The Reporting Diversity Project evolved from an earlier project called The Journalism in Multicultural Australia Project (JMA). The JMA commenced on 31 August 2005 and was completed in January 2007. It was funded by the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (now the Department of Immigration and Citizenship), under their Living in Harmony Program (now the Diverse Australia Program).
The JMA Project was a partnership project between the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and incorporated a number of Universities and other community organisations including Griffith University, the University of Canberra, the University of South Australia, the University of Western Sydney, Media Monitors and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). The lead University for the project was Murdoch University in Western Australia. More details on each of the partnership organisations can be found in the 'Member Organisations' section. The researchers had the benefit of advice and feedback from both a Media Reference Group and a Community Reference Group (see Consultative Structure).
Aims of the Journalism in Multicultural Australia Project
The principal focus of the JMA Project was to raise awareness about the way multicultural issues were being reported in the Australian media in order to identify ways of improving journalistic practice. The project partners worked on highlighting the challenges of reporting on multicultural affairs and on developing materials for skills-building which would help raise the quality of reportage and thereby enhance community harmony.
During the JMA project a set of curricula/professional development resources for current and future journalists was developed that aimed to inform the reporting of multicultural issues and events. The resources included a comprehensive review of the relevant literature, content analysis of both print and broadcast media, case studies and baseline data, as well as several curriculum modules which built on the collated resources and could be incorporated directly into teaching or professional development programs.
It was envisaged that these resources would be used to:
- encourage the inclusion of multicultural content in pre-employment journalist education and training;
- improve in-service training and development opportunities for journalism/media professionals;
- encourage best practice in reporting that impacts on community harmony issues;
- highlight the impact that reporting can have on community harmony; and
- monitor and analyse the characteristics of reporting of multicultural elements of news and current affairs in Australia.
When the JMA Project was completed in 2007, the reports and resources arising from the project were made available on the project website.
The Reporting Diversity Project
At the conclusion of the JMA Project in 2007, the project partners agreed to launch a follow-up project called the Reporting Diversity Project. This project would build on the work completed to date and also harness the growing support from stakeholders for the ideas being generated and the resources being developed. More detail on the RD Project can be seen in the 'RD Project Description' section.