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Media Academy

The InQueensland Media Academy gives young people a platform while also helping to promote critical thinking and media literacy.

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InQueensland, the state’s only truly independent, high-quality news service has partnered with Education Queensland’s IMPACT Centre and the University of Queensland to establish an exciting new initiative to engage with students across the state.

From today, readers of InQueensland will benefit from the perspective of teenaged reporters writing about the issues and events that not only interest them, but matter to their communities and generation.

Students from 14 Queensland schools have already participated in the program, with another four schools currently working to deadlines. A selection of their articles has been published on InQueensland and will be regularly updated – and free to read.

“InQueensland has its very foundations in the importance of independent, unbiased public interest journalism, and we see this initiative as a valuable addition,” said InQueensland Editor and Publisher Peter Atkinson.

“It’s about giving a voice to intelligent, passionate young Queenslanders and, hopefully, giving them the mentorship and incentive to pursue a career in journalism.”

Glen Watt, director of the IMPACT Centre, said students also benefitted from the program.

“The students’ confidence and willingness to contribute also improves as they connect to each other, our expert teachers and experts from industry,” said Watt, who oversees a range of programs offered by the centre.

“They crave this type of connection – where it’s regular, meaningful and developmental, and their location is no barrier.

“It’s also a very effective way for industry and tertiary partners to scale up a worthy cause. The IMPACT Centre team co-designs programs with the best minds in Queensland and connects experts with students and teachers from over 200 schools right across the state.”

Professor Deborah Brown, director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project, said the program was “about giving young people that voice and reminding us that what we choose and do as a society affects them and their future, and for that we must be held to account”.

This meant “encouraging young people to critically question sources of information they are bombarded with, to see how their thinking is ‘framed’ by how news media is filtered and presented, to learn to write for a public audience with integrity and for the public good rather than just produce click-bait”.

“These are lofty enough goals, but there is more,” said Brown, a philosophy professor.

“This academy is about helping to prepare young people to participate fully as citizens in a deliberative democracy where the ideals of public reason—that every person’s reasoned perspective deserves to be heard and that policy decisions need to be acceptable to all those whom they affect—are paramount. This program is about giving young people that voice and reminding us that what we choose and do as a society affects them and their future, and for that we must be held to account.”

Award-winning foreign correspondent Peter Greste, now the UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communications at UQ, said the program helped empower young people and could help them forge new career paths.

“The idea behind the Media Academy was to give students a chance to use their curiosity and creativity for something practical,” Greste said.

“As a journalist, I know how much fun it is to follow your nose and tell stories, and, when it make a difference, it is also incredibly empowering.”

Greste said he was pleased to see more independent journalism being published, and felt InQueensland was the “perfect” platform for young people.

“It is an authoritative, independent news service with exactly the same state-wide footprint as the IMPACT Centre and UQ, and the vision to see the value in this idea,” Greste said.

The academy is being launched today at an event in Brisbane. Anyone interested in participating in, or supporting, the program can contact the IMPACT Centre.

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