2015 Conference Archive

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2015 JERAA Conference

The 2015 JERAA Conference was hosted by Charles Sturt University in Bathurst from 30 November to 2 December, marking our organisation's 40th anniversary.

JERAA president Matthew Ricketson and association founder David Potts OAM cut the 40th anniversary cake

Thirteen journalism educators from across Australia met in December 1975 at the Mitchell College of Advanced Education, Bathurst, to form their own association. Initially, this organisation was known as the Australian Association for Tertiary Education in Journalism (AATEJ). The name was changed in 1980 to the Journalism Education Association (JEA), then in 2009 to the Journalism Education Association of Australia (JEAA). Following a vote from members, the name was officially changed again on 1 August 2014 to the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA).

Founding members and past and current presidents: (l-r) Mark Pearson, Stephen Tanner, Roger Patching, Lynette Sheridan Burns, Don Woolford, Rod Kirkpatrick, Matthew Ricketson and David Potts.

Contemporary JERAA Conferences bear little similarity to those of the AATEJ. JERAA Life Member Roger Patching notes that annual AATEJ conferences usually devoted less than a day to formal papers. Those papers concentrated on exchanging information about curricula, assignments, and relations with academics from other areas of study. Relationships with journalism employers, the Australian Journalists' Association and the profession were also on the agenda; as were exchanges of information about how to create a balance between theory and practice in journalism education.

The remainder of the conference was taken up by the annual meeting at which the contemporary issues of journalism education – often described in "reports" – were discussed at length. Assoc Prof Patching notes that the lengthy time dedicated to these discussions was due in part the differences among the courses. Speakers often gave detailed explanations about the structures and contents of their courses so that their reports could be understood by other members.


The 2015 JERAA Conference, held at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, considered the theme Dangerous Journalism: as journalism seeks to define itself within the information milieu, it can be increasingly associated with danger. Whether in unstable political environments, hostile legal environments or through financial risk, journalism is re-emerging as a practice that is defined by the threats that shape its substance. Conversely, journalism must continue to distinguish itself from bias, including the menace of what is termed ‘brand journalism’ and such other trends as ‘native advertising’. The conference program is available for download.

Keynote Speaker, Guardian Middle East correspondent Martin Chulov. Chulov, who had won the Orwell Prize for Journalism in May 2015 was named 2015 Foreign Press Association  correspondent of the year just days before the JERAA conference.

In recognition of JERAA’s 40th anniversary, papers a 40th anniversary panel of educators from the inaugural 1975 meeting and later association presidents was held with speakers reflecting on the association's history in regards to representation, the relationship between journalism education and industry, the role of the association in the development of research, gender and structure.

Three of the original 1975 gathering of journalism educators: founder, David Potts OAM; Don Woolford and Rod Kirkpatrick.

The social highlight was the conference dinner and Ossie Awards at historic Abercrombie House

Photos: Tim Crutchett



40th Anniversary Conference

November 30 to December 2 2015

The School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University