Students Andrew Thorpe, Bo Daly and Evangelene Dickson inside the media centre at the G20. Photo: Genevieve Worrell.
Students Andrew Thorpe, Bo Daly and Evangelene Dickson inside the media centre at the G20. Photo: Genevieve Worrell.
27 November 2014

By Andrew Thorpe.

From reporting on US President Barack Obama’s landmark Brisbane address to analysing politics at the International Media Centre, University of Queensland journalism and communications students had all angles of the G20 covered.

Nine UQ students took part in two and a half weeks of intensive training as part of a School of Journalism and Communication Work Integrated Learning project dubbed “UQG20”.

They studied video production and editing, news reading, G20 history and riot safety, before gaining access to the International Media Centre at the heart of the G20 summit in South Bank.

The students produced two half-hour television programs (viewable here and here) to air on the Global Campus Network, an international network of university television stations with a global audience of more than two million.

In addition to these programs, the students contributed stories to their own website, took part in a panel discussion with students from Ryerson University in Toronto, and made extensive appearances in other media outlets.

UQG20 reporter and Bachelor of Communication student Bo Daly deemed the project a success.

“The whole experience was the best thing I’ve done so far at uni,” she said.

The UQG20 project involved former ABC Landline executive producer Peter Lewis, who produced the programs.

It was the fifth such project undertaken by the School of Journalism and Communication.

Students have previously travelled to Vietnam, as well as covering the International Indigenous Health and Knowledge Conference and the International Olympiad in Informatics.

Program co-ordinator and School of Journalism and Communication Lecturer Bruce Woolley, who arranged the students’ access to the International Media Centre, spoke highly of the benefits of such Work Integrated Learning projects.

“These courses are a success because they accelerate the rate at which students learn the technical and editorial skills required as well as their knowledge base of the subject,” he said.

“Also because they 'reflect in action' as they do their reporting.

“In my mind, there's no better way to learn about journalism and communication.”

Students took on an extra challenge when US President Barack Obama confirmed he would deliver a speech at the UQ Centre.

Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Communication student Aimee Hourigan said covering the President’s speech was a highlight of her G20 experience.

“Reporting on President Obama’s speech was definitely what stood out for me – not just because I was in the same room as one of the most powerful people in the world, but because I was among a select few media organisations and personnel who were actually allowed to report on the event,” she said.

All G20 work produced by the students was made available to other media organisations via creative commons licensing, which resulted in stories being picked up by The Sunshine Coast Daily and other outlets.

UQ student reporters also featured on major news programs and outlets, including Sunrise, ABC News 24, Triple J, Channel 7 News, Channel 9 News, ABC 612, The Australian and The Courier-Mail.

Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Arts student Evangelene Dickson said the experience was exciting but nerve-racking.

“I learned that part of being a journalist is thinking on your feet and improvising, and it was a huge help to be able to see professionals using those skills in the field,” she said.

This was the first project UQ has worked on with the Global Campus Network. The University is now a full partner and will produce several programs for the network each year.

UQG20 coverage can be found at, or at UQG20 on Facebook.

Media: Journalism student Andrew Thorpe, or 0437 028 200; Journalism Lecturer Bruce Woolley, or +61 7 3346 823.