching-learning process.
Also the introduction of exercises and practical classes allowed the development of creative, critical and interpretative capacity, in close relation with radio aesthetics.

e) Consideration of the influence of new technologies
New technologies transform both the traditional production process of the media and the ways of consumption. Therefore, the training of new radio journalists and, in general, of communication professionals must account for the use of new technological tools. As part of the teaching of the subject, lectures should be introduced on the development of ICT competences, the management of software, and the new characteristics of the communication process based on the consolidation of these technologies.


University radio education should be modified at the pace of society and be in tune with the change of both educational and communicative models that allow students and teachers to be trained for the communication challenges of the present and the future.
Students should bear in mind that, for the necessary transformation of Cuban radio communication, a greater role of the common citizen is needed.
The classrooms are authentic strategic symbolic spaces. Today the knowledge we teach in our universities is also crossed by techno-communicative knowledge. A radio journalist in training must develop communicative skills to rework and transmit socially and communicatively relevant scientific thought to the situation in his country. In the same sense, it is important that students know the proper discourse of the radio.
After triangulating the results of the experiences of the innovative exercise, from this piece of research, it is possible to suggest some theoretical and methodological elements that will contribute to the improvement of teaching of the subject of Radio Journalism: the systemic conception of the subject; the articulation of the teaching of the subject with the context; the connection of the class with today’s news and media news; the linking of theory and practice; and the consideration of the influence of new technologies.


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Zenaida Costales Pérez
Journalist and Professor of the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana. Email costaleszenaida@gmail.com

Ana Teresa Badía Valdés
Full Professor of the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana.