RMIT's renowned journalism program has partnered with Fairfax Media to develop a new hands-on course, in an Australian-first media collaboration.
The Innovation in Modern Journalism course will be trialled at RMIT's School of Media and Communication and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) this year, with a view to permanent inclusion in the journalism programs from 2016.
The industry-based course links students with day-to-day newsroom challenges.
Students will be challenged to find new ways to engage with audiences at a time of great flux within the media industry, with media consumers migrating to modern, mostly digital, platforms.
Deputy Dean of Media in the School of Media and Communication, Associate Professor Lisa French, said the program would be a significant advantage for RMIT students.
"The students will gain networks, hands-on knowledge, and potentially mentors," she said.
"Students will have a direct line to industry personnel, and will have insights into current change and issues within the journalism profession from the inside."
As part of the collaboration, third-year Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) students will work with Fairfax on the trial curriculum, which will focus on innovation in modern journalism.
Fairfax staff, including journalists as well as Fairfax CEO and Managing Director Greg Hywood, will engage directly with students to make presentations and answer questions.
Fairfax Media national news director Sean Aylmer said newsrooms were changing rapidly to meet audience demand so it was important journalism students were aware of the challenges they would be expected to face in their future workplaces.
"New roles are emerging to effectively manage the daily news cycle, and each specialist has their own set of challenges," he said.
"We feel it is important for journalism students to be aware of these challenges so they feel comfortable with the innovation process, modern storytelling techniques, and emerging news platforms.
"Newsroom management has changed. We realise that young journalists in many cases will be the drivers of technology. Their ideas are critical to the success of our business."
Associate Professor French said the collaboration was a cutting-edge, industry-engaged activity that RMIT's competitors would not be able to duplicate.
"In identifying RMIT, Fairfax is indicating that they hold our degree, and our graduates, in the highest regard," she said.
"This opportunity was not offered to any other Victorian universities."