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NWU's communication studies students showcase their practical skills

North-West University (NWU) students are showcasing their journalistic skills and talent by running a live student news site.

The site - threestreamsmedia - is a project of the journalism and media studies programme in the School of Communication and is the first of its kind at the NWU.

The site was launched on 18 February and follows an authentic learning model. International universities such as Stanford University and two other local universities also use this model in journalism and media studies programmes.

The main aim of this site is to provide local news that is credible, accurate and accessible to staff, students and the local community. The site was set up and is being run by honours students under the guidance of Andre Gouws, a lecturer at the school.

"This model offers students the chance to practice their journalism skills in a real-life online newsroom, by covering events across the NWU campuses and their local communities," Gouws said.

The site is part of the curriculum and students are assessed on all their journalistic work for the site.

"They are exposed to the real-life pressures of an online newsroom while gaining valuable workplace skills. Not only do they learn to work under pressure, but they also learn how to identify and package news stories and to deal with ethical challenges in the news environment," he added.

Stories are identified and written in their journalism practice module, presented by Dr Thalyta Swanepoel, who helps student develop journalistic writing skills and who guides them to identify newsworthy stories. The stories are then packaged for online consumption in the digital journalism production module, which is presented by Gouws.

"Having an independent news Web site has been a dream for a long time - also because the number of student and local printed newspapers that used to publish our students' stories have dwindled," Swanepoel said. "Now we practise news judgment and develop storytelling skills in a real-life environment where the students can see their progress and build solid portfolios."

Visit https://threestreamsmedia.com/ to have a look at these students' work. They are currently running an interactive project to identify all potholes across Potchefstroom to help drivers avoid the most dangerous roads.