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CLAN description

Information Science, Saarland University, Germany

CLAN – Continuous Learning for Adults with Needs

Grant Agreement 2007-3569/001-001
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held
responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

1. Number of persons involved

At first, we presented the project at a meeting organized by a lorry-driver union in the

rooms of a big transport company whose rooms could be used for free. All in all, 54 lorry
drivers were present. However, when asked whether they would be interested in
participating, only 4 expressed a certain interest. Hints on the reasons see under point 3.

We then presented the project to news journalists during a meeting of the news
journalists association. 35 professionals attended this meeting, the majority was
interested, and 26 said they would participate.

2. Characteristics and Description of the specific job of the CLAN chosen (i.e. the
news journalists)

The news journalists, our CLAN, report on political, economic and social affairs and
developments in the German federal state of Saarland.

In Germany, there is a quite strong division between journalists reporting on those fields,
and journalists for example reporting on sports, or on cultural events. Sport journalists
are organized in sports journalists associations, as are cultural journalists respectively,
and so on.

So by reporting to the association of the news journalists we got an exclusive contact to

news journalists – which also means: a contact solely to news journalists. However, as
the aim was to look for a CLAN that has specifically unpredictable working hours, this
seemed to be appropriate, as this is especially the case with those 'political' journalists.

In the association are journalists that work for all media (working for a specific medium is
not a criterion for taking part in this association). The spectrum ranges from newspaper
to radio, tv, and digital media.

Common for all of them is that they can't plan their free time very well as they have to
work when events happen, in order to cover them.

3. Description and Composition of the CLAN: Sociological and demographic

As mentioned, the first thought of the German project was on lorry drivers. We imagined
they’d have very irregular working times, are often away from home and thus suffer in
an extreme extent from the conditions described above. So we asked the unions and at a
big transport company do get into contact with employees in this field.

However, we had to discover that this CLAN was not interested in what we proposed.
There were several individual reasons, but two traits that could be found in all interviews
with lorry drivers. Firstly, they don’t want to use media in the sense we proposed. They
use digital media of course to navigate on the roads, and also to send e-mails and thus
to keep in touch with their families, but in majority don’t want to use media for other
hobbies or interests. This leads to the second point. Obviously, it fits to the cliché, but
the large majority of the lorry drivers we asked were only interested in watching films on
tv and in regarding adult sites on their computers. They feared constraints and rejected
them vigorously, and could not easily be convinced that this would not be the case.

Of course it still might have been interesting to try to convince and work with this CLAN.
However, after several discussions, we decided to choose another CLAN, as the focus of
our work would too much have shifted from what the project intends to what would have
been some kind of social work.

With these experiences in background, we decided to look for a CLAN that is relatively
well educated and might be more easily fascinated by mediated vocational training on
new subjects that thus might be more open-minded. We chose news journalists as our
new CLAN.

News journalists have to report when stories happen. Besides, they have to produce their
media – that is: newspapers, radio or tv news shows – even on weekends and sometimes
at times when other citizens are at home just to watch or listen to them: in the very
morning (so they have to be produced at night – and the evening before is not available
for other things to do), or in the very evening. News journalists by definition almost
never have regular working hours. In consequence, they suit to what is necessary to
conduct our project.

Being quite sufficiently educated, they also suit to what we, after the experiences with
the lorry drivers, regarded as the second important restriction in searching a CLAN.

This leads to the description of the sociological traits. For general information, we got
information from the following references that refer to research by media scientists and
political scientists: Altmeppen, K.-D. (1999): Redaktionen als Koordinationszentren.
Beobachtungen journalistischen Handelns. Opladen/Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag. –
Böckelmann, F. (1993): Journalismus als Beruf. Bilanz der Kommunikatorforschung im
deutschsprachigen Raum von 1945 bis 1990. Konstanz: UVK. – Donsbach, W. (1982):
Legitimationsprobleme des Journalismus. Gesellschaftliche Rolle der Massenmedien und
berufliche Einstellungen von Journalisten. Freiburg, München: Alber. – Hachmeister, L.
(2007), Nervöse Zone: Politik und Journalismus in der Berliner Republik. München, DVA –
Hachmeister, L., Anschlag, D. (Hrsg.) (2003), Die Fernsehproduzenten. Rolle und
Selbstverständnis. Konstanz, UVK-Verl.-Ges. – Hachmeister, L. (Hg. zus. mit F. Siering)
(2002), Die Herren Journalisten. Die Elite der Deutschen Presse nach 1945. München –
Haller, M.; Belz, C.; Sellheim, A. (1999), Berufsbilder im Journalismus. Von den alten zu
den neuen Medien. Konstanz – Hienzsch, U. (1990): Journalismus als Restgröße.
Redaktionelle Rationalisierung und publizistischer Leistungsverlust. Wiesbaden: DUV. –
Hofert, S. (2006),: Erfolgreich als freier Journalist. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 2.
überarbeitete Auflage – Fengler, S. / Ruß-Mohl, S. (2005): Der Journalist als „Homo
oeconomicus“. Konstanz: UVK.- Klaus, E. (2005 [1998]):
Kommunikationswissenschaftliche Geschlechterforschung. Zur Bedeutung der Frauen in
den Massenmedien und im Journalismus. 2. Auflage, Wien: Lit [Opladen: Westdeutscher
Verlag]. – Lünenborg, M. (1997): Journalistinnen in Europa. Eine international
vergleichende Analyse zum Gendering im sozialen System Journalismus. Opladen:
Westdeutscher Verlag. – Meier, K. (2002): Ressort, Sparte, Team.
Wahrnehmungsstrukturen und Redaktionsorganisation im Zeitungsjournalismus.
Konstanz: UVK. – Requate, J. (1995), Journalismus als Beruf. Entstehung und
Entwicklung des Journalistenberufs im 19. Jahrhundert. Deutschland im internationalen
Vergleich. Göttingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht – Rühl, M. (1979[1969]): Die
Zeitungsredaktion als organisiertes soziales System. 2., überarbeitete und erweiterte
Auflage, Freiburg (Schweiz): Universitätsverlag. – Schneider, B.; Schönbach, K.;
Stürzebecher, D. (1993): Westdeutsche Journalisten im Vergleich. Jung, professionell und
mit Spaß an der Arbeit. In: Publizistik. 38. Jg., H. 1, S. 5-30. – Schwenk, J. (2006):
Berufsfeld Journalismus. Aktuelle Befunde zur beruflichen Situation und Karriere von
Frauen und Männern im Journalismus. München: Fischer. – Weichert, S; Zabel, C.
(2007): Die Alpha-Journalisten. Deutschlands Wortführer im Porträt, Halem, Köln

In addition, we conducted three 45’ – 60’ interviews with news journalists (“CLAN
members”) which were very fruitful as the journalists obviously knew how to express
themselves, very fast got the points we wanted to stress and expressed their experiences
and attitudes in a very free and open manner.

Of course, in contrast to lorry drivers, news journalists are well educated. All journalists
that might take part have finished a university education.

On the one side, this is not compulsory as the profession of journalism, in Germany, is a
free one; there is no regulation to limit the access to this profession. However, it’s the
market that has led to this high level of well educated potential CLAN members: Since
the 70s, journalism is a kind of ‘trend profession’. Whereas before journalists in general
only had to take part in an apprenticeship (the so-called Volontariat), now there are so
many applicants that the newspapers or radio or tv stations could select. One criterion for
selection, of course, is formal education. Thus simply the offer of many people interested
in working as journalists led to a high qualification. ‘Our’ potential CLAN members have,
in majority, studied political science, sociology, media sciences, and economics.

The motives, however, are quite disparate. The older news journalists (still) want to
influence society or feel it is their duty to inform people as to enable them to work for a
better society, or at least to avoid a development towards injustice, fraud, or social
rupture. So their motives can be described as to be more or less idealistic. This idealism
is not so dominant any more with younger journalists. They feel it is an exciting job, they
are close to influential people and can experience recent developments when they
happen, and can earn (still: quite good) money by at the same time having the
possibility to express themselves.

The dominance of well-educated people (nowadays, in contrast to the time before the
70s) and the close relationship to influential people leads, to a certain extent, to a feeling
of elitism. Journalists think of themselves as taking part in the society’s elite group. They
are often given respect to (even by politicians or business people), and are to some
extend conditioned by this fact.

So, after the first research, we have the feeling that this CLAN also might also not be
very simple to handle. However, they considered us to be somewhat peers, belonging to
a university and working in an international project.

The older news journalists are in majority men (about 70 to 30 %), whereas among the
younger ones the women are in majority (with almost reverse numbers: 65 to 45 %).

According to other sociological factors like religious preferences and so on, our CLAN fits
almost perfectly to German society – with one exception that, again, deals with the
reasons this profession can take part in our CLAN: They have significantly fewer children

then is the (even low) average in Germany. They explain the fact that they don’t have
many children as a result of the requirements of their profession.

However, they don’t suffer too much from their working times as this is compensated by
the feeling of being important – besides, other CLANS of people that are apparently
important have similar working hours, such as politicians, businessmen, those working in
the theatre, and so on. In addition, their peer group consists of other journalists. A
journalist, asked whether she suffers from her working times, answered significantly: “No
paradise without snakes”.

So they have limited chances to take part in social, cultural, or religious activities. Only
less then one in ten finds time to go to church regularly. They, with very few exceptions,
don’t work voluntarily on social issues but report on other people’s social activities and
thus can calm their social responsibility feelings; the exception is for example a male
television journalist who is married to a woman from another country and who now is
working for a project to integrate foreigners in German society. The only activity that is
somewhat regularly carried out is the visit of cinemas and theatres as this does not need
a regular commitment but can be done when time allows. Besides, those working in and
for the media (as do our news journalists) define themselves as taking part in the
cultural establishment.

This, however, was obviously the main reason why news journalists quite easily agreed in
taking part in our project. We were able to make them feel appreciated, they felt an
international project was somewhat adequate to them. So actually we had the feeling it
was social reasons why they were interested, or simply curiosity, and not so much need.
They feel they already know and enjoy, through their profession, their political and social

News journalists have the chance to take part in training activities that are offered by
their employers, the news papers and the radio and tv stations (with the exception of the
journalists that work for one privately owned radio station that obviously does not offer
any training, and the exception of one journalist working in online journalism, who,
however, is still quite young). The training activities offered by the newspapers and the
radio and tv stations only aim at professional training. The interviewees seem to prefer
such training with new software or other kind of training in media competence, to other
subjects like political or sociological training (that is, training skills rather than getting
new information, which, they say, they get anyhow when taking their job seriously).

No news journalist we asked had participated in institutionalized vocational training
within the last three years, not even in language classes.

We asked for necessities in the cultural or social field but got answers that are very
disparate. This disparity, however, does obviously not correspond to nor is related to
gender, age, or the motives (described above) on why they wanted to become
journalists. Thus it can be concluded that our CLAN consists of very individualized
members. The only tendency is that the majority obviously prefers training activities in
the cultural context to those in the social one. This, of course, is another hint for their
individuality, and also, maybe, for the working conditions that don’t allow a regular
commitment that seems to be necessary in social themes. – The interests reach from
literature to painting, sculpturing, interest in the world’s cultures, travelling, languages,
and so on.

Methodologically, they (of course) do know traditional education but also new and
innovative methods, like emotional, social, or media-based learning. In general, they
seem to prefer ‘non scholarly’ didactics. As they work all day long with their computers, a
surprisingly high number doesn’t seem to be very interested in learning with this medium
– they anyhow have to use it during their working hours, but they don’t seem to be very
keen on using it in their spare time, too. They are not ideologically or so against
computers, in contrary, and most have already some experiences in e-learning, but they
prefer doing something tangible. This begins with reading and ends with doing something
themselves; maybe that is one reason why painting or sculpturing is so popular with

Seminars and conferences remind them to their work and thus are also not much
appreciated. However, as with media-based learning, they are not strictly opposed either.

When we described the projects aims to them, they also agreed in working with
computers. What convinced them was the ‘anytime, anywhere’ possibilities that go with
media-based learning.

They already use the internet regularly for professional as well as for private reasons. All
say they use the internet their whole working time (usually eight hours a day), plus in
spare time. They say using the internet is always learning.

Indeed, when asked, most of them also had experiences with computer games – but the
play quite infrequently and obviously very seldom in comparison with the first CLAN we
contacted, the lorry drivers. Almost all of them work with or take part in blogs, chats,

forums, again as well in work context as at home. All in all, it can be concluded that
effective training experiences do exist.

Finally, in spite of the remark that work with this CLAN might not be easy, too, we’d like
to express that during the interviews, literally all of the persons asked were very friendly,
open-minded, well-educated and interested in our work. Each individual was convincing,
even charming. So all in all, we’re looking forward to working with this CLAN in the
context of this project.

4. Analysis of the work schedules, of the barriers linked to life and work
schedules and analysis of social obstacles in participating in activities that take
place during working hours

Work schedules are determined (a.) by airing time or time of print, respectively, and (b.)
by the times when events take place - most times regardless of (a.), as important events
have to be covered all time, or for the following issue or journal. Thus work schedules
almost do not exist.

Regarding social obstacles, our interviews indicate results that seem to be almost
opposite than might be imagined or that probably appear in the context of other CLANs:
News journalists are very proud of their profession. Their job thus is of a very high
importance to them. So it seems to be exactly their social self esteem that is the major
obstacle for participation in activities that take place not only during working hours, but
in general - you never know what might happen, you have to be prepared for reporting
almost under all circumstances, almost all the time, especially if you are of a certain
importance in this professional field. (On the other side, if you don't act that way, you
might soon lose your contract as this is a highly attractive field with a lot of competition).
Anyhow, the result is that this attitude - 'being on the job almost all the time' - is very
quickly and very deeply internalized. Thus news journalists don't seem to have social or
financial obstacles but the obstacle is their attitude, resulting out of the feeling of being
of social importance. The result leads (we hope we don't have to experience this too
intensely) to a general behaviour that includes the rejection of accepting fixed and
regular events not only during working hours, but generally.

5. Training activities carried out in one's own professional category

Almost all news journalists have participated in training activities concerning media
competence, especially in regard of new software, and so on. The radio and tv journalists
have also to a large extent participated in rhetorical or phonetical training. Only
surprisingly few (most probably out of the reasons described above) did participate in
training focussing on other contents connected with their profession, such as seminars on
political ideas or developments, citizenship, and so on. Training thus is very much
reduced to skill training, and not so much on new contents.

6. Expressed training needs

Contrary to the self esteem described above, and the importance they give to their job,
many of them suffer from the fact that they always 'have to be prepared' and can't
'switch off' at leisure periods. When asked in in-depth interviews they admit that they
sometimes are longing for spare time that enables them to just express creativity, like
painting, reading, and so on. They sometimes simply don't want to be prepared to be
'effective all the time'.

7. Instruments employed and innovations introduced in the training

As the news journalists almost entirely don't participate in training other than those
activities that are carried out in their professional field (media and software competence),
which mostly is a traditional, behaviourist training. However, they also know other
training methods but their attitude is a bit bi-polar: On the one side, they prefer them as
they are convenient, but they might also have the danger of being 'ineffective'. Thus the
first task (and obstacle) will be to present innovative training methods, for example
constructivist methods, and fight their scepticism and their fears of ‘ineffectiveness’.

8. Informal and formal training

Most news journalists say that their profession is almost entirely to be considered as
informal training, and I'd agree. Their profession is described not (or only very vaguely)
by a specific content, but by their task to transfer all different kind of content via media

to people. Thus they have to learn new things, new developments, and new contents
every day.

It is, of course, exhausting to have to learn always, all day, which, again, might be an
obstacle to our project.

We thus have obstacles of different kind:

high self-esteem --> we don't need much training (with the exception of maybe media
and especially software competence
highly unstructured working hours --> we don't have the time and if we'd have it we just
want to relax.
On the other side, they chose their profession because they consider themselves to be
curious, interested in a lot of things, and in need of better (or at least freer) expressing
their creativity.

9. What ICT instruments can make up for difficulties encountered in

participating in training activities

ICT instruments don't seem to be a problem as our CLAN is well-educated, earns

sufficient of money and thus is well-equipped. An obstacle might be that they work with
ICT instruments all day and thus might avoid them concerning leisure activities and

10. Best practices about training activities that involve adults and take into
consideration the opportunities to reconcile work and training schedules


RESEARCH PROMOTION”, an institution established jointly by the Federal Ministry of
Science and Education, and the Ministries of the Länder (the German federal states),
were also searching for and supporting projects in the context of life-long learning. Thus,
it seems to be obvious to refer to projects praised in this context.

Example 1: De-centralised adult education network

ELLA means „Entwicklung, Erprobung und Umsetzung neuer Lehr- und Lernarrangements
in der politischen Bildung“ (literally: to try out and to implement new teaching and
learning methods in political education). The project is located in the East German Land

of Thuringia. Before the teaching actually begun, it tried to look for all institutions that
work in that field. ELLA contacted all of them and developed a de-centralised curriculum:
Every institution organises the contents of its core competences. For example, one
partner was Thuringia’s media agency that, of course, supplied modules on media
education. Other partners are, for example, the union’s as well as the employer’s
association’s educational section, the churches, the university’s political department and
so on. Obviously, the plan was difficult, as there is a competition in the field of adult
education, there is a lot of envy, and so on. A similar project in another East German
region, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, out of this reason does not exist any more. In the
Thuringia case, however, the idea was implemented successfully and it could be shown
that networks can be more effective than single adult education providers.

Example 2: Learning across generations

One the one side, people in Germany become older. On the other side, traditional family
structures become rare. Especially in big cities, people often live individualised. So the
flow of experience that was typical for traditional societies has somewhat stopped. A
project in Hamburg focussed on this dilemma. It organised older (elder) people to come
together and to write down stories about their lives. Then these stories were to be told to
younger people, in co-operation with schools, where of course history classes were
involved. Sometimes the older citizens walked with the younger ones through the city,
and explained the differences of their lives and today. So the olders had a new sense
(meaning) in life, and their experiences were not lost.

Example 3: Cross-border education in language, politics and society

Sprachnetzwerke (literally: language networks) is a projects with a quite simple, yet
seldom tried-out philosophy. It assumes that every person is an expert in his/her native
language. Language acquisition, on the other hand, is more effective and interesting
when you don’t only learn grammar or phonetics but speak with real people and learn
about their lives, their societies, and so on. In today’s Germany, there live many people
from different nations who want to learn German, and many Germans who want to learn
English, French, Italian, Russian and so on. So the projects brings together these two
groups. To enable everyone to speak in the language he/she wants to learn, languages
are changed weekly – for example: one week German, next week French, and so on. Two
meetings are dedicated to one inter-culturally comparable theme, so the first week,
Germans present their vision on it, the next week, the French. On example: One week

they speak on the German ICE train, next week on the French TGV. They discuss why
French techniques are better, French trains are faster – and German trains are more
roomy, or the cuisine in German trains is better than in French ones (supposed to be the
land of good cooking). So every theme leads to discussions on society, politics, semiotics,
culture, and so on. – Of course, a language teacher has to take part in order to correct
obvious mistakes, but he/she acts not as a traditional teacher, but as a mediator. – In big
cities, so-called ‘tandem classes’ depend on a sufficient number of learners from both
cultures. In border regions, classes are organised from both countries, for example from
Germany and France