In January, 2013 Logan City, just south of Brisbane, erupted in violence.
The low socio-economic area with one of Australia’s most ethnically-diverse populations, home to more than 200 ethnic communities, received national media coverage for so-called ‘race riots’. However, the reality was that the violence was in one street and was a clash between just two families.
A short time after the so-called riots, a group of Woodridge State High School students were walking to school, when they were approached by a news crew from one of Australia’s leading current affairs’ programs.
They were asked if they wanted to be on TV that night, and during the morning they were filmed at various locations around Woodridge. However, their exposure on national TV didn’t quite turn out the way they thought. They were depicted as the ‘gangs of Logan’ on one of Australia’s highest rating current affairs’ programs.
Although the news report was fabricated, the story provided an opportunity for the teenagers to think about and analyse media representation about their community, and in so doing, provided a launching pad for the students to take ownership of their personal and community-based stories.
The Change Makers’ Project was born.
The Change Makers’ Project is a service learning collaboration between journalism students from the University of Queensland and the students from Woodridge State High School. The project aims to build greater connections and cross-cultural understanding between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pasifika, Australian and newly-arrived refugee communities in Logan City.
Since its launch in 2014 the Change Makers’ Project has produced two magazines. It has won multiple journalism awards including:
The Dr Charles Stuart Prize for best student publication at the Ossie Awards for student journalism in 2014.
A Queensland Multicultural Award for best multicultural reporting in 2015.
This year the project has expanded to include a documentary, podcasts and a website. We hope you enjoy the true stories of Logan City.
The Change Makers’ Project is a participatory, transmedia, hyperlocal journalism project that uses non-traditional newsgathering techniques to tell the true stories of Logan City.
These techniques have been designed to empower the community and to allow them greater agency in the way their stories are told.
The project is centred on Woodridge State High School and tells local stories of global significance.
Traditional journalism paradigms are focussed on one-on- one interviews, bound by time, and are characterised by the journalist distancing from the story subjects.
The Change Makers’ Project uses a slow journalism approach to capture the unique stories of Woodridge State High School’s diverse student body.
Each year, six months is spent enacting relational journalism, where the journalists take their time getting to know the students.
These relationships develop slowly and are cemented over a diverse range of activities at school. It is through these relationships the authentic stories of the Change Makers’ Project develop and emerge.
Meet the Team
The Change Makers team is made up of dedicated journalism students from the University of Queensland. Our team continues to celebrate the countless stories of diversity from Woodridge State High School in Logan, Queensland.
Dr Scott Downman