Inflammatory Australian media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers – an utterly marginalised subset of those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities portrayed as "mad, bad, sad or other" (Phillips & Tapsall 2007a, 2007b; Phillips 2009; Phillips 2011) - is frequently blamed for entrenched bigotry against these groups (Posetti 2007, 2009, 2010; Ewart & Posetti 2010; McKay, Thomas & Blood 2011).
How should journalism educators respond to this problem? And how should they respond in the context of an increasingly converged and social media-engaged industry, with a research objective?
At the University of Canberra (where the lead author taught broadcast and social journalism from 2003-2012) final year broadcast journalism students were partnered with the region's peak refugee agency, Canberra Refugee Support (CRS), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, students at The Australian National University’s School of Music (who composed original music to score the stories under the supervision of the secondary author (who then taught Music at ANU) and the e-democracy portal OurSay. This was a public journalism (Rosen 1999, Gillmor 2004) project updated for the Social Media Age, with an emphasis on student reporters facilitating community engagement, participating in crowdsourcing and content amplification via Twitter, Facebook and blogs (C.f discussion of investigative social journalism practices and principles in Posetti 2013). The project became known by its Twitter hashtag #ReportingRefugees.
This paper will discuss the project’s creative outputs, present the findings of a content analysis of fifty-two reflective practice blogs produced by the journalism students involved, and consider the reflections of project partners in the context of implications for future collaborative projects developed in accordance with this model.