Intrigue in the Big League

A uni student's intrigue in marketing and media

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Teachers slam Education Minister


TEACHERS wanted to go on strike and picket outside the Education Minister’s office after he said they had a lot of “down time” and could afford to look after more students.

Education Minister Peter Chandler made the comments after his Government decided to increase student-teacher ratios in senior and middle schools.

The ratios determine how many teachers are sent to a school, not the number of students in each class.

He said on Friday: “There’s quite a bit of down time for teachers.” >> read more at ntnews

This article by ntnews (Northern Territory News) outlines the comments Education Minster Peter Chandler made about teachers and the student-teacher ratio increases.

The article mainly shines a negative light on the Minister. It’s quite a short article, and although it has quotes from the Chandler himself, it still seems to portray him as the “bad guy”. That might sound childish, but somehow the article manages to shape the quotes from the Minister to make him sound arrogant.

“If there’s 27 students in a class with one teacher, but you’ve got a teacher-student ratio of 14:1, what are all the other teachers doing?” Minister Chandler said.

The article includes quotes from Australian Education Union NT president Matthew Cranitch. He explains the amount of work teachers have to do and that their “time off” isn’t actually hours they spend relaxing at school, those hours are spent marking, preparing and writing reports.

“It demonstrated to me, and many others, that he doesn’t quite understand education and what teachers actually do,” he said of the Minister’s comments.

The article appeals to teachers. If a teacher were to read this news story, they would definitely finish reading it feeling happy that the article had addressed the issues with the comments made by the minister, and also happy that they made the Minister seem uneducated about the amount of work teachers do.

The article also includes one of the comments that was written by a reader in the body of the text, labelled YOUR SAY. This is becoming a common method on news websites to allow the readers to interact with the story and give a response.

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Global village of students, teachers and families

“Some ‘‘really amazing’’ blogging is being done in Victorian schools, and often the best work is being done by younger students, says James Farmer, the former Deakin University education technology lecturer who left academic life in 2005 to establish Edublogs, his blog-hosting website, as a global operation.blog_pic_scooledu

Mr Farmer now has 20 staff in a dozen countries, and his site hosts the blogs of a million school teachers and their students, along with just as many academics and thousands of universities, government departments and school districts on almost every continent. For all that, he says, ‘‘Around the world, the Victorian Education Department is our biggest client and has created its Global2 webpage as a free Edublogs campus site, with thousands of teachers and their students as bloggers.’’

Mr Farmer says blogging appeals to teachers and children from prep to year 12 for much the same reason he originally started blogging.” >> read more

This article by ‘The Age‘ is a story about blogs becoming part of education at Primary Schools. It focuses on one primary school teacher in particular (Mrs Morris) who realised how blogging could be a tool for teaching “reading, writing, speaking and listening.”

The article is very positive. It portrays the relationship between blogging and education as one with only good results. The people interviewed for the article had only nice things to say about blogs as a part of education, or were only quoted on the good things. A lot of different information was given about blogs and how they were being incorporated into learning, however the information mainly outlined how easy the process was, and the good things that have come from blogging in the classroom.

“Blogging changes how you learn, [it] motivates children to improve their reading and writing literacy skills [and] gives them the chance to express their own thoughts and opinions,” Mr Farmer said.

While the relationship between blogs and education might only have positive results, the article has no professional opinion to prove this. It also doesn’t have a wide enough range of sources to show the opinion of the public. While the article didn’t bluntly say that “blogging + education = good”, and did use the opinions of relevant sources and not their own, it didn’t include other sources that might have different opinions.

If they had asked parents what their opinions of blogging in schools were, they may have responded that it was confusing for both them and their child and they thought only the basic practical education should be taught to children at primary school.

If they had asked students what their opinions of blogging at school was, they may have responded that they found blogging boring and difficult, and didn’t understand what the purpose of blogging was.

To write a balanced version of this news story, ‘The Age’ would need to interview further relevant sources, such as people who are effected by blogging in schools, and include their opinion in the story. If they had interviewed a professional who had studied that nature of blogging in primary schools and had found statistics that proved students benefited from the relationship, the article would aslo have more credibility.

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Education Department takes taxi service from autistic boy

A MOTHER of an autistic child was told by the Education Department he couldn’t use a taxigovernment-provided taxi service for his 300km round trip to school because of allegations the child was aggressive.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said she was given just two days notice at the start of the school year that her son, 13, would be transported by a different taxi driver.

As a result of the change in driver, she said her son’s behaviour worsened and the Education Department withdrew the service this month.” >> read more at adelaidenow

This is an article by adelaidenow, and tells the story of an autistic boy and his mother having problems finding transport to Murray Bridge Special School from their regional home. The mother claims this is because the Education Department withdrew taxi services which they previously used for transport.

The article starts off with just one opinion, that the mother and boy have been poorly treated by the Education Department. The article first gives the mother’s opinion, then touches on a similar story which again points out a flaw in the Education Department’s system, and the next source is an opposition education spokesman.

Usually, when journalists need to find conflict in a story, they can rely on the opposition of a department to supply a good argument. Opposition leaders and spokesman often take these opportunities to point out flaws in current government’s system, hopefully encouraging voters that the next election should bring change and therefore a new party might be voted into leadership.

“It is an entirely unacceptable set of circumstances for a child with autism to be left unable to attend school as a result of this appalling mismanage,” Opposition education spokesman, David Pisoni said.

“Another parent has had to come to the Opposition and the media to tell her story about the lack of process and the mismanagement of this system within the Education Department.”

While the article was quite biased against the Education Department up until this point, the next source helped to balance out the news story.

“Education Minister Jennifer Rankine denied transport assistance had been withdrawn by the department.”

Although Minister Rankine’s involvement in the article was left to the very end (hinting that it is not as important as the information at the beginning of the story), it is included. Without her quotes, the article would have been completely one-sided and the readers would have no idea what the Education Department was doing to fix the problem and what their reasons were for the actions they took.

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School sex video teens may face porn charge


Cape Town – Two boys and a girl involved in the high school sex video scandal could still find themselves in court facing criminal charges.

On Thursday, police confirmed the case was opened against the three youngsters.

“We can confirm a case was reported,” police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

“This is a very sensitive case and no further comment will be made on the matter.”

The Grade 11 learners were expelled from school last year after they were recorded having sex in an empty classroom. (IOLnews, 2013)

This was an article originally printed in the ‘Daily Voice’ local South African newspaper, then later published online by IOL (run by independent South African newspaper groups).

The article highlights an incident that happened at a school in Capetown. The incident was a sex tape. The sex tape went viral on the internet and was eventually brought to the attention of the principal who expelled the 3 students involved.

I found this article interesting because I wasn’t aware that there was such a great access to the internet in South Africa. Also the fact that the video went viral means that the students from the school would probably have communicated and shared the video over social media networks. I did a bit of research and found the following statistics.stats

South Africa social media stats (2012):

  • The population estimate in South Africa for 2012 was nearly 49-million (US Census Bureau)
  • That means around 13.8% of the South Africans are using Facebook as at least one social media nework.

Australia social media stats (2012):

  • That means around 66% of Australians are using Facebook as at least one social media network.

The difference between the statistics of South Africa and Australia is obvious. Australia has a much larger percentage of Facebook users in the country. However Australia’s population is half the size of South Africa’s. As a developing country, 13.8% is a large amount of Facebook users for South Africa.

This shows just how easily students might be able to spread the video over social networks.


A further observation of the article:

The article shows the actions taken by the principal, the teachers and the police after the incident. It doesn’t include a statement from the students involved to incorporate their view and opinion of the incident. However, this could have been because the students did not want to be involved with any publicity towards the incident.

Apart from some unnecessary detail about what happened in the video, I think this article gives a tactful report of the event and tries to stay objective.

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Australian Prime Minister proposes education reform

The Sydney Morning Herald’s article:

Biggest education reform in 40 years: PM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has offered state and territory governments $2 for every extra $1 they invest in education, under her plan to boost schools funding.

Ms Gillard on Sunday announced details of Labor’s schools improvement plan, saying it was vital to Australia building a world leading education system.

At the heart of the deal is extra base funding of $14.5 billion over six years from 2014.

“It’s a lot of money, but I believe it is a wise investment in our children’s future and our nation’s future,” she told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

The following clip is to show the PM’s strong position on the reform and was supplied by Julia Gillard’s Twitter page:

The clip and the article are both agreeing with the terms of the education reform, and the fact that it is necessary to improve the future of education in Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald’s article is completely one sided and in favour of Julia Gillard. It shows all aspects of the reform that are positive and only shows the views of the Prime Minister. The article is comprised of facts about how the reform will improve education in Australia backed up by quotes only from Gillard. The article does not show the opinions of the state and territory leaders or the views of people who might oppose the reform.

In an article by The Canberra Times, Gillard lays out the sums on Gonski’, they show the positives and negatives of the reform. It explains that while primary and high schools will benefit from the reform, universities will suffer. They quote Fred Hilmer, vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales.

“This is a bitterly disappointing shortsighted move on the part of a government which claims education as one of its highest priorities. It is an absurdity to seek to provide students with a better education at school by providing a worse experience at university.”

The Canberra Times shows a more accurate account of how the reform might impact on all aspects of education in Australia and tries to include opinions from many different sources.

They also include several different pictures of the different sources giving their opinion of the reform. This creates the scene for the audience. The Sydney Morning Herald supplied no pictures in their article.

The contrast of these two articles shows how some traditional media outlets can be subtly biased.

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School education to help obesity fight

A FOOD education program by celebrity chef Stephanie Alexander should be expanded to every primary school in Australia in the fight against obesity, experts say.


The recommendation is one of five lobby group Obesity Australia is pressuring the federal government to act on, saying the costs of failing to tackle the epidemic are too great.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is planned to operate in a tenth of primary schools by 2015.

But in its report released Thursday, Obesity Australia says expanding it across all Australian primary schools will revolutionise the next generation’s food attitudes.” >> read article

This an article I found on It first summarises an education program involving chef Stephanie Alexander that should help the fight against obesity. The program is due to be introduced to a tenth of primary schools by the end of 2015, but lobby group Obesity Australia insists spreading the program across all primary schools will have greater effect.

The article then introduces some statistical information about obesity and adds a quote from Obesity Australia executive chair Professor John Funder:

“Obesity is killing people, draining the public purse and dragging down the country’s productivity,” he said.

The rest of the article gives more information on what Obesity Australia is asking for and what it will cost the government if they decide to take the action Obesity Australia suggests.


The article appeals to parents who might have children that are just about to attend school or overweight children in school, overweight parents who want a healthy change for their child and school staff that are concerned with the rising weight average of their students.

The article is slightly biased. It shows the views of Obesity Australia but not anyone else. If a government official had been interviewed would they have stated that they didn’t have the money or needed to spend the money on something of higher priority. If an obese parent had been interviewed would they have stated they were happy with their weight and diet and didn’t think the program was necessary. No negatives are shown in the article at all. However, most of the public are usually in agreement when it comes to fighting childhood obesity.

The angle this article adopts is one that suggests obesity is rising in Australia, and obesity starts at school with children. For the issue to be resolved, the government needs to take action.

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Education for detainees

YOUNG asylum seekers will begin classes in Tasmania’s education system next week.

Up to 150 teenage boys housed at Pontville Detention Centre will start their study through the Tasmanian Polytechnic, to be re-named TasTafe later this year.

Most will study at the central Hobart campus while some lessons will take place on site.

The children, who come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, among other countries, are unaccompanied and began arriving in January. Education Minister Nick McKim said the students were aged 15 to 17.”

(themercury, 2013)

This is an article by the Tasmania Mercury that addresses an issue that hasn’t been covered much in the media. When refugees are trying to make it safely into another country, education might not be the first issue to cross everyone’s minds. However, many of the refugees are teenagers and need to be educated. The Tasmanian government is offering education to asylum seekers. They now have the opportunity to study at TasTafe in Tasmania.

I think this article raises an important issue. Yes, at first the most important thing for the asylum seekers is to find a safe place to be away from the brutality of their home country. However, as the refugees start to seek work in their new home, they might find it hard to communicate, fit in and understand the change in culture. In Australia, refugees are finding it especially difficult if they don’t understand English. The opportunity to study the English language gives asylum seekers more of a chance to find work and fit in to society.

Although quite small, the article still has a strong structure. There are many insightful and informational quotes from the Tasmanian Education Minister, Nick McKim. One even describes what and how the boys will be taught.

mcKim“Their program of study will focus on English language training, similar to the youth migrant program currently delivered at the Polytechnic to ex-humanitarian entrants who are now permanent residents of Australia,” Mr McKim said.

“This includes being taught English through a range of practical activities, which incorporates social studies, maths and environmental studies.” (themercury, 2013)

The size of the article, however, highlights some flaws. All quotes are from the Education Minister. There are none from the teachers or students at TasTafe, none from the asylum seekers, and none from the general public. This article portrays only one opinion. There is a short reference to Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children, Aileen Ashford, yet there isn’t a quote included.

So while this article raises an important issue, it is a very one sided story, mainly entertaining the ideas of the Tasmanian Education Minister. Any concerns or objections other parties might have are not included in this article.

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Chicago school closings provoke confusion, anger among parents

Alexandre Dumas Technology Academy Elementary is seen in Chicago, Illinois

“Nanette Fouch does not understand why her granddaughter may have to transfer from a Chicago elementary school earmarked to close partly because of poor academics to one where students scored even lower on a recent standardized test.

Marcus Garvey is one of 53 elementary schools, and one high school, that Chicago Public Schools said last week it intends to close by late August. In all, 61 buildings are to be closed, representing 10 percent of all elementary school buildings. If the plan, which requires approval by the school board in May, is carried out, it will be the biggest mass closing by a school district in U.S. history.” (, 2013)

This is an article about Public Schools in Chicago being closed by late August. The article does research perspectives from many sides of the story.

Some parents are worried that their children will suffer academically by moving to a poorer performing school. Some are worried about class sizes. Some are worried about the safety of their child as they walk between between neighbourhoods due to gang violence.

While parents raise questions and become angry over the situation, school district officials are insisting that closing schools is sometimes essential to save money and redirect sources.

Some parents of children who attend Mount Vernon Elementary (the school which students from Marcus Garvey will change to) are content with the decision. Mother Shardy Martin stated that:

“There aren’t that many kids in either school, and if they put them all in one, that’s more money and resources in one school.”

The fate of Marcus Garvey and the other schools will not officially be determined until a board meeting is held on May 22.

The article references school district officials and their logical reasoning behind the choice to close the schools; such as reduced student enrolment resulting in unused facilities and more money for the schools left to upgrade their facilities.

This article tries its best to display the views of every party related to this article and express the opinions of all affected and concerned publics.

This article is newsworthy because it has conflict, is relevant to locals, and is a current/ongoing story.

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Teachers warn early music education under threat

Teachers, academics and musicians are warning that shrinking budgets and standardised testing are taking the focus off teaching arts subjects such as music in early childhood.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO), which is treating primary schools to an annual series of concerts, says music is a “right” and children are being sold short.

“I don’t think children are getting enough exposure to music at a primary school level,” QSO conductor and Griffith University academic Peter Luff said.”

(ABC News Report – ABC News article)

This article by ABC News is very informative and tries to stay objective.

Starting with the title: Teachers warn early music education under threat – it explains that the teachers are warning about the threat. If it were: Early music education under threat – the audience could understand this to be the opinion of the news reporter or corporation. So the article has a good, objective title.

The article contains two videos, one of the news report and one an interview with two sources. These videos add to the content of the article and show how the internet allows journalists to incorporate different forms of media into one article.

The article also has quotes from at least three different sources. This gives the article diversity and shows that different parties are concerned about the issue. The quotes make up a large percentage of the article and this gives it more authority and professionalism. There are also links included in the article which provide referencing in a different form.

This article is a good example of objective journalism. It presents the news issue, introduces the people who will be affected and the people who are concerned and explains the proposed solution to the issue. It always shows the opinion of its sources but never becomes bias and stays objective. ABC News is generally a reliable traditional media outlet when it comes to staying objective.

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Millions wasted training teachers

TENS of millions of dollars are being wasted training teachers who do not enter a classroom, with federal and state governments spending at least $16,500 on each student teacher every year despite up to 90 per cent in some states failing to find a job.

Universities graduate about 16,000 new teachers every year across the nation, half of whom are primary teachers, but an oversupply in the workforce means the vast majority of new teachers struggle to find work in schools.

Shortages exist in maths and science teaching, but across the rest of the profession universities are producing more teachers than required, particularly in primary teaching, with tens of thousands of teachers on waiting lists in the biggest states.”

(The Australian, 2013)

This is an article reviewing the amount of students studying to be teachers at universities and how the money spent on their training is a waste. The report explains the money is wasted because many of the students are unable to find jobs in teaching after they complete their course.

The article offers a lot of statistical information, including the following:

“90 per cent of teachers graduating university in NSW and Queensland fail to find a job, while about 40,000 teachers in NSW and 16,000 teachers in Queensland are on departmental waiting lists for a permanent job.”

Statistics to show evidence of unemployed people with university degrees for teaching are displayed throughout the article, however there are nearly never any sources to show where the information was gained.

Statistics are often used without providing a proper reference in news reporting. The following clip is part of a Today Tonight story, it uses statistics that are vague and without a reference to strengthen the argument. (Only the first 2 minutes are relevant to statistics)

In this clip, Today Tonight states that it costs the average family $1455 extra to cover shopkeeper losses. This statistic could mean anything to the audience. Is it per month? year? lifetime? And why the average family? Does that mean every family has youth that shoplift? The figure has no real meaning, it is just meant to be a large number that means families are losing money.

The article by The Australian and the report by Today Tonight both show how the use of statistics can be abused to have the desired effect on news stories.