Experiential learning and journalism education: Special Olympics - a case study



Publication Details

Tanner, S. J.., Burns, S. G. and Green, K. "Experiential learning and journalism education: Special Olympics - a case study." Australian Journalism Review 34 .2 (2012): 115-127.

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Australian Journalism Review


One of the primary challenges facing journalism educators is replicating the “real world” environments into which their students move once they graduate. Most university-based journalism programs establish a newsroom environment in which students undertake some subjects. Yet frequently they have little contact with people considered “vulnerable”– that is, individuals or groups who, by virtue of their race, religion, disability or other factors, struggle to gain access to the media. These groups – when they do feature in the media – can be misrepresented and/or negatively portrayed because journalists do not understand their specific circumstances. Using the IXth Special Olympics national Games in Adelaide in 2010 as a case study, this paper uses David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory to reveal how journalism students can quickly develop new skills and an appreciation of disability while working to daily deadline pressures.

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