Bias debate links student journalists with media experts

Notre Dame students engage with Adjunct Professor Peter Kennedy, Dr Mignon Shardlow,
Paul Murray and Dr Martin Drum during the 'Bias in the Media' panel discussion.

14 May 2014

The University of Notre Dame Australia is delivering practical learning opportunities to students through positive initiatives designed boost industry contacts and enhance graduate employment outcomes.

Delivered through the School of Arts & Sciences in Fremantle, politics and journalism students engaged with some of Western Australia's leading media experts during a panel discussion titled 'Bias in the Media' on Monday 5 May 2014.

The panel comprised veteran political journalist and Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame, Peter Kennedy; former editor of The West Australian newspaper and current Drive show host on 6PR Radio, Paul Murray; and former journalist and Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media at Notre Dame, Dr Mignon Shardlow.

Students prepared questions and engaged in academic debate with the panel on the nature of bias in today's media and to what extent it is inevitable and acceptable in a liberal democracy.

Conversation flourished on topical issues such as the confidentiality of a journalist's sources; the role of ethics in interviewing techniques; and the role of the organisation and individual in 'influencing' the level of bias in reporting.

"This initiative really shows how much effort Notre Dame puts into creating opportunities for students to be exposed to industry leaders and current ways of thinking in our chosen fields of study," Arts student, David Jones, said.

"These opportunities give a 'real world' meaning to our studies which creates great enthusiasm among students."

Laws/Arts student and Notre Dame Student Association President, Emma Bagg, said the ability to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom in a practical environment was invaluable.

"Notre Dame's relationships with industry professionals such as Peter Kennedy, an individual I've admired since high school, gives students such as I the opportunity to develop these contacts and build professional relationships in the early stages of our professional careers," Emma said.

Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) student, Marilyn Marshall, said the session was successful in broadening her horizons into the changing nature of the media.

"I was really interested in the way that reporting in the media has changed over the past 30 years; especially with the onset of social media as being a primary and immediate source of information for some journalists," Marilyn said.

Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Dr Martin Drum, said it was fantastic to get standout journalists like this together to discuss an issue as significant as bias.

"Paul Murray and Peter Kennedy both have decades of experience covering local and national politics. I couldn't think of anyone better to contribute to such a discussion," Dr Drum said.

"Dr Shardlow's contribution reminds us of the outstanding skills and expertise we have right here on Campus."

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