The write stuff: Southern Cross Uni students report like pros at Byron Writers Festival

Published 31 July 2019
Byron Writers Festival Byron Writers Festival

Southern Cross University student journalists will return for a ninth year to report news from the frontline of Byron Writers Festival.

The team of students from Digital Media & Communications and Creative Writing degrees will spend three days creating content for the official festival blog at byronwritersfestival.com/blog

Journalism lecturer Jeanti St Clair said the experience for student reporters is eye-opening and enhances their professional writing skills.

“The Festival is a full-on three days, but everyone in the team finds it teaches them so much about reporting from a live event. It means the students really hit the ground running. They come away with a sense they really could become a journalist,” said Ms St Clair, who edits the blog content.

Last year the student reporters turned out 21 articles – around 15,000 words – which were published on the festival blog and on Festival social media channels.

Each day begins with an editorial briefing at the Southern Cross University digital newsroom at the Festival site, where students are assigned sessions to cover. Behind the scenes Ms St Clair works with the students as supervising editor, suggesting clarifications and helping students turn their initial drafts into published blog posts.

Digital Media and Communications student Sara Runciman travelled from Coffs Harbour in recent years to join the reporting team.

“By Festival’s end, we are churning out blog posts and tweets like pros,” she said. “I am looking forward to this year when we can do it all again.”

Southern Cross University is a founding partner of Byron Writers Festival, and has recently signed a new three-year sponsorship agreement. 

Festival director Edwina Johnson said not only does Southern Cross University provide ongoing sponsorship support for our festival every year, each year the student reporting team make an invaluable contribution to the Festival providing live insights into the many sessions and stimulating conversations taking place. 

“We have built a strong relationship over the years, and we are extremely excited to renew our partnership for another three years,” Ms Johnson said.

“Southern Cross University’s Student Reporting Team has been an integral part of the Festival since 2011, working from the Festival frontline to produce stories and session reviews, photographs and social media content.”

The Student Reporting Team are based in the onsite newsroom, which is solar-powered by the SCU Sunflower, next to the Southern Cross University Marquee.

Follow the Byron Writers Festival Blog at byronwritersfestival.com/blog to keep up to date with conversations and action across the weekend from 2-4 August in the beautiful grounds of Elements of Byron resort.

Media contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794 or jessica.nelson@scu.edu.au