On World Press Freedom Day, the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) applauds those who champion freedom of expression and support media around the world.
Geoff Craig wins Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year Award 2017
Professor Geoff Craig, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand impressed the judging panel with his extensive research portforlio.
JERAA president Matthew Ricketson said: "The judges for the Anne Dunn scholar award this year were pleased by the continuing development of the breadth and depth of the entries. This is not only a fitting tribute to the lasting influence of Anne Dunn but demonstrates advances made in scholarly work in the field of communication and journalism”. Read more.
Deb Anderson awarded the 2017 JERAA grant
Dr Deb Anderson, School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash unversity has been awarded the 2017 JERRA research grant. Read more.
Student journalists denied access to Budget
The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) condemns the Federal Government’s decision to deny student media access to next week’s annual Federal Budget media lock up.
Student media have covered the budget for years, attending the media lock-up alongside mainstream news outlets. Some represent publications run by university Journalism schools while others are there for campus-based student publications.
JERAA President Professor Matthew Ricketson said “Covering the annual Federal Budget provides students with real-world reporting experience. It is invaluable preparation for anyone wanting a career in the news media”.
“Politicians and commentators are forever urging universities to tone down the theory and make their courses industry-relevant. Here are students wanting to do just that and they’ve been denied access. It’s dismaying, and annoying – for the students and for us as educators”.
Among those barred is SYN Media, a Melbourne youth-based organization that broadcasts an award winning political program each Saturday called Represent.
Budgets and elections are major calendar items for SYN's political program Represent and news and current affairs program Panorama. Student volunteers from the network have attended the budget lock-up in Canberra every year for at least the past three years.
Both programs are key training grounds for student journalists many of whom have gone on to careers in the nation’s major news outlets.
Represent also won the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Award - Excellence in Digital Media – 2015 for its Federal Budget Night coverage.
Journalism and other students are worried the denial of access might be linked to the federal government’s plans for the budget to cut university funding, increase the cost of programs to students, and change the payment threshold for HECs debts .
SYN Media received the news yesterday in an email from the Media Unit – Communications Division of Treasury that said: “Due to space restrictions the decision was made to limit the lock-up to professional news publications only – unfortunately, we do not have the capacity for the thousands of possible organisations and outlets that might like to attend."
Sources in the parliamentary press gallery told JERAA late yesterday this rationale was questionable as there were still places available to media outlets.
Professor Ricketson said JERAA had contacted Treasurer Scott Morrison’s media office to put the case for students and he was hopeful Treasury officials would overturn the decision to deny access in time for next Tuesday’s budget.
“The irony of this decision being made on the eve of World Press Freedom day is not lost on anyone connected with JERAA. It is a salutary reminder that the need for press freedom extends beyond the mainstream news media to community media and to the next generation of journalists now being trained”.
(JERAA President, on behalf of the Executive, May 2, 2017)
Australian Press Council and MEAA
Australian Press Council's chair David Weisbrot has also issued a statement for World Press Day which states in part: "“The Press Council notes with great dismay the Australian government’s decision to restrict access by student journalists and community media to its budget lock-up this year." The full Press Council's statement can be found here.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has issued The Chilling Effect: The Report into the State of Press Freedom in Australia in 2017.
World Press Freedom Day 2017
There never appears to be a shortage of reasons to call people’s attention to World Press Freedom day.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) issues its annual audit of press freedom in Australia on Wednesday 3 May and last Friday the union’s chief executive officer, Paul Murphy, reminded those attending a fund-raising dinner in Sydney of the urgency of issues facing not only the Australia news media but in many other countries.
I’d urge you to read both the MEAA’s report and Murphy’s speech, especially as the latter was given just hours after the head of the Australian Federal Police, Andrew Colvin, acknowledged that AFP officers had, without a warrant – that is, unlawfully – intercepted a journalist’s phone call records held under the federal government’s controversial metadata retention regime.
The possibility that such a breach might happen was predicted when the metadata legislation was passed under the previous federal coalition government. But there is little sense of vindication that the forecast came true when you consider the chilling effect such legislation – and its abuse – might be having on those inside organisations willing to risk livelihood, or more, by becoming journalists’ confidential sources to disclose corruption or malfeasance.
This threat to press freedom in Australia is far more serious than that posed by whatever shortcomings may exist in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act but rather than engage in further circular debate about that particular factory of confected outrage I prefer to point you to three stories I’ve read or heard in the past week that all underscore the reason we need a free press in the first place.
None of them was what Bob Woodward of The Washington Post famously calls a “Holy shit!” story but all of them told me something I didn’t know, and that, of course, is one of the definitions of news.
On ABC Radio National’s program, “The Money”, last Thursday Richard Aedy interviewed several psychologists and social scientists who have been researching the impact of money on our approach to life and our attitudes, both overt and unconscious, towards others. Among the startling findings were that the wealthier people became the less they are able to emphathise with others, and that wealthy people are more likely to behave unethically. This may sound like class envy but the findings were based on psychological tests with large, randomly chosen sample populations.
Next, in The Monthly’s April issue, Paddy Manning explored and explained the tortuous – and still tortured – path of the National Broadband Network (NBN), from its inception under the Rudd Labor government to the headaches it faces today under Malcolm Turnbull’s coalition government. In a long piece headlined “Network error: what will be the cost of a patchwork NBN?”, Manning shows how difficult it is for any government to create infrastructure in a country as large and sparsely populated as Australia, especially when technology is advancing so rapidly. More pungently, though, he shows us the toxic effect of political opportunism and short-term thinking. It is entirely possible, he writes, that when the NBN is finally completed it will need to be ripped out and replaced – at a cost of many billions of taxpayers’ dollars.
Finally, in the current Quarterly Essay, “The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race”, David Marr, with customary eloquence, looks at the second coming of Pauline Hanson. What is most interesting, though, is his use of quantitative and qualitative survey data, not for the purpose of fuelling the political news cycle but to understand who votes for One Nation, and why. The results are surprising, and his discussion takes us well beyond labels of redneck racism.
Yes, it is critically important to call out threats to press freedom; it is equally important to avail ourselves of what that freedom provides: incisive, revelatory, nuanced and thought-provoking journalism.
So, please read or listen to these pieces. Discuss them, argue with them by all means, share them, act on them. As the preamble to the MEAA code of ethics states, journalists “inform citizens and animate democracy”. Our job, as educators and researchers, is to help prepare students to create more such journalism, and to ask questions about what it means to animate democracy and what happens when that is threatened.
(JERAA President Matthew Ricketson May 2, 2017)
2017 JERAA Research Grant (now closed)
As part of its overall charter to support journalism academics, the JERAA is offering ONE $6000 grant in 2017 to mid-career journalism academics, to support them in conducting research about a journalism-related topic.
The grant will assist the successful applicants to conduct a small-scale research project with outcomes that can be delivered in 24 months by 30 April 2019. The aim is to help the academics to illustrate their capacity to design/manage a project, boost their research profile, and increase their leverage when applying for future research funding.
Application deadline: 31 March 2017. Please see the Grants and Awards page for details.
2017 Anne Dunn Scholar Award (now closed)
Applications are now welcome for the fourth annual award in commemoration of the life and work of Associate Professor Anne Dunn of the University of Sydney.
The award is open to all emerging and mid-career communication scholars in Australia. It carries a prize of $3,000, sponsored equally by JERAA, ANZCA and Anne Dunn’s family.
Applications close on 31st March 2017. See the Grants and Awards page for details.
2016 JERAA Conference: New educational resources for the new journalism ecology
New resources for journalism educators were released at the 2016 JERAA Conference at QUT on 2 December, which addressed themes related to the New Journalism Ecology. Delegates were introduced to new educational packages about visual literacy/photojournalism, reportage of violence against women, Press Council decision-making protocols, and international journalism student field trips. Updates and reviews were provided about existing resources for journalism educators, such as the Reporting Islam and Mindframe resources.
ABC Four Corners' reporter Marian Wilkinson and Australian Financial Review journalist Neil Chenoweth presented the keynote, sponsored by QUT and MEAA. They detailed the behind-the-scenes work and challenges involved in the Panama Papers investigations, which were led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and involved more than 400 journalists from media organisations around the world.
The one-day December conference in Brisbane and the July Preconference/WJEC in Auckland replaced the usual three-day annual, end-of-year conference for 2016.
Global journalism ethics in spotlight at JERAA Preconference to WJEC
Prof Stephen Ward called on journalists and journalism educators to promote global journalism ethics, rather than parochial journalism ethics. Prof Ward, Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics at the University of British Columbia, was the keynote speeaker at the JERAA and Pacific Media Preconference in Auckland on 13 July.
The Preconference also featured panels on media coverage of mass shootings, reporting of corruption in the Pacifc (live streamed), and assessment of journalism research. There was also a workshop for early career journalism academics, and papers addressing a wide range of subjects affecting journalism, journalism education and journalism research.
The Preconference was convened by a partnership of JERAA, the Pacific Media Centre (Auckland University of Technology) and Media Educators Pacific. It preceded the World Journalism Education Congress of 14-16 July.
Journalism academics and social media
The issue of journalism academics' use of social media to discuss issues, institutions and individuals has attracted media attention recently.
The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) supports freedom of expression and opinion that complies with limitations concerning defamation, sub judice, discrimination, incitement to violence, and similar matters.
As the professional association for journalism academics, JERAA also supports adherence to the principles espoused in the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Journalists' Code of Ethics.
In cases where universities and other academic institutions need to investigate complaints about comments made by academics, we urge management to follow proper processes and complete investigations in an impartial, transparent and timely manner.
The JERAA Executive (June 11, 2016)
Anne Dunn Scholar Award - Congratulations to Emma A. Jane
Emma A. Jane, from the University of New South Wales, has won the 2016 Anne Dunn Scholar Award.
The award, presented by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, was established in 2014 to commemorate the life and work of Professor Anne Dunn. More details on the Grants & Awards page.
JERAA research grant 2016
Congratulations also to Stephanie Brookes, from Monash University, who has been awarded the JERAA research grant for 2016. Her project is 'Checking the facts: The impact of new sources of political information on "legacy" election coverage in Australia and the United States'.
Following a presentation and discussions at the 2015 JERAA Conference, the JERAA Executive has unanimously agreed that the association should act as publisher of the UniPollWatch website for the 2016 federal election. JERAA President Matthew Ricketson has issued a statement explaining the association's involvement in and commitment to the project.