Launched in 2013 and led by Walkley-award winning journalist Simon Mann, The Citizen is an independent and innovative teaching platform that publishes research and writing from Master of Journalism students while creating co-publishing opportunities within the industry.
As a real world publication it faces the same legal, ethical and political pressures as any industry media outlet. Its annual ‘New News’ conference, held in partnership with The Wheeler Centre, aims to connect the media industry with the wider public. In its short life The Citizen has published a number of important stories and won awards, such as the OurWatch Award for the best local and community story on domestic violence and the Ossie Award for ‘Best Student Publication’. In 2015 alumna Bec Zajac was named international journalist of the year in the Women’s Empowerment Media Awards for her reporting in The Citizen, beating an international field of professional journalists. The publication has also launched ‘Uncovered’, a website developed by and for Australian journalists interested in best practice reporting on violence against women.
The University is focused on developing students who are engaged citizens, providing support and facilities in a learning environment that resembles the real world. The Citizen demonstrated this focus by enriching the learning experience of its graduates and preparing them to enter the industry as work-ready experienced reporters who can take on leadership roles and contribute to society. In acknowledgement of the value this program contributes to students’ experiences, The Citizen and its editor Simon Mann have received the inaugural Excellence in Engagement – Teaching Award.