Reporting Diversity
Case Study Six

International students in Australia


Coverage of international students in the pages of The Australian newspaper over the period of a year, between the beginning of November 2004 and end of October 2005 revealed a number of key themes. As The Australian is a national publication, most of the 58 stories published during the year were general, rather than local, in nature. Most stories focused either on issues affecting international students or their study, or on the international student market in Australia. Of those stories which focused on specific cultural groups, Chinese students were the most frequently mentioned, as either the victims or perpetrators of crime. In some instances, the reference was widened to include Asian students more broadly – for example, in the headline “Asian student gambling plague exposed”. Other areas of focus included outcomes for international students, visas, and racism, in particular, racist comments by Macquarie University academic Andrew Fraser. Stories covering the international student market examined issues such as voluntary student unionism, its likely impact on international students and potential inequities in the levying of student fees. Most of the rest of the articles in this area focused on the international student market more broadly. Asian countries were a central theme of this coverage, although this may reflect the importance of Asia as a market for Australian education. Also mentioned were concerns about the number of university places being offered to international students and the possible effect of this on places for local students.

The Australian (reporting period November 1, 2004 – October 31, 2005)

  • Searched Newsbank on December 20, 2005; January 6, 2006; January 10, 2006
  • Search terms “international students”; “foreign students”; “overseas students”
  • 58 articles
  • Excluded were a series of articles reporting on IDP Education Australia (the main recruiter of international students, owned by Australia’s 38 universities)

The articles divided into two distinct groups. The first group concerned international students generally, covering issues regarding their experiences, pastoral care on campuses, student visas, post-study outcomes and similar matters. The second group focused on the international student market, and was largely concerned with fees, generating income and marketing Australian education.


Member : Murdoch UniversityMember: Griffith UniversityMember: University of South AustraliaMember: Media MonitorsMember: SBSMember: University of CanberraMember: Journalism Education AssociationMember: University of Western Sydney
Department of Immigration and Citizenship