University assessment

Two is better than one

It’s an ongoing debate. Who should the public trust, the professional or the citizen journalists? Those on either side often disregard their so-called rivals when in fact journalism is only enhanced when the two join forces.

Social media has aided the rapid increase in citizen journalism as everyone with a phone and internet access is able to broadcast to the world. Since then, it has become clearer how the public benefits when the two parties work together.

Here are just three examples.

  1. Citizen journalists provide the footage professionals sometimes can’t

Have you ever wondered why most news stories seem to have the vision of a scene as it unfolds? Well, everyday people are to thank for that. It’s near impossible a professional journalist will be at the scene as a major, unpredictable story occurs. However, these people are simply in the right place at the right time and become citizen journalists the second they begin to document a newsworthy event.

When the public sends in footage of such incidents, it helps journalists to create an engaging and “full” story. It also benefits the journalistic inquiry of the story as viewers or readers are able to see the events as they truly happened.

It’s rare that professionals will be at the scene to get these shots.


  1. It’s paramount in dangerous situations 

Terror events or emergencies are often present within our news. The combination of citizen journalists and social media have become crucial in disseminating information in these situations. As mentioned above, journalists can’t be everywhere all the time so it’s important these people play watchdog for the public too. We, as outsiders, don’t know what’s happening at the scene without these people posting to social media.

Those who find themselves in such situations keep the public informed of the immediate danger.  They are not only firsthand sources, but also contributors. Ultimately, it’s the public who benefits though, as the professional and citizen journalists can work together to broadcast information to protect and inform others of the situation at hand.

Mobile Phone Social Media Icon Smartphone
The reach of social media helps citizen journalists spread messages.


  1. Professionals and amateurs can together create change

In recent years, an increasing number of social movements have been in the public eye thanks to the reach of social media. Protests, rallies and cause-supporting hashtags have been broadcast to the world and as a result, injustices have been brought to light.

Citizen journalists often have no barriers when publishing work online, especially if it’s something they feel passionate about. Due to them bringing awareness to an issue, professional journalists are able to report further on the matter, creating even more awareness.

Professionals help citizen journalists to widely broadcast issues.




If working for a news organisation ALWAYS ensure you check the validity of your sources. This is crucial to ensure the public aren’t given misleading information, particularly in an emergency. Make sure to ask yourself these questions before using citizen journalist information.

  • Is the source credible and reliable?
  • Does what they’re saying link in with other available information?
  • Are they actually at the scene?
  • How did they get their information?


What are your thoughts about the professionals working with citizen journalists?

Are you now inclined to be on the watch for newsworthy events or think it should be left to the journalists?

University assessment

The 21st Century Journo

Journalism is a constantly evolving profession. Different publishing methods have differed in popularity throughout the years and more recently the introduction of smartphones has greatly influenced the way we deliver news. Such an advancement in technology has prompted journalists to use social media to engage audiences with news content.

In the 21st century, it is crucial that a journalist realises the positive effects social media has for this industry, here are just some:

It’s a new way to reach people

Although you may argue we have always been able to reach people through print and broadcast, social media takes this to a whole new level.

Audiences are becoming busier and it’s rare they are always able to read the whole newspaper or sit down to watch the evening news. However, they can still receive important news updates through their social media feed.

Let’s be honest, how often can we scroll through Facebook without seeing at least one news story?

The people in our online network who comment on, like or share these posts are to thank for that. Simple interactions like this are the reason why news can spread so easily nowadays and can reach more people than before.

People sharing online content help to extend its reach.

Younger audiences are also jumping on board with the idea and social media is becoming their main source of news.

We can post directly from the scene

Thanks to the opportunities social media provides, it’s now easier to keep the masses informed about breaking news.

Yes there are live crosses but these usually have to wait until the 6pm bulletin. With Facebook live or Twitter we can now post news as it unfolds, in real time.

Smartphones and social media make it easier to broadcast live. Webster, T.

This is a pretty big deal for journalists because it helps us fulfil our primary role as a watchdog for the public. Audiences simply have to be on their mobile devices, which they usually are, to receive news updates and they can also use social media to track the progression of a story.

The people can interact with us

Communication is central to journalism and social media only enhances this. Instead of just publishing stories we are now able to interact with our audience and know their thoughts. For example, allowing public comment  on content posted to social media encourages reader interaction and can be used as a lead for a new story.

Another perk is audiences can provide us with content by sending in pictures or videos from the scene of an event, which we can use. However, make sure you are always cautious of these sources and question their validity.

If the material is accurate though and can be used for reporting news, this is known as citizen journalism.

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s basically members of the public providing information about a newsworthy event or topic. It’s yet another great benefit social media provides the industry.

fb interaction
Social media opens up a new world for audiences to interact with the news.


How does social media influence the way you receive your news?

Has your consumption of news changed since the introduction of social media?

University assessment

Social Media and You

In this technological era it seems as though all of us are part of online communities and have more than one social media account; the world is at our fingertips. But have you ever really thought about the many benefits of social media?

You probably have some idea of the benefits like being able to re-tweet your favourite celebrity or share hilarious cat videos on Facebook. However, what I’m talking about runs much deeper than that and is purely based on what you, as an individual, can achieve through this medium.

Here are some important benefits of social media:

Social media allows you to connect with more and more people.

Active Australian social media users are on the rise meaning you have the ability to interact with a growing number of people in this online space. Another plus is that location is no barrier to the internet and you can develop networks and relationships globally. Just by connecting with users you can form small communities across various social media platforms and deliver your message or thoughts to a large audience rather than to a small group of people face to face.

With social media you can post any time and any place.

Immediacy has become central to the 21st century way of living and social media delivers this through allowing you round-the-clock access. You can participate in real-time conversations regardless of where you are or what you are doing. Any time of the day you are free to voice your thoughts or post updates, unlike other forms of communication. This freedom is greatly thanks to mobile devices that can and do, go with us anywhere and everywhere.

Your opinion and interests matter more than ever.

You have never had more freedom to publicly voice your opinion, so why not take advantage of it? Online audiences are increasingly interested in what others, like themselves, think about an issue and often prefer an everyday person’s commentary over the news. Every day billions of people are posting their thoughts on all matters political, environmental, social, etc. If you publish content that matters to you and those in your network you can get the ball moving on a bigger project and initiate change.

Woman posting to Instagram.
A simple upload to social media has the potential to influence and inform the masses. Sebastiaan ter Burg 2013, Flickr


You may be wondering what all these benefits have in common. They all form the basis of citizen journalism, when non-professionals take it upon themselves to provide the news. Social media and smartphones are the main tools citizen journalists use to deliver this content because of audience reach as well as the constant access.

Whether you post from the scene of an event or state your views on a topical issue you are essentially being a citizen journalist as you are providing information to others. Perhaps you already are one and you just haven’t realised it yet.

Let me know your thoughts about citizen journalism.

Are you excited or maybe even intimidated by this concept?

Does it encourage you to utilise social media for a greater cause?


First year assessment

Online News Package

Our task was to create an audio-visual story as well as a text-based element on a topical issue for a local audience.

A big thank you to my assignment partner Nathan Biddle who captured all of the vision.

Charity workers thankful for public’s generosity

Local volunteers are praising the Sunshine Coast community for their “wonderful” and continued support of the region’s op shops.

People are generously giving to the stores which give back to various charities and raise funds for education programs for the underprivileged.

Sunshine Coast Community Hospice Opportunity Shop volunteer Cheryl Lennon said the community’s donations were greatly appreciated and never went astray.

“There is never, ever an excess,” she said.

“We deal with whatever we get.

“We sometimes have them piled very high but we always manage to get through them, sort them and pass them onto our other stores.”

The sorting shed of Sunshine Coast Community Hospice full of donations.

Collection bins are set up around the Sunshine Coast for locals to donate their unwanted items.

Fellow volunteer Jenny Gatehouse said people were taking full advantage of these bins as there was never a shortage of donations.

“People are very kind,” she said.

“We get very good quality donations and they come on a regular basis, it’s just non-stop.

“They come daily with stock of everything from furnishings to clothing to brick-a-brack.”

With such a large number of donations, some items could not be sold due to their conditions.

However, Mrs Lennon said these items are welcomed and did not go to waste.

“Naturally like anything in life some [donations] are good and some aren’t,” she said.

“We do have to dispose of a lot of the stuff if it’s damaged or soiled … and that sometimes does cost us money to take it to the tip.

“Most of the clothing if it’s damaged we can put in bags we call “Africa bags” and they get sent away to underprivileged countries.”
More than 50 op shops on the Coast have become increasingly popular among locals.

A customer searching through the abundance of clothes.

During October a Facebook survey found 32 per cent of participants’ shopped at the stores to find rare items.

While an additional 34 per cent are shopped there to save money.

Mrs Gatehouse said people chose to shop at the stores because of the financial and charity benefits.

“A lot of stock is brand new with labels, saving people money,” the volunteer of 15 years said.

“Plus everything that’s here goes fully to charity.”

Chaplain and eager op shopper Lynette Neil said the charity stores had great support because of the environment they created.

“I think they [op shops] are very important because they are a really good meeting place … for everyone in the community to mix together,” she said.

“Bloomhill especially means a lot to me because I had breast cancer.

“I found it the place where you go for companionship and an alternative look at what else can be added to your therapy.”

Fifty-two per cent of people would still like to see more support behind local op shops despite the increasing number of donations and shoppers.

Mrs Lennon said although any help is lovely more volunteers are always needed.

“Volunteering is very good,” she said.

“We never have enough volunteers because a lot of people on holidays or with family commitments.”

First year assessment

Turning hate into love

A Sunshine Coast mother has taken to Facebook to write about an incident at her local Coles. Katie Maree has written an open letter on the Sunny Coast Community Board directed at an unknown woman who commented on her children’s behaviour.

What the woman didn’t know is Katie’s children suffer from autism.

The Facebook post which started it all. Katie Maree, Facebook 2016.

Now, the mother isn’t trying to say her children are angels – she admits they weren’t behaving. But says the stranger and her remarks were ignorant and lacking empathy.

Almost 800 responses and counting, the post has now gone somewhat viral, being mentioned in numerous blogs (including this one) and even becoming a news story because of it’s relatable nature.

But many of us have one simple question: What do open letters achieve?

We live in a world where we want to post anything and everything on social media, but why?

It seems as though people are so inclined to sit down after a crappy day and tell the world about it (literally).

People are taking to their computers to share their bad experiences. Carly Hagins, Flickr 2010

I’m usually pretty sceptical about open letters and I don’t know if online is the best place to be talking about such personal experiences but sometimes these open letters achieve great things.

Just four months ago, Canadian mother Jennifer Kiss-Engele wrote an open letter on Facebook saying her down syndrome son was excluded from a birthday party. The public’s incredible and unexpected reactions to her post resulted in her child being invited to the party while also spreading a message of love and acceptance.

I completely agree with Jennifer and Katie’s motives to defend their children. I’m extremely protective of my family, as I’m sure we all are.

If one tiny post is going to make a slight difference in the world, or even in the life of someone I love, then I would be willing to take that chance.

And I’m not the only one.

First year assessment

Release them before they do it themselves

Another gorilla has made headlines this week. London Zoo’s Kumbuka roamed the grounds for more than 90 minutes after escaping his enclosure causing tourists to hide inside zoo buildings.

The western lowland silverback gorilla, known for his fiery attitude, smashed through the glass of his enclosure to break free. Witnesses have said staff asked them to avoid eye contact with Kumbuka moments before the incident as he was becoming agitated.

But was it the people making him agitated or the fact he is in captivity?

Kumbuka is the second of his species to be in the news this year after the Cincinnati Zoo shot Haramabe in May following a child falling into his enclosure.

Thankfully this time the gorilla was tranquillised and recaptured before anybody was harmed.

Kumbuka has been enclosed for three years now. Willard 2013, Flickr

However, both incidents raise a widely debated question: Should wild animals be in captivity?

I can see both perspectives.

On one hand, it’s great to be able to see such fascinating creatures up close. From a conservation stance, taking animals out of the wild for their own protection and to populate their species is also a wonderful idea. These gorillas have been successfully bred for generations in zoos and can survive up to 20 years longer in captivity than the wild.

But where is the quality of life?

Sir David Attenborough said the escape didn’t surprise him as zoo visitors don’t show enough respect for the enclosed animals.

“If the people were respectful that would be something,” he said.

“Sometimes visitors to zoos are not respectful and they start shrieking or waving their arms in order to get the poor gorilla to do something.”

I agree with Attenborough. If these animals, especially the dominant ones, have to be in zoos they shouldn’t be subjected to so many people as it’s clearly distressing them.

Ultimately, I think animals should be free to roam in their natural habitat, the way nature intended. Currently there are over 6000 different animal species in zoos across the world, quite a large and unnecessary number if you ask me. We’re at the stage now where if we wanted to see an exotic animal we could just “Google it” rather than seeing them miserably locked up in a zoo.

Do you want to see these animals enjoying themselves in the wild or placed behind barriers for our own selfish entertainment?


Enough of the remakes

6344955477_19ce98fd28_zIt seems as though movie remakes are the new black. Originals can’t stand alone anymore as Hollywood keeps trying to profit from loved, older films.

The whole remake saga over the past few years has been slightly overdone and leaving us wondering which film will be ruined next.

But I won’t be too harsh on all of the recent remakes. The new Jungle Book was actually quite entertaining considering I had never watched the original. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it, no childhood memories at stake.

Aladdin fans have been upset this week when it was announced Guy Ritchie will direct a live remake of the Disney classic.

People aren’t convinced it will do the original justice, especially when it comes to replacing beloved Robin Williams.

Who can blame them? It’s kind of like replacing Health Ledger with Jared Leto – still commendable but not the same.

The UK Telegraph says even more of our faves could be set for a reboot including…

  • Splash
  • Mary Poppins
  • Jumanji
  • Drop Dead Fred
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids
  • Police Academy
  • IT

News Photography


Pomona Showgrounds, September 10, 2016.

Neville Lindley, 71, watching the show jumping event at the 107th Noosa Country Show.

Over two days thousands of people flocked to the traditional country show to view the various stalls and competitions which showcased local agriculture, art and music. Hundreds of competitors and their animals competed in the numerous events, including Saturday night’s rodeo.

The outgoing Fraser Coast Show Society director and horseman was an invited guest to the show but said the invitation was not necessary. “I just like going to these events and I go to as many as possible,” he said.


Using the rule of thirds, the subject and the horse rider in the background are points of interest as they are positioned at the intersections. However, Neville is the main point of interest as he is situated closer to the camera so the audience can access him and his story. I thought an eye level angle would be appropriate to convey his story as it shows the scene from a spectators point of view and does not over emphasise one particular element within the photograph. The natural light used works as a side light striking the subject on the side but also highlighting the action occurring in the background.  It also creates a natural colour tone, adding to the country feel of the event.

The image suits the brief as it tells of a current, local news event through the story of a person, in this case a spectator. I chose this angle as many people who attend the event are onlookers themselves. As the subject is the access to the story, I thought to include a horse event in the background as he has been involved with similar events throughout his life and this helps connect with his story.




Sculpting a community

Suncoast Clayworkers Association, September 15, 2016.

Jackie Gasson, 70, throwing clay during her weekly pottery class.

Fifteen years ago Jackie formed the Suncoast Clayworkers Association when she saw a need for a local organisation to bring potters and ceramic artists together. At her home studio Jackie holds two weekly workshops to pass on her knowledge and passion to dozens of other members.

Although, it was difficult for her to decide what she loves most. “My favourite part about potting is anything to do with clay. I love teaching but I like making too, it’s a bit of everything,” she said.


To add context, it was important to include artworks, tools and of course the subject actually creating something. Using the rule of thirds, all of these elements have been highlighted as firstly the subject and artworks are located at the points of interest and the pottery tools are in the foreground, the lower third. A lower angle has been used to get down on the subject’s level to make the image a bit more personal, assisting in telling her story. It also creates the feeling of being there in the studio.  With regards to lighting, fluorescent lights were incorporated as well as some natural light. A high amount of light falling on the sensor caused higher exposure resulting in the overall lightness of the photograph. As a result, it is clear the image is taken inside a studio.

The image fits the brief because it tells of an individual’s story who belongs to a club. The content included adds a great deal of context to this story as the viewer can see Jackie in her element and doing something she does constantly as part of this specific club.




Nude Food Organics, September 16, 2016.

Gerry De Jonge, 58, closing his grocery and wholefoods store as the sun sets.

Majority of businesses support South-East Queensland changing to daylight savings to “extend the daylight” an extra hour each day. According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, those in favour of the decision said without daylight savings they were experiencing lower productivity and additional costs. Business owner Gerry said not having daylight savings was a real inconvenience and there should be uniform business hours throughout Australia. However, the State Government is against separating Queensland into two time zones.


Shooting at sunset created context to suit the brief and provided natural light which was pivotal in telling a story about daylight savings. This natural light also added warm tones to the image which are associated with that particular time of day. Although the lighting has created glare issues in the glass, it reflects the sunset and gives additional context as does the closing sign. Shadows were also created to represent the transition into night time and this was executed by using the sun as a side light that also created hard light which sharpened the shadows. However, it was important to not have the shadows on the subject’s face, but to highlight his expression instead so the viewer can engage with his story. There was just the right combination between light and shade to create such texture on his face, showing his concern.