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Journalism Students' On-The-Job Learning Delivers Results

Macleay's Martin Newman gives a faculty recap on what has been a blockbuster of a Trimester for Journalism students. 

Whether it’s interviewing top politicians, scooping the national media or watching your meme on The Bachelor go viral, Macleay’s journalism students have had a blockbuster second trimester.

And having set a new standard for publishing on the college’s Hatch website they’ve also had their yarns appear in The Age and Marie Claire and on a range of news, sport and culture websites from to MotorsportM8.

Between the campuses in Sydney and Melbourne 85 stories have been published on Hatch with every student in the newsroom, many for the first time, earning a byline.


RECENT ARTICLE: Macleay Journalism: Making It In The Real World


The output is a direct result of the enthusiasm for journalism Macleay’s current crop of students have, but also to the work being done daily with individuals on improving their skills and setting realistic goals for them to achieve.

In July Fiona West, Macleay’s Head of Journalism, attended the World Journalism Education Conference in Paris, where the overwhelming feedback from lecturers and students was the need for more emphasis on practical learning.

While theory remains as important in an academic context, Macleay has prided itself on leading the way in its learn on-the-job approach, where students develop skills quickly in a newsroom environment under the tutelage of industry professionals.

This hothousing of journalism students enables them to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce, faster than those coming from purely theory-oriented courses.

The metric of success for Macleay has been in the higher proportion of its students entering the workforce than other media institutions, finding jobs in quicker time and rating the college experience on most measures higher than all other universities.

That practical experience over the past term has included covering major national and state stories, such as the murder of Courtney Herron, the funeral of Bob Hawke and sentencing of George Pell, as well as producing comprehensive packages on important events such as NAIDOC Week and the Matilda’s progress through the Women’s Football World Cup.



Our Journalism grads are scoring jobs at a rate almost three times higher than the national average! 


At many universities it’s sink or swim in classes of 100 or more, with the most adept or adaptable students reaping the benefit.

But at Macleay, with its smaller student body, everyone is given the help they need to become jobbing journalists.

Lively discussions around the day’s news encourage them to express their views, but to also consider different perspectives, and to maintain a professional balance in their reporting.

And there have been some timely subjects, with strong feelings around issues such as the Israel Folau case and the passing of the Abortion Bill through the NSW lower house.



The newest batch of journalism students to join the college at the start of this trimester have certainly hit the ground running, with an unprecedented number of articles being published onto the college’s journalism website, Hatch, within their first five weeks.


You need to learn to walk before you can run, and while Macleay students come up with many in-depth features and investigations, they have learnt more and produced a greater range and volume of work through the practical focus on day-to-day news gathering.


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This not only teaches them quickly but allows them to build their media portfolio of stories and stoke their enthusiasm for journalism.

Ask first-year student Charlie Bullis, who spotted a story on her Facebook page about a woman who found her Australia Post parcel on the roof of her house one day and a note from the postie suggesting she use a broomstick to retrieve it.

After contacting the woman for quotes, she smashed out her copy and Hatch shared the published story with Mail Online, who linked back to our website. Within a few days the story had gone viral and been picked up by every major news organisation in the country.



Hills mum finds parcel delivery on roof reported by Charli Bullis


Likewise, Indi Brummelen's exclusive on a Catholic girl's school in Melbourne forcing pupils to rip out eyelash extensions before a school photo was run by The Age newspaper.



Students also learn about using social media and Amelia Jane Roach, another first-year student, hit the jackpot with a funny gif on The Bachelor, which quickly garnered 22,000 views on Twitter and was covered by the Bachelor's website, Punkee and Vogue magazine among the funniest memes and posts on the series. 



During NAIDOC Week students published several positive stories about the indigenous community, but IIias Bakalla's exclusive interview with Shadow Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney led the way and was republished on Junction Journalism. 


A number of students chipped in with stories on the Matilda's World Cup campaign in France, including a slick video preview by Cameron Lucas, but none more than first-year student Samantha Jurman. Sam stayed up for every game, sometimes filing match reports at 5am, and had written seven stories by the time the Matildas were knocked out. 




Hatch journalist Cam Lucas previews the biggest tournament in women's football.



Likewise, Rabia Khairi's interview with a child victim of The Family cult, Jesse Robertson's comprehensive wrap on the moon landing anniversary, and regular features like the Street Fashion blog Sew Cool, showed the range and quality of the work being produced in Macleay's two newsrooms. 


Students don’t know from one day to the next if they’ll be covering a demonstration, a court case, reviewing a new film or reporting from parliament, but that is just part of the story behind what goes on at the College.

In the many classes with a practical component they rub shoulders with industry professionals and learn about the inner workings of large and small media organisations.

Students in the Foundations of News class get real experience of court cases to report on, the most recent class covering five courts in a day.

In the Professional News Practice class this term students visited the newsrooms of the ABC, News Corp, Junkee Media, Pedestrian TV, Radio 3AW and the 7.30 Report.



Macleay students visit Junkee Media, hosted by Managing Editor Rob Stott. 


Guest lecturers, too, give the student body practical insights into the workings of contemporary media. This term topics included digital verification from John Begin at the Google News Initiative, media diversity from Channel 10’s Antoinette Lattouf, reporting on mental health by Mindframe’s Elizabeth Paton, TV journalism from Sunrise reporter David Woiwod and a range of subjects from Nic Christensen, head of corporate affairs at Channel Nine.


Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 11.55.05 am


John Bergin presents a guest lecture series to Sydney Journalism students. 


Students have also published important articles on media practice to the Walkley Foundation website.

In June, senior ABC reporter John Lyons praised first-year student Blake Mannes for his “excellent” report on a Walkley’s panel discussion at the NSW State Library on press freedom.

“Determination and commitment from our future journos,” he tweeted out.

A fitting tribute from a seasoned journo, and indication Macleay is providing our students with the right tools and environment for journalism to remain relevant in the rapidly evolving business of media.


Journalism at Macleay College

Society relies on quality journalism to inform, investigate, question, explore and debate.

In the age of fast moving digital media and fake news, the role of journalism is more critical than ever before.

The media industry demands well trained, digital savvy journalists that can adapt their skills in an ever changing landscape.

Macleay College courses overlay digital reporting skills across the key disciplines of investigative journalism, international journalism, television reporting, audio journalism and photojournalism.

Students become working journalists from the first day they step into Macleay. They work on real stories in a real newsroom across all media platforms.

Journalism students are taught by industry experts that are up to date with the latest trends and are well connected in the industry.

Curious to know more about the Journalism programs at Macleay? Check out the student run Journalism website here. 

Start studying Journalism at Macleay today. With diploma and bachelor options available and flexible study times, we have something to suit everyone.

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