UTS Business students provide analysis for budget lockup
For the second year in a row, two UTS Business students joined Australia’s top journalists for a gruelling six-hour dissection of the Federal Budget.
Sans smartphones, students Nicholas Hodge and Ben Robinson – accompanied by academics from the Accounting Discipline, Senior Lecturer David Bond and Lecturer Nicole Sutton – travelled to Canberra to provide on-hand advice to reporters from 2SER 107.3 FM.
Hodge, an accounting student, says the pair were available throughout the day to assist 2SER journalists as they put together their various stories.
“We were each assigned a couple of reporters who would come to us when they wanted help with figures, wanted us to clarify meaning behind budget jargon, and to provide suggestions about stories they could write,” he says.
In order to prepare for the frenetic pace of the lock-up, Hodge and Robinson spent the month prior meticulously keeping up with media announcements and pouring over major trends in the Australian economy.
“We researched stats on things like unemployment and government debt levels, as well as any significant measures undertaken in previous year’s budgets,” explains Robinson, an economics major. “This meant that before the lock-up we were able to brief 2SER journalists on budget announcements already made, past economic trends and analysis, plus measures we expected to see in the budget.”
Though the opportunity to apply their skills in a media context was “rewarding”, Hodge says the “highlight” was undoubtedly working alongside politicians and media personalities in the lock-up room. “I got a nod from Scott Morrison on the way to his post-speech interviews, but aside from that, the energy in the room was just incredible.”
For Dr Bond, this year’s budget was the fourth he has worked on with the team from 2SER, and the second with the help from UTS Business students.
“I’m biased, but I think we achieved a great deal,” he says. “We put out a cracking one hour live broadcast relayed around the country; several amazing stories were packaged up and sent out over the Community Radio Network (CRN) over the following days, and we generated some top notch analysis.”
Also assisting behind the scenes and in the lead-up to budget night were UTS Business students Annastasia Diaczok (BBus/LLB), Rohan Indra (BBus) and Tim Wang (BAcc).
“I had several roles in the lead up to Budget night,” says Diaczok. “The actual Budget night was really intense – we started by listening to Scott Morrison’s speech, before working on preparing interview questions for the Think: Business Futures podcast extras.”
Together, Diaczok, Indra and Wang interviewed a number of UTS Business academics for the podcast – covering budget topics from Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to innovation and the environment.
Giving students the chance to communicate their knowledge to a new and non-expert audience, Dr Bond says the budget lock-up is a truly unique internship experience.
“As a University that prides itself on being work ready, this type of transdisciplinary project is a fantastic opportunity not only for students, but for staff to also get involved with,” says Dr Bond.
“Over the last five years’ it’s grown from two UTS representatives heading to Canberra, to over 25 journalists, academics and students involved in both Sydney and Canberra.”
Diaczok agrees. “I loved learning new skills and applying my skills to tasks that were outside of my specific comfort zone.”
“The budget experience was the perfect combination of taking skills that I have learned through my degree and applying them to a relatively new personal area of interest.”