Communications & Media

Real-world clients ‘blown away’ by quality of media students’ projects

University of Tasmania media students earned high praise when they showcased a suite of projects they had conceived and developed for the State’s peak community organisation, TasCOSS.

The projects were the centrepiece of a pilot second-year unit in Professional Practice and Industry Engagement, offered by the Journalism, Media and Communications program in the School of Social Sciences. The unit aims to build confidence and industry understanding to prepare media students for the transition into a professional placement in their third year of study.

“We know from unit evaluations and anecdotal feedback that many students feel anxious about going straight from the classroom into a placement or internship within journalism, media and communications,” said coordinator Dr Katrina Clifford, who received a 2017 UTAS Teaching Development Grant to support the pilot unit’s development and evaluation.

“This new unit provides students with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with workplace practices and expectations, and to build professional networks and interact with the community, by simulating the experience of the challenges and opportunities of working with a real-world client on a time-sensitive campaign, under the guidance of an academic coordinator and industry mentors.”

The client brief provided by TasCOSS asked students to promote the current campaign for a Human Rights Act in Tasmania.

Over the semester, students worked in small project teams to design and deliver podcasts, a blog, explainer videos, a campaign event and social media strategy to educate the public on human rights, break down stereotypes, and encourage Tasmanians to sign the petition in support of the Act’s introduction. Their work culminated in an end-of-semester showcase on Friday, 20 October, attended by the client, industry partners, and the students’ industry mentors.

The responses from guests were a testament to the students’ hard work and professionalism.

“We are just blown away by how well everyone has done,” said TasCOSS Communications Officer Nic McBride, who acted as one of the client contacts for the work-integrated learning experience, along with Zara Gudnason, TasCOSS’ Communications Assistant.

“We were really impressed by the insights you all had into what you were doing and what you learned about what you were doing as you went along. That’s something that you need to keep through your whole working life, and that you have that ability now is remarkable,” Ms McBride told the students.

“The quality of the work I’ve seen here today is of a very high standard, and TasCOSS would be proud to use it publicly alongside the work our own team produces,” TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes said.

“I think that’s a really important message for the students, the University and the community sector; that we are producing graduates here in Tasmania that can function at a high level and who are producing work that’s instantly appropriate for the industries in which they will work in the future.”

Photo credit: Richard Williams

Published on: 27 Oct 2017 9:55am