Tracking Onslow: Taking Journalism Out Of The Classroom And The Newsroom
Association for Journalism Education
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Commentary about shrinking newspaper workforces often conflates the financial woes facing the newspaper industry and the fate of journalism (Wake, 2013; Simons, 2013). While newspapers are clearly suffering, opportunities for best-practice journalism abound. This paper describes the application of a theory-based approach to finding authentic learning opportunities for students. The project created a new media product in a volatile setting lacking journalistic attention. It illustrates the value of taking a ‘first principles’ approach to planning journalism activities and describes groundwork for the project that can be emulated to create fertile ground for similar ventures. The project involves journalism students researching and publishing community perceptions of local issues in the remote town of Onslow, Western Australia. Challenges the students have encountered include PR spin and editorial pressure on press independence. This paper will describe the project, the pedagogy and the implications for journalism educators.