28 November 2013
Issues critical to the future of quality journalism in Australia are set to be discussed when the University of the Sunshine Coast hosts the nation’s largest forum of journalism researchers and educators next week.
The annual Journalism Education Association of Australia (JEAA) conference from 2-4 December will have a strong focus on online journalism, the sourcing of information from social media and perennial topics like defamation and privacy.
About 90 presentations will be made, including papers about the media’s coverage of war, human rights, asylum seekers, health, homelessness, sex abuse, Indigenous matters and the cultural considerations of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.
With the theme, “Redrawing the Boundaries: Journalism Research, Education and Professional Culture in Times of Change”, the event at Mooloolaba has attracted 100 delegates, including academics from 28 Australian universities.
Conference convenor and USC’s Senior Lecturer in Journalism Dr Folker Hanusch said the theme of the conference had inspired some interesting papers.
“Journalism is in a state of change all around the world,” he said. “There are massive challenges facing journalism at the moment, but there are also enormous opportunities. We need to consider how we as educators, researchers and practitioners respond to these.
“This is a great opportunity for researchers to present their work, to discuss and debate the fundamental issues that affect journalism education and research, gain new insights and inspiration from colleagues and develop new opportunities for collaborative research.”
Keynote speakers include: comparative communication researcher Professor Thomas Hanitzsch from the University of Munich, Germany, who will discuss how journalism is being transformed around the globe; social media expert Associate Professor Alfred Hermida, from the University of British Columbia, Canada, who will talk about issues surrounding social media, in particular the verification of information; and ABC journalist Cath Dwyer who will outline the ABC Open platform.
Dr Hanusch said panel discussions would address the future of journalism research, new directions in Australian journalism, threshold learning standards, journalism and indigeneity, journalist welfare in reporting suicide and mental health, and women in the media.
“And we are particularly proud to be hosting a panel session on the role of regional journalism,” he said.
Dr Hanusch said this was the first time the University of the Sunshine Coast had staged a JEAA conference and he thanked his conference committee colleagues Associate Professor Rod McCulloch, Dr Renee Barnes, Jane Fynes-Clinton and Peter English.
“Hosting this event gives USC greater visibility in the community of journalism educators and shows that our University is an important institution for journalism education in regional Queensland,” he said.
— Terry Walsh