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Bluesfest is dream work placement for students


Sharlene King
3 April 2012

Events like Bluesfest are fantastic opportunities for would-be broadcast journalists and music producers

Southern Cross University’s media and audio production students will be mixing it with the industry’s best at Bluesfest, Australia’s premier blues and roots music festival at Byron Bay, from Thursday April 5.

Justin Fenwick, who is in his second year of a Bachelor of Media majoring in journalism, is among a group of four media students who will be working at the Rhythms Magazine Q&A Sessions, located in the Cavanbah Tent.

“I am really excited and curious to see what goes on behind the scenes and learn how to report on a massive musical and cultural event like Bluesfest,” said the 20-year-old.

Justin and his peers will be responsible for recording respected roots music media identity Brian Wise’s interviews with musicians before posting the podcasts on the Rhythms Magazine website and the University’s SCU iTunesU site.

Armed with portable recording devices the media students will also be on assignment throughout the Bluesfest site, compiling vox pops and behind-the-scenes stories.

“As a journalist you’ve got to be adaptable and reproduce the same story across a number of mediums, like online, audio and print. Bluesfest presents me with a great introduction to the world of journalism,” Justin said.

The University’s Studio ONE29 production service is set to supply the PA system for more than 30 performances in the Cavanabah Tent, for artists such as Kim Churchill, Dan Hannaford, Mick McHugh and Blackbird, during the five-day festival.

A team of four audio production students will be operating the PA equipment under the direction of Studio ONE29 audio technical officer and Cavanbah Tent stage manager, Troy Schmidt.

Jeanti St Clair, a Bachelor of Media lecturer, said events like Bluesfest are fantastic opportunities for would-be broadcast journalists and music producers.

“Bluesfest gives them exposure to working alongside professionals so they can model their own practices and look at where they're at in terms of their own professional development,” she said.

“It also gives students the opportunity to add work experience and published material to their portfolios so it's a good confidence builder.

“Students generally come away from these work integrated projects with a lot of praise for how it has helped evolve their sense of professional identity and helped build their skills around working under pressure and to real life deadlines.”
Photo: Media students Justin Fenwick (centre), David Wilton and Gabi Jeffery will be reporting from Bluesfest.