Global peers and penpals

Sandra Symons has initiated global contacts for Journalism students

Journalism students can reach across the world and chat about professional practice and get critical feedback on their own writing through a new project "Peers and Penpals" organised by Humanities & Social Sciences' Senior Lecturer Sandra Symons.

Pennsylvania State University journalism students and UTS Journalism postgraduates can discuss mutual interests and one another's respective industry cultures by posting their stories on the Peers and Penpals Web site. Students are encouraged to comment on each other's writing and ask questions about ideas, angles, structure, use of anecdotes, quotes, creative narrative and descriptive techniques.

After networking with Pennsylvania State University's Professor of Journalism Tom Berner, Symons benefited from the exchange and wanted her students to experience a similar interaction.

"I have been in constant touch with Tom Berner by email, exchanging ideas, sharing tips and teaching resources and chatting about feature writing, writers, newspapers and magazines. It was such a fruitful and enjoyable exchange we decided to extend it to our students," she said.

"It will broaden their understanding of the marvellous world of journalism and introduce them to the work of their peers half a world away and the work of eminent feature writers in the USA, Australia and elsewhere.

"This is an exciting, innovative project that offers journalism students the world on a platter — we often discuss the work of fine American, Australian and European feature writers but this is an opportunity to discuss the work across cultural borders. Plus it offers our postgraduates a network of colleagues in America and encourages them to consider further study abroad.

"Who knows where that might lead them? A project such as this has never been done before — it's a first and just the beginning."