The Curriculum Modules aim to provide journalism trainers in universities and industry with realistic scenarios to assist in increasing cultural awareness amongst reporters and to improve reporting practice in story selection and the treatment of material involving people from diverse ethnic communities. The resources were developed by Lynette Sheridan-Burns of the University of Western Sydney.
Each module comprises a hypothetical scenario along with the sort of supporting information (reports, interviews) that a reporter would be likely to have access to in a similar situation. A series of questions or discussion points is also included to stimulate reflection and class discussion.
Curriculum Module One
This module deals with a potential news story involving allegations of racist discrimination against Muslim netballers. The dispute about netball uniforms is, on the face of it, about club rules and conformity, however as the various parties present their views about the whether the covering of girls’ bodies is a sign of oppression or liberation, it becomes clear that the underlying theme for the journalist’s consideration is actually that of assimilation.
Curriculum Module Two
When journalists repeat damaging or inflammatory comments, without testing their veracity, they can make a bad situation worse.
This module deals with the challenges for journalists in reporting about issues that could impact negatively on community harmony. In this case you are dealing with an on-going political situation in the local community where a right-wing group is making damaging public statements about an individual ethnic group. As a journalist, you have the opportunity either to sort the facts from the harmful speculation or to reinforce inaccurate perceptions which could exacerbate the conflict in the community.
Curriculum Module Three
An important source of news is the steady stream of official reports and other publications produced by government and non-government organisations. Such reports can be long and cover many different topics and the best news stories are not always immediately apparent. This module provides students with a real report and guides them through the process needed to extract meaningful stories from it.
The report referred to in this module can be accessed here
Curriculum Module Four
Open conflict between different groups within a community will always draw the attention of the media because it brings together issues of law and order with issues of social cohesion. When the conflict is between groups formed around religious beliefs or ethnicity, it takes on another, more serious dimension. This module presents a scenario where rivalry between two local football teams has raised ethnic tensions. Once the ethnicity of the protagonists in a conflict becomes part of the story, the journalist must choose a careful path between reporting racist behaviour and fuelling the negative stereotyping that supports racism.