Earlier in 2021, ACICIS was delighted to welcome thirteen students on our first Virtual Journalism Professional Practicum (JPP) program amidst the pandemic and ongoing international travel restrictions. These students came from eight ACICIS member universities, including The University of Western AustraliaThe Australian National UniversityRMIT UniversityWestern Sydney UniversityThe University of QueenslandMonash UniversityThe University of Melbourne, and Murdoch University. Eleven students completed the JPP with the support of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.

Dr Ella Prihatini joined us as the Academic Program Officer for this program. With our in-country assistance, Ella managed the academic components of the JPP program and advised students on academic and industry-specific matters during participants’ virtual professional placement. Throughout the program, our team ensured that students were getting the most out of their time participating in the JPP program.

This year, slightly different from the previous cohort, we applied a combined timetable between seminar series, fieldtrips, language class, and professional placement within the six-week program. Students attend language classes, seminars and fieldtrips throughout the program. Students started their placements within the second week of their program and they undertook their 160 hours across five weeks.

For the seminar series, we invited high calibre speakers from various backgrounds, i.e., journalists, academics, researchers and leaders from the media industry and think-tank organisations, as well as lecturers and researchers from universities both in Indonesia and Australia.

The students were also encouraged to watch two movies as part of the program. ACICIS then also organised a Q & A discussion with representatives from these films. The first movie was Jalanan (Daniel Ziv, 2013), and students had the unique opportunity to chat with the director and producer of the film, Daniel Ziv. The second film was The Staging Post (2017). Jolyon Hoff, the director, and one of the casts and former refugees at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC), Muzafar, came to the second discussion session. These discussions brought a glimpse of Indonesia to our students.

Delivered by experienced lecturers from Pusat Pengajaran Bahasa (PPB) Atmajaya University, the Bahasa Indonesia classes were designed to help to immerse students in the Indonesian culture to help them through their professional placement and daily schedule during the program. Moreover, some JPP students were placed at media organisations in Indonesia where the language skill would be useful in approaching their news source.

The virtual mode of this program didn’t make the fieldtrips less exciting! The first fieldtrip was hosted by CNBC Indonesia, where they took us to their studio in Jakarta. JPP students were able to see the newsroom and the facilities that support it. Through in-depth explanation from CNBC Indonesia staff, students gained knowledge of international media, journalism practices and applying these practices within Indonesia’s media industry.

For the second fieldtrip the JPP students joined up with the Virtual Agriculture Professional Practicum (APP) students, where they visited Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands) virtually with Divers Clean Action (DCA). During the fieldtrip, DCA demonstrated the eco trip practices and sustainable tourism programs that they initiated with the local tourism providers and organisation on the island. DCA successfully delivered this fieldtrip in an interactive and insightful way and brought the ‘island vibes’ into the homes of our students.

For the main event, students participated in professional placements at their assigned host organisations in Jakarta. ACICIS partnered with seven host organisations for the first JPP program, including The Jakarta PostJakarta Globe, InClover MagazineAmnesty International IndonesiaDivers Clean ActionCenter of Reform on Economics Indonesia (CORE Indonesia), and Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia (CSIS). These are leading organisations in Indonesian media, consisting of online news and lifestyle magazines, think-tank organisations covering economy and social-politics issues, and organisation-based NGOs in communication and campaign departments.

We concluded the program with a closing ceremony and program evaluation, both delivered online. The APO held an interactive session to reflect on the personal bonding built between each other regardless of the distances and the time differences. Finally, we would like to thank all of the JPP 2021 cohort, host organisations, Host University, and speakers who made the program possible. We wish everyone all the best for the future, and we look forward to seeing all the students in The Big Durian when the world is safer to travel!