UOW award winners mastering the media world

CELEBRATIONS: University of Wollongong Professor Sue Turnbull, Lucy Dean, Gemma Coleman and Professor Stephen Tanner at the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts 2017 Awards Night. Picture: Robert Peet

CELEBRATIONS: University of Wollongong Professor Sue Turnbull, Lucy Dean, Gemma Coleman and Professor Stephen Tanner at the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts 2017 Awards Night. Picture: Robert Peet

The pen used to be mightier than the sword but Gemma Coleman is finding the phone is the king of the media jungle nowadays.

To highlight the point the University of Wollongong graduate used her phone to tweet her success at the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts 2017 Awards night.

Ms Coleman only recently finished her Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies as well as a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Creative Writing degree.

Her efforts were recognised on Thursday night at City Beach Function Centre.

The 23-year-old received the Illawarra Mercury Prize for Communication and Media Studies, at UOW’s annual awards night.

Ms Coleman won the prize because she had the highest aggregate mark in two of her core third-year journalism subjects.

‘’I’ve never won an award. To win one as I’m winding up my uni degree is really exciting,’’ she said.

‘’It felt like a good way to finish off and be recognised for the hard work I’d put in over the past four years.’’

Ms Coleman said university study encouraged students to be ‘’current’’ in their reporting.

‘’Being on your phones when out and about was encouraged. We were also definitely encouraged to be live tweeting if we were at an event and to use these kind of platforms to interact with other journalists,’’ she said.

Ms Coleman was also constantly surprised at how current the courses were.

‘’We had to set up Twitter accounts and we were taught about recent events and how they were unfolding differently do how they would have unfolded before,’’ she said.

‘’When the Boston bombings happened and there was all this misinformation I guess coming from reddit and places like that – we looked at that as a case study which was happening a week ago and how it has been affected by the current state of the media...I thought that was really interesting.

‘’This is how we used to do things but that is not really relevant anymore.

‘’We use all these different platforms to create journalism and keep people up to date and we have to do it now because you don’t have the time you used to have.’’

This view was shared by Bachelor of Journalism student Lucy Dean, who was also acknowledged at the annual awards night.

She took out the Illawarra Mercury Journalism Prize for having the highest aggregate mark in two core 200 and 300 level subjects.

All winners on the night received a special certificate.

School of the Arts, English & Media acting head Professor Sue Turnbull said students were offered the best courses to cope with the changing media landscape.

‘’Whether they are doing a journalism degree or media and communication studies, in this day and age students need to have access to all platforms and mediums,’’ she said.

‘’We are very fortunate in that many of our students are thriving in this changing media landscape.

‘’We have a lot of creative young people. Many have created their own YouTube channels which are very successful.

‘’A number have also established their own companies. One student is using drones to inspect bridges for local authorities.’’  

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