Australian journalists build new networks in China

21 March 2017

Three Australian journalists travelled to China for a media exchange program, holding masterclasses with Chinese students and participating in Chinese literary events.

Three people greeting each other in a meeting room.
Steve Pennells and Trent Dalton with Jan Adams, Australia's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. Credit: The Walkley Foundation.

Walkley Award winning journalists Trent Dalton (The Weekend Australian Magazine), Caro Meldrum-Hanna (Four Corners, ABC), and Steve Pennells (Seven and The West Australian) travelled to China in 2016 as part of the Australia-China Journalist Exchange Program. The two week program aimed to build relationships between Australia and China through experiences and education for reporters.

Australian journalists ran masterclasses at leading universities across China facilitating an exchange of ideas and expertise. They also met with recent Chinese journalism graduates and participated in public events at The Beijing Bookworm Festival and AustCham in Shanghai.

‘We  seek to create new links and an ongoing dialogue between Asian journalists and the corporate, media and government sectors in Australia to increase their understanding about the economic, social and political climate in Australia as well as facilitate public diplomacy in the Asia Pacific,’ explains Lauren Dixon from The Walkley Foundation.

During masterclasses, Chinese journalism students had the opportunity to open dialogues with the Australian journalists, exploring issues of ethics and best practice journalism. The sessions highlighted the common challenges facing traditional media in the new media environment and drew attention to some of the innovative solutions of Chinese media to these challenges.

‘The students and young professionals were also able to discuss more practical issues, such as how to engage readers and make international reporting relevant to local audiences, the challenges of self-censorship and the impact of the current digital climate,’ explains Lauren.

‘Both sides gained first-hand insights into current issues in both Chinese and Australian media environments. Feedback was overwhelming positive as the sessions were all unique, inspiring and engaging.’

Panel of speakers in a bookshop.
Trent Dalton, Jacqui Park (Walkley Foundation CEO), Steve Pennells and Caro Meldrum Hanna hold a panel discussion at the 2017 Beijing Bookworm Festival. Credit: The Walkley Foundation.

The program was supported by the Australia-China Council (ACC). The ACC was established by the Australian Government in 1978 to promote mutual understanding and foster people-to-people relations between Australia and China.

Grant rounds are currently open for projects deepening connections between Australia and China.

Last Updated: 21 March 2017