The pedagogy of the UniPollWatch pop-up journalism project
School of Arts and Humanities
The journalism schools at 28 Australian universities joined forces to provide coverage of the 2016 federal election. The UniPollWatch (UPW) 2016 project was the biggest collaborative university journalism project ever undertaken in Australia. UPW reflects several trends in journalism education. It exemplifies teamwork and embodies the most authentic aspects of experiential learning and industry engagement. In so doing, it boldly asserts that the academy and journalism schools can—and should—provide high quality reportage for the benefit of general audiences. While UPW first set out to provide a ‘teaching hospital’ style venue for real world publication of student work, its pop-up online nature imbued it with potential to meet the aims of more recent best practice models of journalism education. The participating universities were free to decide how they engaged their students with the project, what content they wanted to create for it and how they wanted to prepare and debrief their students. Some offered it as a voluntary extra-curricular activity, while others embedded it in courses and made the work compulsory and assessed, some used it as a minor assessment and others dedicated whole units to it. This article details the variety of teaching methods employed by the different participating universities, using a framework of the pedagogical models applied to contemporary journalism education.