During the current school term (term 4), Year 9 students engage with a new form of non-fictional text (the documentary) which allows for the exploration of concepts and perspectives.  In particular, students explore how these perspectives are created through construction, storytelling, bias and film techniques. This unit encourages them to examine a wider range of perspectives regarding global issues as they are asked to examine the construction of and messages within documentaries.

It was therefore opportune to invite Old Boy Tim Swanston (2011) back to Churchie to speak to the boys. Tim is a multiplatform reporter for the ABC, currently based in Brisbane. He joined the ABC in 2017 and has worked as a cross-platform video journalist in Cairns. Tim is currently a reporter for triple j HACK which, put simply, talks about the stuff that matters to young Australians.

Tim opened by explaining what ‘news’ boils down to and described what news organisations do. He then spoke about the concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘attribution’ when reporting news. With a passion for reporting on issues impacting young people, Tim went on to share his work and how they utilised current affairs structure and other techniques. Using examples of his own recent reports, he further explained the persuasive techniques content-makers use in current affairs story-telling, with a particular emphasis on sound, talent and narration style.

The knowledge Tim imparted and the practical manner in which he did so provided the boys with valuable insights and different perspectives on the art of storytelling which will stand them in very good stead as they further their study in this unit.