Press Office


Journalism students in 24-hour deprivation and poverty global project

British Journalism students are taking part in a unique international experiment in digital reporting.

For 24 hours on 16 November 2013, the Newcastle University postgraduate students will investigate critical themes of austerity, poverty and deprivation, in collaboration with colleagues in the US, India and Taiwan.
In  the UK participants will use mobile and social media and their smartphones to report live from the streets of Newcastle, while their colleagues will be reporting in the same way from Los Angeles, Chennai and Taipei.

The project is expected to draw in a huge community of contributors on social media around the world, bringing new insights and understandings to a set of issues that affect millions of lives.

Poverty and deprivation are big problems in even wealthy nations such as Britain, but were largely ignored by the media until the effects of the global financial crisis took hold. Since then, much media coverage has focused on the political debates surrounding policies of austerity, which can tend towards simplistic accounts of causes, a search for simple solutions and blame.

Newcastle University journalism lecturer David Baines said: ‘These are complicated issues and our students and their colleagues overseas have been working for weeks to get past the simplifications.

‘They are using now-commonplace equipment in innovative ways to produce high quality journalism which explores these complexities, makes them transparent, and offers opportunities for those people who are often spoken about, to speak for themselves.

‘This is an experiment. We are exploring new ways of doing journalism, using tools that appeal to younger audiences who get most of their information online, and it might help to point towards new directions for journalism in the digital age.

‘There is a further international perspective to this project: our journalism students in Newcastle come not only from Britain, but many other countries including France, China, Spain, Germany, Iraq, Singapore, Turkey and the US. So they will bring fresh perspectives in their reports.’    

You will be able to follow - and contribute to - the international reporting project on Saturday, November 16. On Twitter, search for @popupnewsUK and @popupnewsroom.

The project has been heavily informed by research undertaken by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) in York into the reporting of poverty in the UK and the guidelines for good practice that JRF drew up with the Society of Editors and the Media Trust.
The Asian College of Journalism in Chennai is one of India’s leading journalism schools and it runs a world-leading course on covering deprivation. The course is a compulsory element for all its students who spend  an extended period living and working alongside some of India’s most disadvantaged people in both rural or urban environments.

This project was inspired by Dr Melissa Wall of California State University at Northridge who has developed the Pop-Up Newsroom. Journalism students report on events and issues using only their own mobile technology such as smart phones and tablets to highlight the experiences and voices of ordinary people rather than the institutions and organisations which often dominate much mainstream media coverage.  

This is the first time it has been extended internationally to explore global and local perspectives and the first time the approach has been applied to reporting on major social themes such as poverty, deprivation and austerity.

published on: 15 November 2013