About 70 years ago, in 1946, the Institute for Journalism, Media & Communication Studies got its start as the Institute for Newspaper Studies. Later, in 1961, it became the Institute for Communication Research, and in 1996, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its founding, it adopted its current name as the Institute for Journalism, Media & Communication Studies, popularly known as “the MediaCom.” Located at Keio University, which among Japan’s private universities takes pride in its extremely long history, the MediaCom is a university-affiliated research institute with a longstanding history and heritage.
The MediaCom puts effort into joint research projects directed primarily by full-time teaching staff, in which researchers from both within the university and elsewhere participate. Focusing on fields such as journalism; media-related industry, policy and law; media culture; and social psychology, it usually has several joint research projects in progress. These projects are executed in three-year units, with the results published as monographs after each project concludes so as to pass the benefits on to society. The number of these monographs well surpasses thirty volumes. In addition, the research results are made available in the form of bulletins published by the MediaCom in Japanese and English, on-line journals on our website, and other media. The bulletins in Japanese have been issued since 1988 as Keio Media and Communication Research (formerly The Bulletin of the Institute for Communication Research), while those in English have been issued since 1980 as Keio Communication Review. In recent years, the MediaCom has also been proactively developing exchange activities with overseas research and educational institutions.
The MediaCom continues engaging in a complete range of activities not only as a research institute, but also as an educational one. It holds entrance examinations each year, and has a total of about 200 second, third and fourth year university students (called “research students” at the MediaCom) enrolled in its courses. The MediaCom’s courses are conducted not only by its teaching staff, but also by lecturers invited in who engage in practical work in media-related industries such as newspapers, broadcasting, publicity and telecommunications. It holds classes and numerous lectures at which students can get a direct feeling for actual conditions in media-related work. In addition, it holds open lectures for the general public twice a year in spring and autumn, inviting renowned lecturers to talk who are active in media-related industries.
The MediaCom continues to produce distinguished human resources who play active roles in the media industry, including newspapers, broadcasting, news service agencies, publishing and publicity. Research students who have completed the course have included journalists who are famous or noted for excellent individualistic work, and managers of media-related companies. Of course, not all of the MediaCom’s research students have gone on to excel in the mass media or related industries; many have played active roles in other industries. However, the serious learning experience the MediaCom provides and the experience the research students gain from myriad diverse communications with the instructors, other research students and alumni can be expected to provide great encouragement to all of the research students as they proceed through life.
While the traditional mass media continue to wield as big an influence as ever, a succession of new Internet-based media and tools have appeared, and our modes of daily communication have been changing at a faster pace than ever before. What the MediaCom considers important in the midst of this rapidly changing information environment is not only gathering and arranging information, but confronting it properly, firmly establishing one’s own thoughts on it and clearly expressing them. To foster this kind of ability, the staff and research students at the MediaCom make daily efforts, working together to polish each others’ abilities.