UQ journalism students breaking new ground

12 Oct 2017
Student Maxwell Rowley filming

A new documentary will shine a spotlight on the unique and powerful stories of Woodridge State High School’s diverse student body.

Change Makers: The Documentary, by University of Queensland journalism students, will be launched at the Logan Entertainment Centre on Thursday 12 October.     

The documentary took 16 months to make during which time UQ students were embedded at Woodridge State High School to document the lives of teachers and students.

UQ School of Communication and Arts lecturer Dr Scott Downman said the project aimed to build greater connections and cross-cultural understanding between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pasifika, Australian and newly-arrived refugee communities in Logan City.

“We are so grateful to the amazing students and teachers for allowing us to share their stories and break the stereotypes about the people of Logan and the Logan community,” he said.

“Our journalism students have gone over and above to film, edit and tell these powerful stories – their work and commitment to this documentary has been inspiring.”

The documentary is part of the Change Makers’ Project, now in its fourth year, which has already broken new ground in multicultural reporting - winning the Australian student publication of the year in 2014 and the Queensland Multicultural Award for journalism and communication in 2015.

“The Change Makers’ Project is a participatory, transmedia, hyperlocal journalism project that uses non-traditional newsgathering techniques to tell the true stories,” Dr Downman said.

“These techniques have been designed to empower the community and to allow them greater control in the way their stories are told.

“UQ’s journalism students spend six months enacting relational journalism, where they take their time getting to know the high school students.

“These relationships develop slowly and are cemented over a diverse range of activities at school and it’s through these relationships that authentic stories emerge.”

The project is also the subject of new book to be published by Routledge. The 'Disruption' series aims to explore change and innovation in journalism.

Media: Gillian Ievers, UQ Communications, g.ievers@uq.edu.au, 07 3346 1634 or 0406 510 668; Dr Scott Downman, s.downman@uq.edu.au, 07 3346 8233 or 0421 916 126.

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