Asia Pacific Media Educator


This paper examines the effectiveness of a set of curriculum materials developed for a Reporting Diversity and Integration Project tailored for Australian journalists and journalism students. The materials take a problem-based learning (PBL) approach to a hypothetical case study that involves Muslim netballers being banned from competition because they want to wear headscarves during play. Deferring to ideas developed by Russian psychologist, Leo Vygotsky, we proposed a few ‘scaffolding’ strategies to support student learning. The material was trialed with 30 first-year Deakin University journalism students and 30 regional journalists. The responses showed that both groups felt the materials we added to the curriculum resources, which provided information on Muslim women and the headscarf, affected how they would write the story. They also thought it was important to provide this kind of information for readers. This paper argues that providing cultural information in an accessible format for students and journalists in newsrooms should be integral to education and training materials designed to improve media coverage of cultural diversity issues.