Journalism training throughout North America and Western Europe is based essentially on the same general principles of press freedom, truth and professional integrity. However, these seemingly unambiguous principles are subject to many shades of interpretation that have grown out of different legal systems, cultural traditions, social needs and economic circumstances. In general terms, all the countries in this group are "Western democracies." They espouse democratic principles and, to a greater or lesser extent, believe that a free press is part of the democratic process. Their media are mostly financed by some form of advertising, but, in several countries, political affiliations and subsidies from political parties or governments are considered normal. Communication training varies considerably within this group, with each national system located somewhere along a continuum between on-the-job skills training on one end and communications-oriented university-based media studies on the other.
Formal journalism training did not emerge in the United Kingdom until well after World War II, although some earlier attempts to introduce university-level training were made during the interwar period. At this time, between 1919 and 1939, London University offered a two-year