21 young people from across Australia had their voices heard at the News Champions National Forum on Oct 20-22nd 2019, hosted at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) in Canberra.
Held during National Media Literacy Week, the two-day event saw 21 students aged 10-17 come together to discuss the future of news media and to train to be News Champions who are equipped to lead discussions and engage with news in their local communities.
The students also developed questions to contribute to a national news poll for young Australians to be promoted by ABC Education in 2020.
Developed in partnership with MoAD, Western Sydney University, Queensland University of Technology, ABC Education and Google Australia, this event was a response to our research findings that show that young Australians have very low levels of trust in news media, while they are also largely ignored by news media organisations.
Video footage featuring the 21 news champions is now featured in a new exhibition at MoAD titled, Truth, Power and a Free Press. This exhibition explores why journalists do the work they do, examining the ongoing battle for truth and representation in the media. It opened on 15 November 2019 and will remain open for several years as a semi-permanent exhibition.
In our event evaluation 100% of the participants were satisfied with the event experience: 95% of participants stated the event exceeded their expectations. All 21 have written detailed testimonials about their experience. They include:
Finn, 10, New South Wales: “This amazing event meant so much to me. Not only did it teach me about the news and how it influences democracy, but we learnt how to influence the news. I met new people from all over the country with similar views to me and I learnt to take news from a variety of reliable sources. This had a real impact on my current life and my future.”
Andrew, 13, South Australia: “The News Champion Forum meant a great deal to me. It was the first time I had ever been brought into a group of young people so keen to discuss, share opinions, knowledge and ideas on news media and what it means. News isn't a big topic (or even a topic at all) in the school curriculum and that surprises me considering its key role in our current and upcoming society. The event was an experience I'll never forget and has furthermore sparked my interest in the news.”
Anon: “The Australian News Champion Forum was one of the most memorable experiences of my life so far. I learnt so much on Australia’s democracy and loved working with a group of like minded people who all wish to ensure that the voice of young Australians isn’t just heard, but used and acknowledges in news media. This forum provided me with an insight into news media, teaching me about journalism, news articles and broadcasts. I couldn’t be happier or prouder to say that I got to participate in this incredible opportunity…amazing and something I will never forget.”
The project team are providing ongoing mentoring to the 21 News Champions to support them to engage with the news in ways that matter to them and to lead public discussions about the future of news.