Dr David Weisbrot, head of the Australian Press Council, visited Macleay College this week as part of the council’s ongoing consultation and liaison mission.
He and his management team visited the Sydney newsroom and television studio of Macleay’s journalism faculty and met editorial team leaders and tutors.
The council’s mission is to promote high standards of journalistic practice, encourage community access to information of public interest, and safeguard Australia’s freedom of expression through the media. Among its activities is an educational program that offers seminars for students of journalism.
The council consists of 24 individuals, ranging from the independent Chair and 10 public members who have no direct media affiliation to members employed by media organisations or representing unionised journalists and some independent media professionals.
The Newsroom, noting that the council has no members specifically representing educators from Australia’s several schools of journalism, asked Professor Weisbrot if he thought the council could be more effective if it were to expand its membership to include teachers or tutors of these schools.
In reply, Professor Weisbrot said the council included a diverse spectrum of professionals and he felt expanding it to account for educational institutions in media would be impractical.
“We already communicate with journalism schools quite regularly and we have a few academic professionals on our council,” he said.
“We want to keep educating the next generation of journalists in interesting ways though; we have a major conference coming up which is an opportunity for students to learn about the current challenges facing the press.”
Thanks to Macleay College for informative site visit. They’ve developed an exciting approach to journalism training. https://t.co/nYDdoGoxpb
— Aus Press Council (@AusPressCouncil) March 18, 2016
The council will mark its 40th anniversary this May with an international conference in Sydney. Key issues to be addressed are the challenges facing contemporary journalists including the impact of technological and social change on quality journalism, threats to the media such as over-regulation and defamation laws and how industry members can help improve press freedom.
Academics, representatives of media organisations, government bodies and autonomous think tanks will be among the guests. – Jessica Best
Photo by James Mott. At left, Dr David Weisbrot in conversation with Macleay’s head of journalism, Stephen Davis, right.