Journalism students go live and thrive

Journalism student Brittney Mackenzie conducts a studio interview for the evening broadcast of The Source News

The atmosphere is like that of any newsroom approaching deadline. Last minute telephone calls and emails confirm facts. Final edits are approved. Charged discussions abound. Stories are recorded and ranked, yet still may change as new developments come to light.

At the point of no return, the second hand on the wall clock registers the top of the hour. The studio light shines red and reads “On Air”. It’s 5pm, time for The Source News.

Every Tuesday, second-year Journalism and Communications students from Griffith University produce and present 30 minutes of live news and current affairs, aired on the Global digital radio channel through Brisbane FM station 4EB.

For three hours leading up to the broadcast, the students’ compact newsroom-studio at Nathan is a flurry of activity. Stories up for consideration involve politics, sport, the environment, community issues, music and more. Interviews are recorded and edited.

Presiding over it all and acting as a voice of experience, encouragement and the occasional reality check is Ms Faith Valencia, director of Brisbane company Under the Bridge Media. Technical support comes from Griffith’s Production and Facilities Manager (Gold Coast and Nathan), Bevan Bache, and former Griffith Journalism student Ashil Ranpara, now with the Multimedia department in the School of Humanities.

“This is the first year we’ve had our own radio studio and produced actual broadcasts, thanks to a partnership between Griffith Journalism and 4EB. It’s been an invaluable experience for the students,” Ms Valencia said.

“They know this is not a simulation. This is about finding real stories and interviewing real people about real issues and then putting those stories to air.

“It can be daunting. The time passes quickly and only seems to speed up as the bulletin looms, but there is also a palpable sense of excitement, motivation and achievement.”

Matthew Williams and Jane Orme in the newsroom
Matthew Williams and Jane Orme in the newsroom

The local media is also taking note, with several Griffith students completing internships with the likes of 4BC, 4ZZZ, The Wire and the ABC.

“We are very strong on ethics, story attribution, social conscience, equality and telling all sides of a story,” said Ms Valencia, whose journalism career has included stints with the Armed Forces Network, the ABC, Triple M and 4BC.

“Even though we are a small news outlet and need to be realistic about the stories we pursue and the people we can interview, it is so pleasing to witness the improvement in the students’ confidence and their ability as they thrive on the buzz of the newsroom and the satisfaction of a successful broadcast.”

For more examples of the work of Griffith University Journalism and Communications students, go to www.thesourcenews.com