Tag Archives: journalism education

Techniques and challenges of new models for journalism: The Undercurrent

By MARK PEARSON

As legacy media outlets grapple with the challenges of retaining and engaging their audiences, new media entrepreneurs experiment with new forms of journalism and novel ways of winning funding.

My guest this week in our Introduction to Journalism class was Jen Dainer, Head Writer and Co-Producer at The Undercurrent
[Twitter: @TheUCNews | @jendainer ] who has developed with co-founder Dan Graetz a new model of satirical advocacy journalism drawing upon their considerable creativity, skill base, and life and work experience.

Our interview spanned a range of topics including Jen’s own background, the objectives of The Undercurrent, how it differs from other news and current affairs products, the importance of impeccable research in avoiding legal action, and how they plan to gain traction and financial support.

You can view the interview here:

[Aug 4, 2015 / 26 mins. Camera work: Bevan Bache ]

Please contact Jen Dainer direct @jendainer / jen@theundercurrent.com if you would like to be involved in the project or support it in some way.

© Mark Pearson 2015

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Benefits of using Twitter from Day One in a news writing class

By MARK PEARSON

Almost 30 years ago my first colleague in journalism education – the late Charles Stuart – summarised the curriculum of a journalism degree.

“In the first year you teach them how to write an intro (lead),” he said.

“In year two you teach them how to write the body of the story.

“And in their final year you revise the intro.”

While Charles’ advice was delivered tongue in cheek, he certainly hit upon one of the greatest challenges facing students of basic news reporting – how to sum up the key elements of a story in an interesting way in just a few words.

I recalled that conversation as I set the in-class exercises for my Introduction to Journalism tutorials this week and turned to Twitter to help out.

Twitter has its pluses and minuses as a social medium, but there is no doubting its value as a platform for clear and concise expression.

Its 140 character format equates to 20-22 words and thus it lends itself to an exercise where students can try their hand at a basic news lead.

Our 300 first year students were prepped on the basics in their lecture and briefed on the importance of Twitter in modern day journalism as a means of communication with colleagues and sources, finding useful news angles, and in accessing contacts and basic information when a news event unfolds.

We decided the course code #1508HUM made a suitable class hashtag and assigned students to live tweet the lecture to reinforce its value.

As an example of an effective use of Twitter in journalism I showed them the Twitter feed from ABC PM presenter Mark Colvin’s to the 85,000 followers of his @Colvinius handle and explained that it was a badge of honour for Twitter users if Colvinius ever retweeted your tweets.

One of my live tweeters approached me in the lecture break to show me his dialogue with @Colvinius during my class.

Quite a coup. Clearly Jake gets it. (BTW, thanks @Colvinius).

Students who did not have Twitter accounts signed up for them prior to the tute and we started the session with an exercise requiring students to interview a classmate and introduce them to the group by spelling their name very clearly and stating an interesting fact about them.

We then talked about news values and what might make news for a campus community.

We embarked on our Twitter news hunt, wandering the campus in search of stories using our five normal senses plus the students’ evolving “news sense”.

Some of the stories came from noticeboards, although I explained a journalist would call to verify any information found there.

Others were based on interesting happenings around the campus during our 20 minute walk, including a cheerleader squad practice, an interview with a student events officer, and an array of photos and interviews from the student clubs sign-on stalls.

The exercise has the following benefits:

  • It teaches students the art of summing up a story in just a few words in an era when the attention span of news audiences is just a few seconds.
  • It introduces them to one use of social media in modern journalism.
  • It allows students to experiment with multi-media reportage if they attach photos, sound or vision.
  • It allows debate over the news value of campus-based stories.
  • And it does all of this within the comfort of a hashtag that allows them to experience publishing their first news story that technically all the world can see while in reality very few people other than their peers and tutors will actually view it.

You can see some highlights below, or even visit the #1508HUM hashtag if you are really interested.

I’d certainly recommend such an exercise to colleagues not already doing something similar in their first news writing classes.

© Mark Pearson 2015

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Accuracy, independence and impartiality – Kellie Riordan #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Kellie Riordan reported to the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia’s conference in Sydney on her recent report on how legacy media and digital natives approach ethical standards in the digital age.

ABC's Kellie Riordan addressing the JERAA conference on her research into digital and legacy media ethics

ABC’s Kellie Riordan addressing the JERAA conference on her research into digital and legacy media ethics

She recently served as a fellow at the Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism where she looked at three traditional and three new media providers and their ethical standards and approaches.

Riordan noted a shift in the notion of accuracy.

“Now we are equally looking to journalists to tell us what is not true, and the best example is the BBC’s User Generated Content Hub,” she said.

It was set up to debunk myths, and originated with the myth that there was a power surge in the London Underground when in fact the London bombings had occurred.

She also identified corrections were now being issued that were much more open and honest and developed brand trust. These were done particularly well by digital media.

“Traditionally newsrooms have been closed organisations and we haven’t let the public in on how we came to decisions,” she said.

She showed an example from the digital outlet Grantland which gave an extensive debriefing on how they came to an editorial decision when they got something wrong.

Riordan profiled The Quartz qz.com site which does not subscribe to impartiality as a standard but boast about their transparency and honesty with their audience.

On the issue of independence, she gave several examples of advertorials in some outlets that were not necessarily flagged as paid content on search engines.

She cited Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith arguing that audiences were already quite literate about different types of sponsored content on the Internet, whereas others felt the journalism brand required the disclosure of advertising.

She found a range of views across new media on the issue of impartiality and that Quartz advocated an ‘evidence driven, facts based’ style of journalism.

User generated content, interaction with audiences and more extensive use of hyperlinks for attribution were important developments to improve accountability and transparency, she said.

Riordan concluded by calling for greater transparency, more open forms of journalism, and ‘a voice that is of the web driven by reporters rather than news brands’.

She suggested digital tools like hyperlinks, context for corrections, more voices and transparency would add to accountability.

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Journalism privileges and accountability in the digital age – Denis Muller #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

The digital age has increased both possibilities and risks for journalism, according to media ethicist Dr Denis Muller from the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.

Denis Muller addresses the JERAA conference on the legitimacy of journalism

Denis Muller addresses the JERAA conference on the legitimacy of journalism

Muller was addressing the privileges, legitimacy and accountability of journalism at the annual conference of the Journalism Education and Research Association in Sydney.

He said the types of privilege offered to journalism were access to powerful people, places to observe events, and certain legal protections, however the digital revolution had made the privileges for those from big media inadequate for others like bloggers.

“This is a narrow and increasingly irrelevant basis for conferring legitimacy,” he said.

“Legitimacy of the journalistic function has more important bases than this.”

He said legitimacy of journalism as a function in a democracy is grounded in a combination of rights and socio-political necessity.

Journalism had a contrctual relationship with the community based on factual and constextual reliability, impartiality, separation of fact from comment and provision of a “bedrock of trustworthy information”.

The legitimacy of the journalistic function rests on the indispensability of its function, its capacity to animate free speech and the keeping of its promises,” Dr Muller said.

He highlighted privileges at law under the Commonwealth Privacy Act and State Shield laws – contingent on media organisations being signed up to an accountability mechanism.

Others not contingent on such accountability were the privileges under the Australian Consumer Law and the Commonwealth shield laws.

The latter protected anyone providing news to the public, seemingly including bloggers and others reporting news.

He reviewed the regulatory recommendations of the Finkelstein Review, the Convergence Review and the Leveson Inquiry and explained there was no accountability mechanism for journalists outside of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance sanctions for its members breaching its Code of Ethics.

He said he had worked with colleague Dr Judith Townend from City University London’s Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism comparing the suggested accountability mechanisms for the Australian news media.

They argued for

  • access to incentives in the form of privileges,
  • contingent on signing up to accountability mechanism,
  • and that this mechanism be open to all who practise journalism.

The first step was the creation of a consensual set of ethical standards – professional norms and standards, they argued.

“News organisations should take a ‘get in’ rather than a ‘get you’ approach,” he said.

 

 

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On the Crisis in Journalism – Barbie Zelizer #jeraa2014 live blog

LIVE BLOG

By MARK PEARSON

Raymond Williams Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Dr Barbie Zelizer took issue with the framing of a ‘crisis of journalism’ for her keynote address to the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia conference in Sydney today (November 25).

zelizer

Professor Barbie Zelizer addresses the 2014 JERAA conference

 

She said notion of a crisis in journalism was a culturally determined phenomenon anchored in the Enlightenment.

She drew on definitions of crisis as disruption, suddenness, loss, urgency and helplessness.

The label of ‘crisis’ could change murky developments into a manageable phenomenon.

“Crisis is a temporarily defined moment,” she said. “Crisis is identifiable, finite, something that can be grasped, treated and controlled. It gives us a sense of closure.

“By offering us closure, concreteness and coherency, crisis offers us certainty and control.”

“As an institution journalism has always had an affinity with a certain kind of modernity,” she said.

“It was born of a particular time and place.”

She argued the discipline of journalism studies developed because it needed to challenge traditional narratives of journalism.

There was a reliance on a modern Anglo-American mindset and crisis offered a way out of murky, out of control challenges.

The gravitation to ‘crisis’ followed a pattern of how journalism had traditionally talked about itself.

“Across the board we hear that journalism is over. What’s different about today is that durability is no longer assured.”

She asked whether journalism’s mass audience ever as mass as assumed and whether there had ever had been agreement about what journalism is or is for.

Earlier points in time such as the development of radio, the wire photo and television presented challenges and disagreements.

“There is value in both rupture and in continuity,” she said.

These narratives see crisis as resolvable or apocalyptic.

“All of this is a long way of saying today’s journalistic environments are contingent and diverse,” she said.

“Uncertainty rules in institutional settings, generally without us being aware of it.”

She concluded by suggesting:

1. We assume the centrality of crisis but rarely find data to support it;

2. We identify various nodes supporting the technological determination of the crisis frame; and

3. We assume an overturning of value – what was once seen as central (the newspaper, objectivity) is now seen as toxic.

“Uncertainty is ours to live with not to control or eradicate,” she said.

“The question remains whether uncertainty can ever end in a landscape that is institutionally driven.”

She concluded with a quote from T.S. Eliot: “If you aren’t in over your head how do you know how tall you are?”

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Presenting the best of @Griffith_Uni student news blogs

By MARK PEARSON

THE greatest reward for a teacher at any level of education is in celebrating your students’ successes. Colleague Mic Smith and I did this today as we announced the winners of various awards to our students in the course Online News Production, where students were assigned to create multimedia news content and post them to their own news blogs.

I hope you agree as you browse the winners’ work that there are some outstanding examples of multimedia journalism and social media engagement here across a host of topics.

Congratulations students on aiming for excellence … and achieving it!

Cheers,

Mark (@journlaw)

NathanWinners2014

Brisbane students of Griffith University celebrate their Online News Production Golden Mouse Awards for excellence in news blogs. Photo: Jimmy Wall

GCwinners2014-2

Gold Coast Griffith University students proudly display their Golden Mouse awards for excellence in news blogging. Photo: Kirsty Schmitt

Golden Mouse Awards 2014 – Brisbane 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.37.11 PMErin Maclean

Lady Game Bug

http://ladygamebug.wordpress.com/

 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.38.37 PMNatasha Hoppner

‘Police say vested interests will prevent power abuse’

B4G20 blog

http://b4g20.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/84/

 

Golden Mouse Awards – Gold Coast

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.42.41 PMPaul Eyers, James Laidler and Tom Mann

Waterways News Gold Coast

http://waterwaysnewsgoldcoast.wordpress.com/about/

 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.44.21 PMDanielle Laing

‘Food safety, fraud and what it means for organic farming in China’

Organic in China blog

http://organicinchina.tumblr.com/post/98375795557/food-safety-fraud-and-what-it-means-for-organic

 

Other category finalists and winners (Brisbane)

Best education or arts blog finalists

A Reel Film Focus http://areelfilmfocus.wordpress.com/

Jordan Towning, Jane Orme, Joshua Wells, Riley Jackson

Best education or arts blog winner

 Art Student Q : artstudentq.wordpress.com

Tara Ingham

Best human rights / international blog

Tamara Sydenham and Gabrielle Smith

Brisbane Universities Amnesty International Clubs

http://brisuniamnesty.wordpress.com/

Best community blog

Emma McCluney

Ambush the Airwaves

http://communityradiocompanion.wordpress.com/

Most mindful blog on social issues finalist

Jimmy Wall

Fork: Privacy and Cryptography News http://fork.dokterw.me/

 Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Christopher Da Silva and Tim Noyes (NA)

Hard Core Truth Australia

http://hardcoretruthaustralia.wordpress.com/

 Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog

Audrey Courty

Indigenous Pulse
http://
indigenouspulse.wordpress.com

Best mental health blog finalist

Daniel Conaghan: A Different Perspective

http://dcmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Best mental health blog winner

Talkin‘ About Mental Health 

http://talkinaboutmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Krystal Gordon and Rachel Harding

Best sports blog

Nickolas Feldon and Jonathan Najarro

Round 13

www.13thround.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog finalist

Amy Mitchell-Whittington: Fishes for Thought

fishesforthought.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Simon Graham: Returning Cuckoo

http://returningcuckoo.wordpress.com/

 

Finalists and winners (Gold Coast)

Best education or arts blog finalists

Lydia Collins Donlon – Chasing Swell – http://chasingswell.wordpress.com/

Phil Kimmins Ubud Letters – ubudletters.com

 Kirsty Schmitt – Educating Alice- http://educatingalice.wordpress.com

 Best education or arts blog winner

 Janis Hanley

Digital storytelling for learning

https://digitalstorytellingforlearning.wordpress.com

Best human rights / international blog finalists

Gold Coast Refugee Australia

 http://goldcoastrefugee.wordpress.com

Pratsiri Setthapong

Best human rights / international blog winner

Africa: The Real Picture

Ruth Goodwin, Uduakobong Etukudo, Ohimai Longe

http://africatherealpicture.wordpress.com/

Best community blog finalist

Sophie Wood 

Do Good Brisbane

dogoodbrisbane.wordpress.com

Best community blog winners

Gabrielle Quinn and Jayde Austin

The Hidden Wonders

thehiddenwonders.squarespace.com/home

Most mindful blog on social issues finalists

Maleika Halpin: appleadayblog.com

Courtney Kelly  and Daphne Maresca: http://boundbyculture.wordpress.com/

Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Samuel Turner:

What are the Odds: Gambling in Australia

http://gamblinginaustralia.wordpress.com/

Best multicultural or indigenous issues finalists

Courtney Kelly – Bound By Culture –  http://boundbyculture.wordpress.com/

Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog winner

Kaylene Lawson

Street Culture

www.stculture.com

Best health, nutrition and fitness blog

Jessica O’Donnell

Healthy Mind and Body

http://healthymindandbodyblog.com/

Best mental health blog finalists

Sarra Davis – Sincerely Sarra http://www.sincerelysarra.wix.com/sincerelysarra  

Crystal-Rose Fleming- Youthful Health – http://youthfulhealth.wordpress.com/

Best mental health blog winners

Jo-Anne Wormald and Emma Lasker (GC)

Golden Oldies News

www.goldenoldienews.wordpress.com

Best sports blog finalists

Brooke Dalton and Alexandra Purser

SEQ Sports Report

http://seqsportsreport.wordpress.com 

Best sports blog winner

Mathilda Andersson

The Sunny Side of Hockey

http://www.thesunnysideofhockey.wordpress.com

Best nature, science or environment blog finalists

Bjorg Hildrum Saltveit and Tone Skredderbakken

UniUniverse

http://uniuniverse.wordpress.com 

Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Kelly Campbell

Plastic For Fence Sitters
http://kellyanncampbellwp.wordpress.com/

Best fashion or lifestyle finalist

Gabriella Ruiz

Brisbane Fashion Bloom

http://brisbanefashionbloom.wordpress.com/

Best fashion or lifestyle winner

Casey Brown

The Fashion Connection 2014

http://thefashionconnection2014.wordpress.com/

———–

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

1 Comment

Filed under blogging, citizen journalism, journalism, journalism education, media ethics, social media, Uncategorized

Blended learning and instructional scaffolding in a Media Law course

By MARK PEARSON

I’m thoroughly enjoying a revitalised enthusiasm for my media law teaching thanks to the Blended Learning team at Griffith University.

I’ve recently been a student in an Online Course Development course run by expert faculty in my Arts, Education and Law group and have been keenly trying to build the various blended learning strategies into the Blackboard interface for both the on-campus and Open Universities Australia versions of my Media Law course.

The Media Law course’s pedagogy and assessment tasks are built around both problem-based learning and instructional scaffolding.

It is module-based, with each module’s integrated learning tools and materials contained in the Course Content area (see screen capture).

The Course Content part of the Learning@Griffith site for the Media Law course

The Course Content part of the Learning@Griffith site for the Media Law course

The modules are designed so that students progressively learn the material and work towards their assessment as the semester unfolds, whether they are studying on-campus or online, or via a combination of the two (‘blended learning’).

They are aware that their learning tasks each week feed directly into their end of semester examination, which is essentially requires them to demonstrate summatively their skills and understandings they have already been workshopping in a formative sense throughout the semester.

Each week’s problem is centred upon the module’s readings (including a textbook chapter) and other learning activities, including lectures, short video introductions to each module, tutorials, video interviews of 10-15 mins with an expert ‘guest of the week’, and  discussion board and social media engagement. [Some of these techniques I have also refined through my recent  enrolment in ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ offered by Coursera and Canvas.]

The instructional scaffolding approach to assessment links attendance and online participation with assessment items that relate directly to those activities.

For example, students complete Weekly Learning Reflections about the media law problem of the week (submitted and assessed twice in the semester as collated portfolios). These then form the basis of questions in students’ end of semester examination and their written preparation for their weekly learning problem rubrics become their actual study notes for their open-book final exam. This leads to a purposive approach to student weekly readings and other learning tasks, aimed to enrich their learning through its focus on a problem and an ultimate assessment reward.

Similarly, students complete a short multiple choice online quiz at the end of each learning module – which is at that stage non-assessable (formative) and is only available for a two week period after that module has ended. They know their final end of semester summative multiple choice quiz will later be drawn from the pool of these very questions, rewarding students who have completed their reading and undertaken the formative assessment along the way.

Do you have other techniques you have been using effectively in teaching media law? Please let me know via the Comments section here or via Twitter at @journlaw.

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media regulation, Uncategorized