Community Journalism Training Project

A comprehensive, accredited training program for community broadcasting volunteers and station personnel with an interest in developing their skills to become community journalists.

The state of our news

Australia’s broadcast news environment has seen enormous change in the past two decades, with a growing shift away from media diversity to a concentrated media landscape that has led to a reduction of local news capacity and a lack of diversity in content.

Significant commercial shifts – such as the merger of Macquarie Radio Network/Fairfax and the Nine/Fairfax mergers, the closing of suburban and regional newsrooms and the substantial changes to the ABC – has created an environment where the role of community media telling local stories in local communities has never been more critical to the six million Australians who tune in every week.

During the 2019/2020 summer bushfires, community radio stations across five Australian states found themselves at the frontline of a national disaster, providing critical information to local communities and reporting the stories of the impact both as it happened and in the aftermath.

Throughout the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, Australians in urban, regional, remote and culturally diverse communities turned to community radio and TV for health warnings, travel updates and restrictions and culturally and linguistically relevant information when it was needed most.

At a time of significant concentration of media power and control, community broadcasters and journalists are an increasingly vital information source – and a champion of local content, news and alternative voices.

How will we respond?

We want to empower community-based journalism across Australia through the Community Journalism Training Project. This project will provide comprehensive training and accreditation for community media volunteers, staff and community members with an interest in community journalism.

In partnership with the Community Media Training Organisation (CMTO), a registered training organisation (RTO), the program will equip participants with the skills to report on local news and current affairs confidently, while upholding journalism’s core ethics and functions.

The Community Journalism Training Project will build the capacity of individuals at community stations to use existing resources through the National Radio News network to produce professional, credible local news and current affairs.

Demand for community journalism is increasing, as mainstream media continues its retreat from local storytelling. The community sector’s commitment to independent, community-led news is reflected in our Enhanced National News Project – a $3.2million project supported through multi-year funding from the Australian Government, as well as contributions from Charles Sturt University.

Encouraging cross-station collaboration, this project builds the capacity of community radio stations across Australia to provide quality news services to listeners.

The Community Journalism Training Project will equip community broadcasters to tell local stories by providing the following training options:

  • Online introductory course: Open to community broadcasting volunteers
    Self-paced online course on practices of news production by ‘citizen’, ‘participatory’ and ‘community’ journalists
  • National pathways workshop series
    In-community workshops for community broadcasting volunteers and station personnel
  • Accredited training for community journalists
    Certificate IV Screen & Media – Accredited qualification in screen and media studies
  • Mentorship projects with highly skilled professional journalists
    • Producing local news bulletins and packages for air-play and distribution online
    • Producing news packages for airplay and distribution via the National Radio News service
    • Leading news team to produce daily news bulletins and packages for national distribution
  • Journalist Accreditation
    Graduates will be accredited as journalists working in the community media sector

Our project will increase capacity in local community stations to tell local stories and uphold the ethics and ethos of a fiercely independent media sector.

Award-winning community journalism

Byron Bay community station, Bay FM, has a proud history of community journalism – reporting on local issues with rigour, integrity and passion to provide a vital platform for local stories and voices where mainstream media doesn’t reach.

Bay FM’s Mia Armitage has built a solid reputation as a formidable community journalist through a series of award-winning reports on local issues from her hometown of Byron Bay. Mia’s work offers that unique local perspective that comes from being part of the community you’re reporting on.

Photo: Bay FM’s award-winning journalist Mia Armitage

Why support the Community Journalism Training Project?

Before Mia’s stories won awards, she participated in a journalism skills training course at community radio station 4ZZZ. Mia is now one of the community broadcasting sector’s most important storytellers.

Our Community Journalism Training Project will empower community broadcasters, like Mia, to tell the stories that make a difference at a local level, ensuring diverse voices are given access and opportunity to be part of local conversations. These stories can also be shared through our Community Radio Network and Enhanced National News Project, ensuring local stories are heard in every news cycle, including those in regional and rural areas.

Philanthropic support for our Community Journalism Training Project will build capacity in our sector and ensure the diverse stories of Australian life continue to be championed and heard – at a time of increasingly centralised mainstream media landscape. Support for this training will build on existing community broadcasting networks and leverage the Australian Government’s multi-million-dollar investment in the Enhanced National News Project.

Help us strengthen diverse voices in a changing media landscape and achieve the community broadcasting vision that supports an open society, a strong democracy and vibrant cultures.

Get in touch

The project is partially funded. If you’re interested in becoming a funding partner on this or any of our other sector-wide projects please get in touch. We welcome the opportunity to tell you more about how we’re supporting the largest community-owned, independent media sector in Australia.

We gratefully acknowledge our funding partner Collier Charitable Fund and continue to seek funding partners to complete delivery.

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