It’s news to me: inaugural UQ Great Debate takes on citizen journalism

23 Mar 2016

Get out your Smartphone and set it to record: the inaugural UQ Great Debate will be held on Wednesday 19 September during Research Week and the changing nature of the media is under the spotlight.

Mediated by Steve Cannane, seasoned journalist and presenter from ABC TV’s The Drum and Lateline, Ten's The 7PM Project and Triple J’s current affairs program Hack, the debate will see two undergraduate students, two research students and two academics pitted against each other.

Testing both their wit and their wits, debaters from the School of Journalism and Communication, UQ Business School and the Global Change Institute will wrestle with the proposition: News, news everywhere:we are better off with citizen journalists.

Sam Ferguson, from UQ Graduate School, hosts of the event along with the Office of Undergraduate Education, said “it’s a topic that everyone can relate to and something that will entertain and inform.”

And the debaters really know what they are talking about.

Skye Doherty, for the negative, is a journalist. She is currently an industry consultant at UQ's School of Journalism and Communication and a Master of Philosophy student in the university’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. 

She, along with Amalia Buckerfield and Dr Sean Rintel, will argue that we are not better off with citizen journalists because the content they create does not meet any professional standards.

“As a professional journalist I am bound by codes of practice that citizens are not, which makes me doubt the veracity of user-generated content.

“Just because someone tweets something newsworthy doesn’t mean they are a journalist. Do you want your news coming from some bloke in his underpants with an axe to grind?”

Carl Smith, for the affirmative, is completing a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor Journalism, runs JACradio, is an award-winning journalist and “aspiring radio national hermit”. He believes “citizen journalism plays an integral role in the distribution of news and information today, especially in this rich media environment where anyone can stop to take a photo or update their friends on an event.”

“More broadly, it helps to democratize the flow of news - something that we are taught is ethically responsible as a journalist.

“Although I'm sure our competitive streaks will shine bright for the debate, I'm really looking forward to picking apart the topic and hearing what everyone has to say,” adds Carl.

Carl’s teammates for affirmative are Dr John Cook from the Global Change Institute and Liam Pomfret, PhD student from UQ Business School.

Following The Great Debate the Graduate School and the Office of Undergraduate Education will host drinks and canapés in the theatre foyer. 

Location: Schonell Theatre - Cinema 2

Date: Wednesday 19 September

Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm

RSVP - Friday 14th September

More details:

12 September 2012