Victorians urged to go north to learn

A Queensland journalism professor is in Melbourne trying to persuade Victorians to study journalism in Brisbane.

John Henningham claims Jschool is an Australian first, a college totally focused on vocational journalism. It offers only one course — an eight-month diploma of journalism, which has been assessed and approved by a committee of editors from print and broadcast media.

“Professional journalism is at the centre, and we don’t have to make compromises with academics who want to mix it up with communication theory or public relations,” says Henningham, a former head of journalism at Queensland University and Australia’s first professor of journalism.

He said most of his graduates had gone straight into journalism jobs, a result of the intensive small group teaching, field work, internships and industry contacts.

“I interviewed editors in Victoria, NSW and Queensland about what they expected in a journalism course, and built their suggestions into the curriculum. Most of the editors were dissatisfied with university journalism education,” he said.

Henningham says Jschool is more suitable to the needs of postgrad students as it is vocationally-focused and doesn’t waste students’ time trying to replicate undergraduate courses with their heavy theory components.

“All our coursework is oriented to practical journalism outcomes,” he said. “Students write stories, not essays.”

But why should locals go to Queensland to study? “The Melbourne students who’ve already enrolled are very happy with the course,” he said. “Brisbane is a pleasant and affordable city and a very good environment in which to learn journalism, and our location in the CBD is perfect — students walk to Parliament House, city hall and law courts to gather stories. They are expected to turn in news stories every day, and to build up portfolios of published articles.”

And Henningham couldn’t resist gloating that “Victorian students can also take comfort from the fact that we’re just over the river from the Gabba, permanent home of the AFL trophy”.

He will be meeting prospective students by appointment next Tuesday and Wednesday, at Taylor’s College, Lonsdale St. Details are on his website: www.jschool.com.au

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