Journalism and Law 2.0: Collaborative Curriculum Redesign

Journalism and Law 2.0: Collaborative Curriculum Redesign

Thomas Cochrane (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand), Helen Sissons (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand), Danielle L. Mulrennan (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) and Vernon Rive (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0359-0.ch010


This chapter extends the authors' 2013 IJMBL article that covered the establishment of a lecturer Community Of Practice (COP) leading to two journalism 2.0 project iterations in 2011 and 2012. Since 2012 the project has had an increasingly wide impact across the journalism degree curriculum, including the establishment of a specific third year mobile journalism course in 2013, and the integration of mobile social media into over six journalism courses within the degree. In 2014 the journalism COP was also broadened to include two law lecturers from the business faculty of the university to support the integration of new pedagogies within the law degree curriculum. This led to the exploration of new pedagogies within two law degree courses in 2014, including international environment law, and law and media studies. This illustrates the potential of a COP model for supporting the brokering of pedagogical transformation across the boundaries of different (but associated) learning contexts.
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The initial impetus for this project was a growing realization that journalism was in crisis (Hall, 2005; Hirst, 2011; McChesney & Nichols, 2010) that was highlighted by the importance of mobile social media within the ‘Arab Spring’. It became a question of; how should traditional journalism respond to a world where consumer preference is for music that is now distributed via the Internet rather than purchased on CDs, video that is streamed either live or on demand rather than played on DVD, and news that is distributed via a host of social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and viewed on mobile devices such as the iPad rather than by traditional print media? One of the responses has been to lay off staff. Internationally, thousands of full-time journalists in traditional roles have lost their jobs over the past five years (Guskin, 2013; Ponsford, 2014). Since 2008, Fairfax media has reduced its workforce by more than 3,000 people in Australia and New Zealand as a direct result of the impact of digital and mobile social media technologies social media uptake ( In our original paper, we argued that not only is traditional journalism in crisis but journalism education also cannot ignore the implications of the impact of mobile social media.

In response to these emerging issues, the authors decided to explore the possibilities and implications of journalism 2.0 within the context of journalism education. Journalism 2.0 as defined by the authors of this paper involves the exploration of two parallel aspects of social media in journalism education: exploring the embedding and modelling of social media in the delivery and pedagogy of a journalism course, and the exploration of the use and impact of social media on the practice of journalism in authentic contexts. This is based in the collaboration between an educational technology expert and experienced journalism lecturers within the framework of a community of practice (COP) investigating the potential of social media in the context of journalism education. Beginning in 2011, this was the first foray into integrating the use of social and mobile web 2.0 within the journalism curriculum, and the technology steward’s previous mobile web 2.0 experiences in a variety of educational contexts were used to broker examples of mobile web 2.0 pedagogy to the journalism lecturers.

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