Starting a project with Journalism – International internships

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A picture of a television news room

Andrea McLagan and I met with Alex Wake and Rilke Muir from Journalism to discuss a project aimed at improving the preparedness of journalism students embarking on their international internships. Internships are a fundamental aspect of the Journalism degree and some students spend most of their time out on internship (local and international). The international internships formally take place in the third year of the degree however, so this project is likely to focus on preparation for students in the second and third year.

Right off the bat we can see that the international internship program is something of a highlight in the degree and well worth supporting. We’ve seen some of the videos that the students produce about their internships – being a wonderful array eclectic DIY vlogs produced with efficiency and authenticity. Next to those we’ve seen videos produced by RMIT to promote internationalism generally, and while they are of higher production quality, they have a distinct promotional feel about them.

This initial meeting for the project talked about a balance between authenticity and promotion, and the need for substance if the goal of the project is to be achieved. We outlined some of our work in the student as producer category, and suggested that the project focus in on a range of activities and social systems that might facilitate more peer to peer preparation around the internships. Our ideas about using Google Maps to geolocate information in the areas of the internships and cumulatively generate a useful resource for students who go to those areas. We talked about Wikinews as a possible complimentary network for those more inclined to independent and citizen journalism experiences, or entirely new ways of organising news. And we asked about Facebook and whether it was proving effective for communicating with students while out on internship.

This initial meeting generated a feeling of excitement for the potential of the project. We’ll come together again in the new year to revisit some of these ideas and hear about a research project Alex is running along side. Follow the Journalism tag for this project

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