Fairfax takes aim at journalism curriculum from 2016

By Nicola Riches | 22 January 2015

Fairfax Media has struck partnerships with journalism schools at Queensland University of Technology and RMIT University to pilot a course designed to help students and educators keep abreast of newsroom innovation.

The unit links students with day-to-day newsroom challenges and encourages journalists of the future to find new ways to engage with large audiences who are migrating to modern – in particular, digital – platforms.

All parties are hoping it will gain permanent inclusion in the journalism curriculum from 2016.

“Newsrooms are changing rapidly to meet audience demand,” said Fairfax Media group director of news and business media, Sean Aylmer.

“We feel it is important for journalism students to be aware of these challenges so they feel comfortable with the innovation process, modern story-telling techniques, and emerging news platforms."

Brisbane Times editor-in-chief Simon Holt added: “Newsroom management has changed. We realise that young journalists in many cases will be the drivers of technology. Their ideas are critical to the success of our business.”

Data experts, designers, product managers, app specialists, social media editors and others from the Fairfax Media network in Australia and New Zealand were approached to help share their expertise and provide modern newsroom insights.

RMIT University deputy dean of media associate professor Lisa French said the collaboration “was a significant industry engagement for the School of Media and Communications journalism programs.”

RMIT Journalism has had a long-held relationship with Fairfax. This initiative more formally extends the association into the teaching and learning space and means that RMIT journalism students will have a direct line to industry.

QUT head of discipline, journalism, media and communication, Jason Sternberg, said the initiative with Fairfax provided an outstanding opportunity for students to learn from highly experienced news media professionals, and would give the industry access to fresh ideas from the next generation of journalists.

“Journalism and higher education are both undergoing significant changes in the way they do business,” Dr Sternberg said.

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