Journalists empower young people to become storytellers

Ipswich’s news environment has seen enormous change in the past few years.

Due to a shift in the media landscape away from traditional media, community journalism is on the rise.

ABC Radio producer Catherine Bennett and ABC journalist Baz Ruddick have come up with a way to introduce high school students to the world of local news.

The Deadline Project is a free workshop aimed at students going into year 12 in 2021.

During the two-day project, students will form a newsroom to research and produce a factual Ipswich news story.

Students will be guided through the process by the two media professionals, who will help participants figure out the news angle, gather photos or footage, conduct interviews and then write it up for publication on

Ms Bennett said it’s important to have diverse perspectives in the media.

“Young people’s voices are generally under-represented in the media, and it’s not always easy for them to gain experience and participate,” Ms Bennett said.

“This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in journalism and content production to give it a go.

“When you’re looking at study and career options it can be hard to know what a job is really like day-to-day, whether that’s being a journalist or an engineer or a hairdresser.

“If you can test out a job before you jump into study or training, and see if it’s right for you, I think that is really valuable.”

Mr Ruddick agreed that a journalist can be anyone and that there is a greater need for media literacy.

“I hope this workshop will help students think about what they consume and why it has been published,” Mr Ruddick said.

“Technology and communication has never been so fast and the tools to create content have never been more widely available.

“Around the world people with phones in their pockets are shedding light on political movements, natural disasters and more – ultimately leading to change.

“I think that shows that anyone, and everyone, can have a voice.”

Ms Bennett and Mr Ruddick received a Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant from Ipswich City Council which supports locally driven content and productions.

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Ipswich City Council to support local arts and culture.

The second round is open for applications on 1 February 2021.

For more information on RADF read the guidelines here or call council on 3810 6655.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday, 4 January 2021.

The free workshop will be run Ipswich Central on Tuesday, 19 and Wednesday, 20 January.

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