Journalism students Ben Bilua (The University of the South Pacific) and Jack Meehan (Swinburne University) have won fellowships to attend the Constructive Institute in Denmark. The fellows were selected from hundreds of students, across 27 institutions, who submitted stories for The Junction‘s Constructive Journalism: Making a Difference 2020 project. The project was funded by the Judith Neilson Institute.
Ben Bilua’s winning story, ‘Cultivating sustainable food practices in the Pacific‘, looked at how home gardens are supporting local economies in the Solomon Islands, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The judges said the story was detailed and focused on solutions, giving it a strong constructive approach.
Jack Meehan was selected for his story, ‘Australia’s gas-fired recovery: Does it stack up?‘, which explores the implications of the Australian Government’s drive for increased gas production. The judges described it as an excellent background piece, based on extensive research, complemented by strong multimedia elements.
The Junction‘s editor Andrew Dodd said the Constructive Journalism project had given the students the chance to showcase their skills and ideas.
“We were delighted with the quality and range of the work submitted by the next generation of emerging journalists,” he said.
Fellows to attend Denmark’s Constructive Institute
The fellows will get to spend one month at the Constructive Institute at Aarhus University in Denmark, where they will work with the institute’s founder and CEO, Ulrik Haagerup. Mr Haagerup is a former executive director of news at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
Ulrik Haagerup said working with the next generation of Australian and Pacific journalists had reignited his hopes for the future of journalism.
“The student’s curiosity and passion for truth, their understanding of both the power and responsibility of storytelling and their commitment to work for the common good by applying both critical and constructive reporting tools shows a clear path for democracy and the news media of tomorrow,” he said.
Mr Haagerup set up the institute in response to the increasing tabloidisation, sensationalism and negativity of the news media. The institute promotes solutions-focused, nuanced journalism that makes a positive contribution to democracy.