Aspiring journalists get newsroom experience

Monday 16 May 2016

A group of journalism students work on an article with their teacher Sue Green

Swinburne journalism students are responsible for reporting on seven electorates in Victoria and two in Queensland.

In summary

  • UniPollWatch enables students to report on the 2016 federal election
  • Selected articles will be published by The Guardian Australia
  • UniPollWatch started at Swinburne with 28 Australian universities now involved 

A world-first project initiated and led by Swinburne is giving journalism students around Australia the opportunity to have their articles published by The Guardian Australia, as they report on the 2016 federal election campaign.      

The project, UniPollWatch, is the biggest university student journalism project ever undertaken in Australia. It covers every lower house seat in the country with electorate and candidate profiles, as well as news on key policy issues. 

Swinburne journalism students will be responsible for reporting on seven electorates in Victoria, including Kooyong, as well as two in Queensland. 

journalism students stand outside the george building with their journalism lecturers
The group of students reporting on the electorate of Kooyong.

UniPollWatch editor-in-chief and Director of Swinburne’s journalism program, Associate Professor Andrew Dodd, believes the best way to learn the skills of journalism is through practice in authentic settings.

“We understand the constraints for political journalists in covering the whole nation, so we’re offering a mosaic of local stories. These will add to the overall election coverage, while giving journalism students around the nation a chance to actively report,” Associate Professor Dodd says. 

He says the project also gives aspiring journalists an avenue to have their work published. 

“Swinburne student work will reach a wide audience through the UniPollWatch website, as well as online and social media."

“UniPollWatch will offer insights into relevant people and issues through the eyes of journalism students, many of whom will be voting for the first time in this election.” 

Associate Professor Dodd says the project is building on the success of the launch in 2014. 

“UniPollWatch started with four universities, Swinburne, Melbourne, LaTrobe and RMIT, covering the Victorian election. 

"It worked so well we decided to replicate it on a larger scale with Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia as the publisher.” 

UniPollWatch now has 28 universities around Australia participating in the project. 

Swinburne student published articles include: