Melbourne-based Macleay College students feel better prepared to become foreign correspondents after attending the school’s international reporting conference this week.
The Sydney-based conference was streamed to Melbourne by video link, giving Victorian students the opportunity to ask questions of the panellists.
First-year journalism student Jessica Poulter asked former SAS soldier Jamie Zimmermann about his views on reporting from war zones.
“It was liberating, I was very touched when he said that no journalist can come out of a battlefield an unchanged person,” she said.
A guest from RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, Dr Alex Wake, said she was pleased students had been encouraged, by speakers in the “How well do we cover the world?” panel, to make their personal safety a paramount concern.
“It is really critical that students understand the risks of reporting from conflict zones, and it was good to have my objections reinforced by people working in the industry,” she said.
During the conference Jess Poulter interviewed Dr Wake for a live transmission via the Periscope app. Dr Wake added valuable personal insights into points made by journalist Hugh Riminton and by Mr Zimmermann about the dangers confronting journalists.
Staff and students also praised the presentation by former BBC China correspondent Louisa Lim about the challenges of reporting in a culture of strict government censorship where journalists are routinely thrown in prison. Newsroom supervisor Colin McKinnon said the former BBC journalist’s talk had been thought-provoking. “Louisa Lim gave us a fascinating insight into the difficulties of reporting in China,” he said.
Dr Wake said the conference ran more efficiently this year despite some glitches: “The technology definitely worked better… and we were able to keep up with what was happening in Sydney with no problem,” she said.
Macleay College second-year bachelor of journalism student Matthew Male agreed: “Today was very informative; they covered a wide range of issues and we didn’t have nearly as many technical problems as last year.” – Report by Geir O’Rourke, photo by Andrew Brain
Photo shows Melbourne students watching Louisa Lim’s presentation.