Kuwait visit (Issue 19, 2009)

Kuwaiti_AKThe Kuwaiti government is hosting a delegation of ten Melbourne journalism students this month in an effort to encourage fair and reasoned reporting of the Middle East based on the authentic student experience of the country.

La Trobe students Erdem Koc, Kelly Theobold and Tom Cowie are three journalism and media studies students chosen to be a part of the delegation which will leave at the end of October.

Erdem, current editor of the University's online magazine Upstart, applied because it was a unique opportunity to broaden his global perspective. In his final semester of law and media studies at La Trobe, Erdem has already travelled to Turkey, Burma and China.

'I was told that young journalists needed to be 'got' while they are still in development and open to new ideas, and it really struck a cord with me. I really want to get the Middle Eastern perspective from the Middle Eastern perspective, and then use that experience to file stories for La Trobe's online magazine, Upstart.'

Erdem says he is grateful for the opportunity to enhancing his journalism education, and 'push the boundaries' of his knowledge.

‘The Kuwaiti media seems to be one of the more vocal in the Middle East, and I am really interested to see how the country operates. I am sure we are only given a certain side in Western media.’

Currently working part-time at the SBS, Erdem says the trip will provide unique networking opportunities, and introduce him to the world of Kuwaiti media networks, financial institutions, culture, law and politics.

Jillian Hocking, a working journalist who heads Screen and Media at the Institute for Design, Entertainments and Arts (IDEA), hand-picked the delegation from hundreds of applicants after approaching the Kuwaiti government to sponsor the program. She hopes that study tours as this one will help to improve the understanding of Kuwait and the Middle East in Australia.

The tour won't be a holiday - Jillian says the students are being prepared to 'hit the ground running' and interview, edit and file stories right away to a media network or Upstart.

La Trobe University delivers a Bachelor of Journalism, as well as a Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Journalism.