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East Timor, Pacific Online Projects Feature @JEANZ

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EAST TIMOR, PACIFIC ONLINE PROJECTS FEATURE AT JEANZ

WELLINGTON (Contact/Pacific Media Watch): An East Timor news media capacity building web project and a Pacific university online journalism training model have featured among presentations at the two-day Journalism Education Association of New Zealand conference.

Sharon Tickle, a Queensland University of Technology journalism lecturer and coordinator of international students, spoke about QUT's East Timor Press Web project and David Robie, a senior journalism lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, presented a case study and video on Pacific Journalism Online training website techniques at the University of the South Pacific.

Robie made a case for "reality" rather than "simulation" in online training and other journalism student publications.

Their papers were among several presented at the conference with the theme "The Future of Journalism Education", hosted by Whitireia Community Polytechnic, at Porirua, near Wellington.

The East Timor project addressed a need to establish a web presence for the developing independent news media in East Timor following the post-referendum withdrawal of Indonesia in 1999.

It was also planned to establish a valuable archival record of local print media coverage of the East Timorese.

The project for graduate online students had its genesis with cooperation between Queensland University's Centre for International Journalism, Reuters Foundation, Queensland Newspapers and East Timorese journalists, aspiring reporters and editors.

In June 2002, an international team of six academic staff, graduate journalists and students carried out three weeks of website training in Dili for journalists, NGO workers and government officials.

Also, a commercial database online news site has been handed over to East Timorese journalists.

"The website has proven to be an effective model for a university-industry partnership, which has tangible benefits for clients, partners, students and stakeholders," says Tickle.

She adds that the lessons from the project will be carried through to a further QUT web partnership with the PNG and Solomon Islands Media Council next year.

David Robie, former journalism coordinator at the University of the South Pacific, outlined the pioneering development of university-based web training for journalists in the Pacific, starting with Uni Tavur Online at the University of Papua New Guinea in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney, in 1996.

He demonstrated how the award-winning Pacific Journalism Online at USP had taken web training to the next stage, with a combination of an "Online Classroom" curriculum resource for courses from 1998 and a news-gathering function.

This had been further strengthened with coverage of the Speight coup in 2000 by the regional journalism students and the establishment of Wansolwara Online daily news in partnership with the print edition of the training newspaper.

"Most students respond to the challenges in creative and engaging ways," said Robie.

"While the pedagogy of South Pacific journalism programmes, especially at USP, has developed uniquely, there are important parallels with how online training has been done at some Australian journalism schools, such as QUT and UTS."

Among other presentations at the conference, Associate Professor Kerry Green of Canberra University, who is president of Australia's Journalism Education Association, spoke about "Market forces and journalism education"; journalism lecturer Nicola Groc, of Tasmania University, addressed "Work placements at non-metro newspapers"; and communications senior lecturer Ed Mason, of New Zealand's Unitec, addressed "The future of sports journalism".

Contact: b.griffin@whitireia.ac.nz

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