Christine Kearney wins 2022 JERAA Award for Outstanding Teaching in a Journalism Program



Christine Kearney, a lecturer in digital journalism at the University of Technology Sydney, has won the 2022 JERAA Outstanding Teaching Award in a Journalism Program.

Christine’s entry focussed on a work integrated learning project she founded and facilitated between UTS and SBS News. UTS Students pitched, reported and produced a Summer Series of Multimedia Feature stories. These were published in 2021-2022, and students were given the opportunity to experience integration into newsroom practices and were paid at standard journalist rates.

The project began in 2020 and was inspired by journalism academic discussions on the importance and growth of multimedia storytelling, as well as calls for more diversity inclusion in storytelling from the SBS charter, academic and not-for-profit media groups such as Media Diversity Australia, to better reflect the diverse landscape of communities and individuals in Australia.

In 2022, the project took up the banner of using ‘constructive journalism’ as a news philosophy and practice, as heralded by researchers such as Ulrik Haagerup.

“The 2022 series of feature stories addressed problems including women underpaid in professional sport, youth and refugee unemployment, teen pregnancy and female Muslim stereotyping, by turning the focus and tone toward positive and constructive storytelling,” Christine wrote.

The award attracts a $2000 prize. Christine has proposed to use the bulk of the prizemoney to support the project’s next delivery.

The 2022 JERAA teaching award was judged by Professor Trevor Cullen, Associate Professor Andrew Dodd and Dr Caroline Graham.

They selected Christine’s entry for its “innovative and constructive, solutions-focussed storytelling that has real outcomes for real audiences”.

They noted that “the partnership with SBS offered students valuable links with industry, an authentic learning experience and a published outcome for their portfolio. The program was well managed, well supported, grounded in the curriculum and passionately championed. Most importantly, it inspired students to create industry-standard work.”

The judges also wish to acknowledge the submissions by Rosanna Natoli (University of the Sunshine Coast) and T.J. Thomson (Queensland University of Technology) as highly commended.

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