Journalism students from around the world will join forces to report on local instances of deprivation and poverty tomorrow, as part of the #livepoverty project from the California State University Northridge (CSUN) journalism department's Pop-Up Newsroom project.
The students – from Newcastle University; the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, India; the National Chung Cheng University in Minxeung, Taiwan and CSUN – will use mobile reporting tools and techniques to look at the causes and consequences of poverty in the local communities.
"There's a tendency for the topics to be told by politicians, and the story to be led by politicians, rather than by those who are suffering and living the life," David Baines, a senior lecturer in journalism at Newcastle University who is leading the UK side of the project, told Journalism.co.uk.
The students in Newcastle have been researching the topic for weeks, said Baines, by meeting people at the Big Issue, interviewing figures from local authorities, investigating food banks and housing problems and building contacts and content.
By interviewing both the people who run the organisations and those they try to help, Baines said he hopes students will find a more nuanced view on issues of income inequality and poverty.
"Political organisations try to find simple answers, simple causes and simple messages," he said. "Good journalism is about going beyond that and trying to make the complexities transparent rather than trying to simplify things.
"In terms of journalism education, part of what we're doing is seeing how we can do that with the platforms that are now available as well as drawing on traditional skills and knowledge and understanding."
Students will report on Twitter throughout the day, using #livepoverty globally and #PopUpNewsUK in the UK.
Ian Wylie, a lecturer in multimedia journalism at Newcastle University, said students will be using Audioboo, Soundcloud, Videolicious and YouTube apps to record their content before uploading it directly to the Pop-up Newsroom website through the Weebly publishing app.
All interviews, reports and tweets will be collated automatically through social curation platform RebelMouse to the website, where student editors will also be curating topical stories from third parties manually, he said.
"We may still get a lot of students coming back to the university and using their laptop," said Wylie, "but we want to show them it can be done quickly and easily on the go."
Baines said the project had been largely influenced by research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, working with the Society of Editors and Media Trust, and the guidelines on reporting poverty it published in 2008.
"We wanted to put them into practice so our students have been looking at that," he said, "reporting on how people come to be in poverty."
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