Bond University Senior Teaching Fellow, Caroline Graham has given some of her Bachelor of Journalism students the chance to put their super-sleuthing investigative skills to the test, by being involved in a six-part, podcast series being produced for The Australian.
‘Lost in Larrimah’ was produced by journalist Kylie Stevenson and Caroline Graham and tells the story of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty, one of just 12 residents of the tiny Northern Territory town of Larrimah.
The podcast series, which has been made in collaboration with Bond University, is available from The Australian website and iTunes. Since its launch last weekend, it has become the #1 new Australian podcast and is ranked #12 in the iTunes podcast charts.
Ms Graham said she and Ms Stevenson had been thrilled with the public response to the first few episodes of the series and the opportunity for her students to be involved in such a fascinating real-life project.
“Since I first heard about Paddy’s disappearance, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it—it’s so mysterious, and so heartbreaking for the other residents in this tiny town,” said Ms Graham.
“We hope that the strong public interest in this case might also generate some new leads for police investigating the case.
“And at the same time, the town has such an important history and its residents are such colourful and extraordinary people. We also wanted to produce a tribute to them, and to the town which is so quintessentially ‘Australian’, while at the same time investigate a serious, unsolved missing person case.”
Ms Graham noted her investigative journalism students this semester had a keen interest in true crime and podcasting, and knowing they would need to undertake their own projects next semester, she offered them the opportunity to become involved in Lost in Larrimah.
“The students who put up their hand to be involved have been brilliant,” she said. “They’ve been primarily working as researchers, helping track down audio grabs, fact-checking and acting as early testers on the episodes themselves.
“Their drive, enthusiasm and insight make me feel so confident about the future of journalism.
“These students are being credited as researchers on the episodes they’ve worked on and we’ll also look to use the series as a teaching resource in coming semesters.”
Second-year journalism student, Emily Bradfield, who came to Bond University from Scots PGC College in Warwick, said the opportunity to be involved in a project like ‘Lost in Larrimah’ was very exciting.
“I’m a bit of a true-crime buff, with aspirations to go into broadcasting in the future – so for me, this was an amazing opportunity.
“I’ve been helping doing a lot of background research and case notes, exploring links between Paddy’s case and another case, and trying to track down his beloved dog, who is also missing.
“I love storytelling and hearing about people’s stories, so being involved with a podcast like this is a dream come true. Plus, I’ve learnt so much.
“I think what appeals to be most about a podcast in particular is its storytelling abilities. As it’s a purely aural medium, you really have to enhance your storytelling ability to make sure you engage your audience.
“Journalism is a tough industry to break into so this type of opportunity to gain hands-on experience on a podcast for The Australian makes a world of difference.
“It will definitely give us an advantage in our future careers.”
Fellow journalism student, Cloe Read who came to Bond University from Merrimac State High School on the Gold Coast, said she relished the opportunity to dive deep into the project.
“The fact-checking and research into the local community I was involved with was incredibly interesting,” she said.
“Down the track I would like to get into investigative journalism, so to have the change to do truly deep investigation and reporting was fantastic.
“Podcasting is such a great and different way to tell and listen to a story and it is becoming increasingly popular, so it was brilliant to be exposed to, and learn a new skill.”
To listen to the ‘Lost in Larrimah’ podcast, go to www.theaustralian.com.au/podcasts - and if you enjoy it, please be sure to give it a great review on iTunes!