Australian first student national election TV broadcast

By Alex Wake, JERAA


Students enrolled in journalism programs around Australia are working on the first national student election broadcast for the 2019 election, underpinned by a generous contribution from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Academics from more than 20 universities – many of them also seasoned journalists – are guiding students in their coverage of the national election with stories on targeted electorates being published on The Junction.

Student reporters are also preparing for a live television program, Election 2019, broadcast on Melbourne-based community TV station Channel 31 from 6 pm (AEST) on May 18. The TV program will be relayed to Adelaide and Perth, as well as CBAA’s network of radio stations.

Their stories and pre-election training materials are also being livestreamed via The Junction’s facebook page.

The Junction is a project of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

President Dr Alex Wake said the project showed the collegiality of Australian journalism academics.

“JERAA’s number one aim is to raise the standard of teaching in journalism in Australia, and what better way to teach students than by producing important stories in a live-to-air format for television and online.”

The program will be hosted by two students, Rachael Merritt from RMIT University and Ari Balle-Bowness from Griffith University, alongside experienced television guest commentators Paul Strangio and Mary Delahunty.

The television producers and crew are also students, working under the guidance of experienced production staff in RMIT’s studios in Melbourne.

Student training materials have been prepared with the assistance of high profile Australian and international political journalists including Barrie Cassidy, Patricia Karvelas, Madeleine Morris , Sarah Jaensch, Ashlynne McGhee and Kyle Pope (Columbia Journalism Review).

The 2019 broadcast and training materials have been boosted by a generous contribution from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

JNI Board Member Mark Ryan said the JERAA Australia Votes project was a good example of the kind of collaboration the Institute was keen to pursue.

“It’s early days for JNI but we want to work with media organisations of all kinds and encourage journalists of the future too.

“This project is a great way for us to support and connect with some of Australia’s most respected journalism educators and their students.

“It’s a creative and very practical exercise that will develop skills and build experience for young reporters.”

This national election project builds on the success of the 2018 Victoria Votes television program, and the 2015 Uni Poll Watch initiative.

The Junction editor Ass Prof Andrew Dodd is overseeing the website coverage, while the television coverage is being led by Phil Kafcaloudes.

Ass Prof Dodd said, “The Junction allows university journalism schools in Australia and the Pacific to work together on all sorts of reporting projects.

“Our 2019 election coverage demonstrates how we collaborate to bring new perspectives to important topics for the benefit of  student reporters and public audiences.”

JERAA would like to thank each of the participating academics for their work on this project, particularly the editorial board for The Junction: Andrew Dodd, University of Melbourne;  Kayt Davies, Edith Cowan University;  Peter English, University of the Sunshine Coast; Colleen Murrell, Swinburne University;  Matthew Ricketson, Deakin University;  Margaret Van Heekeren, Sydney University; and  Phil Kafcaloudes, RMIT University:

The universities which have so far signed up to take part are featured here.

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