UQ journalism students reap rewards of creating change

Ten journalism students from The University of Queensland have won the Communication and Media Achievement Award at the Queensland Multicultural Awards.

UQ Journalism
The Change Makers team: Dr Scott Downman, Alynna Wong, Kemii Maguire, Jordan McMullen, Jade Horrobin, Rachel Westbury and Alicja Rudz, Max Rowley, Navin Regi, Sophie Volker and Courtney Lawler (Photo credit: UQ)

The students were recognised for Change Makers magazine, a project with Woodridge State High School which aimed to tell the real stories of the local community and debunk negative stereotypes.

UQ School of Communication and Arts Lecturer Dr Scott Downman said the award was terrific recognition for the students and the UQ journalism program.

Change Makers is an innovative project that combines cross-cultural reporting and the use of non-traditional newsgathering techniques. There is nothing else like it in Australia.” Dr Downman said.

Six students visited Woodridge State High School over five months to document stories and create the magazine, which was launched in October 2014.

Another four students joined the project in 2015.

Team member Alicja Rudz said working on Change Makers was extremely rewarding.

“The first time we visited the school’s English as a Second Language class, which includes refugees and asylum-seekers, we were greeted with such warmth and were amazed at how smart the students are,” Ms Rudz said.

“We were happy to have our own preconceived ideas blown away.

“It was a privilege to hear and tell the stories of bright and motivated young students who achieve remarkable success despite challenging and often horrific experiences.”

The Multicultural Awards were presented by Multicultural Affairs Minister Shannon Fentiman.
The Change Makers project also won Best Student Publication at the student journalism Ossie Awards and was a finalist in the 2014 Premier’s Cultural Diversity Awards for Communications and Media.

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