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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wellington journalism students get with the programme

I've been meaning for a while to point to It's a Wellington-based news site showcasing the work of Whitireia Polytech journalism students under the watchful eye of Jim Tucker.

All credit to Jim and his team for getting student work online and getting students working with images, polls, video etc as well as straight text stories. Great to see - this is exactly the sort of hands-on web experience that will help round out the traditional journalism teaching staples such as accuracy, fairness, balance and how to handle a court case.

It's a relatively simple site using a Wordpress theme and there will be challenges keeping it going during school holidays when students are scarce. But it's a worthwhile exercise and one with growth potential given the number of students studying journalism around the country at any given time. There's room for other schools to follow suit or even join forces - an idea that Jim and I have kicked around. I know we've discussed this sort of idea at Wintec but have yet to make definite plans.

I notice this week newswire have started sending out weekly email bulletins. Worth getting on the mailing list if you want to keep track of local Wellington stories or an eye on students' work.


Kelly said...

What a great idea! I would love to have something like this at Wintec.

Julie Starr said...

Well, maybe we should get together and talk about it. Want to find out whether your classmates are interested?

Kelly said...

Hey Julie, I've just been chatting with Karla from our class and she and I are both super keen about this idea. Are you going to be in Hamilton this week and able to slot us in for a chat?

I don't know how the technical stuff would work in terms of setting up the site BUT I happen to have a boyfriend who is a computer programmer/techy geek who is currently "in between jobs" and would def help out if necessary too.

Julie Starr said...

I'm in a couple of days this week. Email me at Wintec tomorrow and we'll set up a time.

There's a bit more to it than just setting up a site (who signs off on stories, for example) but happy to start talking about it.

Jim Tucker said...

Go for it, Wintechies.
We'd be only too happy to assist with advice.
As Julie says, my aim is to have all 10 schools networked, each with their own section, and the best stuff on the home page.
With 25 students, we're managing to change our home page content every couple of days, with new stories posted every day and a new lead every second day.
During the first holiday break, we had a number of stories set up to appear automatically each day. That was good for a week, but the second week we were static.
One key thing we expect of students is that they illustrate every single story; so everyone has a camera or high-quality camera phone. The production of images has been phenomenal.
Julie is just the person to get you guys organised - make the most of her.

Dave Lee said...

Thanks for you kind words about the site, Julie!

As I wrote in my post about how we put NewsWire together (, it's such a simple exercise, it seems a crying shame that more j-schools aren't doing it.

Julie Starr said...

Cheers Dave. Yep, the only things I can think of that will hold this sort of thing back are organising the workflow - staff checking stories etc - and building time into the curriculum. None is insurmountable.