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Students’ work quoted in House of Lords

Baroness Hamwee drew from journalism students’ articles in a speech about refugees

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Interviews conducted by City journalism students were quoted in a House of Lords debate on the experiences of refugees in the UK.

During the recent discussion, Baroness Hamwee used migrants' statements to illustrate the difficulties individuals face when moving to new countries.

The interviews were sourced from essays produced by students who had been tasked with researching and reporting original stories about the plight of migrants and refugees in Britain.

The students' papers also compared the first-person accounts with how migration issues are portrayed in the national media, especially in the tabloid press.

A sample of students then saw their articles published by journalist Zrinka Bralo on her website to coincide with Refugee Week 2015. As a result, their work then came to the attention of Baroness Hamwee.

Their professionalism and the quality of their work make me feel a bit more optimistic about the future of British journalism - Zrinka Bralo

The Liberal Democrat, who is on the Joint Committee on Human Rights, used the interviews to support her argument that the plight of refugees is often forgotten and called for the UK to take a “leadership role in a global society”.

An interactive map of ten entries, showing the nations across the world to which the stories relate, can be viewed here. The transcript of Baroness Hamwee’s speech is also available on the UK Parliament website.

Zrinka Bralo said: “It was great that Professor John Owen challenged his students to report on migrant and refugee issues. Not only because it is a very relevant topic, but also because it is so badly reported by the British media in general and press in particular.

“I was very impressed by the quality of their work and offered to publish it on our blog. So far five students took up that offer and judging by the social media response they reached at least 4,000 people.

“I also sent these reports to Baroness Hamwee who in her speech in the House of Lords debate on refugees directly quoted statements from reports, giving voice to young refugees from Afghanistan and Syria, but also raising the issue of fair reporting from the Leveson inquiry from one of the reports.

“This an example of how good journalism gives voice to refugees and migrants, who don't have a say in decisions about their lives. Good journalism can and should inform policy debate on immigration which has become so toxic largely because of sensationalist myths peddled by the tabloid press. It can also restore some dignity for those whose stories it tells.

“I am very grateful to Professor John Owen and to all students who delivered excellent work. Their professionalism and the quality of their work make me feel a bit more optimistic about the future of British journalism.”

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