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Site updated May 2014


Fletcher never thought retirement would happen to him
Due to ill health, JTO CEO Mike Fletcher will retire in May. His doctors say with rest and relaxation he should be OK. Mike’s replacement is Karyn Scherer, a journalist of many years’ standing. She will be based in Auckland and will be attending industry liaison committee meetings nationally. The logistics of future JTO meetings is still to be decided.

A ceremony was held at the recent JTO meeting to mark Mike’s departure. Guests included Bob Cotton and Mary Major. Clive Lind said Mike’s experience would be missed: Mike had worked his way up from a junior reporter to a senior executive in the journalism industry, working in newspapers both here and in Australia. He had also spent many years on the JTO. Clive thanked Mike for his great service. Grant Hannis thanked Mike for all his hard work on such matters as unit standards reviews and the Intro book, as well as his unfailing good cheer. Bernie Whelan noted Mike’s commitment to journalism students and journalism training, saying Whitireia’s students were entranced by Mike’s recent speech to them.

Mike thanked everyone for their kind words and remembered, as a young reporter, covering similar events when “some worthy” retired. “I never thought I’d end up being in the same place!” Mike added that journalism was the best job in the world, offering so many opportunities. He said the two key skills for any good journalist were good interviewing technique and good writing. He had greatly enjoyed his career and now looked forward to retiring to Opotiki with his wife, Jane, to enjoy some fishing. Mike was presented with several gifts, including an original New Zealand Herald from 1959 when he began his journalism career.//Grant Hannis

Pictured: Bernie Whelan, Bob Cotton, Grant Hannis, Mike Fletcher and Clive Lind.

AUT bid for World Journalism Education Congress
With support from the Jeanz membership, the journalism team at AUT University has put together a bid to host the World Journalism Education Congress in 2016. The WJEC council is expected to decide on the 2016 host city in August this year.

The 42-page bid document (pictured right) was put together with help from the Ministry of Tourism and the Auckland Convention Bureau, part of Auckland Council. It included letters of support from Jeanz, the JEA, the Pacific Islands Media Association and the Mayor of Auckland. The 2016 congress will be the fourth held by the WJEC. The first was held in Singapore in 2007, the second in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 2010, and the third in Mechelen, Belgium in 2013.

Russel Brown is AUT's Journalist in Residence for 2014. He will be conducting a series of interviews in AUT's Media Centre this year. He will focus on issues of media and democracy, journalism and inclusive society and the media coverage of the elections. The first interview was held last month with New Zealand Herald journalist David Fisher. Russel was the founding host of both Radio New Zealand's Mediawatch and TVNZ 7's Media7 and is preparing a new media TV show for Maori Television. He currently writes for Matters of Substance and Metro and says he still has a few copies of the book he edited, Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas about ourselves.

Mixed picture on 2014 journalism enrolments
A total of 33 trainees are undertaking the JTO’s National Diploma in Applied Journalism programme. Five trainees recently graduated, CEO Mike Fletcher reported to the recent JTO meeting. Greg Taipari, who graduated in 2011, was recently appointed chief reporter of Hawke’s Bay Today – the most senior appointment for a graduate thus far.

The JTO’s survey of J-School enrolments confirms that numbers are down this year. The national figure for 2014 enrolments is 231; in 2013 the number was 281.The 2014 numbers are:

Aoraki: 20 (13 NDJ)
AUT: 70 (20 postgrad, 50 BCS degree)
CPIT: 20
Canterbury: 13
Massey: 21 (17 PGDJ, 4 MJ)
SIT: 11
Waiariki: 0 (in abeyance)
Whitireia: 44 (29 NDJ, 10 Cert, 5 Radio)
Wintec: 24 (12 degree, 12 NDJ)

Mike Fletcher noted that the reasons for the decline included students questioning journalism as a career and the removal of the student allowance for postgraduate students. He argued the J Schools must market their courses to help arrest the decline. Three Fairfax trainees are currently doing the diploma through Fairfax's in-house programme rather than attending a J School. Grant Hannis noted that, should Fairfax expand its cadetship scheme, this will likely reduce student numbers further.

Moderation: Moderation of the J Schools will take place on November 4-5, 2014. The JTO will moderate news writing and news photography. Moderation material has been sent to the J Schools. Although he is retiring, Mike Fletcher will still be involved in moderation at the end of this year.//Grant Hannis

Minutes of the March 27 JTO meeting

Don't Spoil My Beautiful Face - book launch
A new book described by top global investigative journalist John Pilger as an “extraordinary secret history” about South Pacific politics and media will be launched at AUT University this month. In Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific, published by Little Island Press, independent journalist and AUT media educator Professor David Robie reveals many hidden stories in his sweeping overview.

He also calls for a more comprehensive, reflective and in-depth media response to the region’s environmental and political challenges from Tahiti Nui and Polynesian nations in the east to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste and West Papua in the west. Dr Robie reported on the conflict between France and Kanak activists in New Caledonia that almost ended in civil war. He was harassed by French secret service agents and arrested at gunpoint. He was on board the original Rainbow Warrior on her last voyage that ended with the bombing by French agents in 1985. He has reported on coups in Fiji and the Philippines, and was a media educator in Suva in 2000 when his students provided award-winning coverage of an attempted coup. He has also reported in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

TVNZ Pacific current affairs journalist Barbara Dreaver will launch the book at the AUT University Library on Thursday, April 24 from 4 to 6pm. More information

Order book online from AUT Bookshop.

Call for papers for Media, War and Memory conference

AUT University's Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) centre is calling for papers for its Media, War and Memory conference, scheduled to run on September 18-19. A century after 1914, it is timely to consider how World War I was started, prosecuted and reported on, from different national perspectives. How does this conflict appear in retrospect? As a prequel to World War II? The ‘beginning’ of the 20th century? Or as an avoidable, stand-alone catastrophe? These questions provoke wider reflection upon the connections between media, war and memory. What are these connections? And, how have they changed over time?

Abstracts are due by June 30, 2014 (400 words maximum). Send them to: / /

JMAD conference poster PDF

Intro launched at Jeanz conference
A new edition of Intro, the standard New Zealand journalism textbook, was launched at the Jeanz conference at AUT University in Auckland.

Edited by Massey Journalism head Dr Grant Hannis, the book features chapters written by a range of journalism educators and journalists.“The book reflects the modern journalism environment, with chapters on using social media to find stories, writing for the web and digital photography,” Dr Hannis said at the launch.

“But the basics are also covered, with, for instance, chapters on newsgathering, news writing, interviewing, and specialist rounds – like court and sport.” As well as print and online, there are chapters on TV and radio journalism. “Reflecting New Zealand’s diverse society, there are chapters on reporting on diversity and reporting on Maori,” Dr Hannis said. There are also chapters on media law and ethics. There are online exercises, with model answers, for all the book’s chapters.

Dr Hannis was assisted by an editorial team of fellow journalism educators, comprising Dr Cathy Strong, a Massey senior lecturer; Greg Treadwell and Allan Lee, both senior lecturers at AUT University; and Charles Riddle, lecturer at Waikato Institute of Technology.

The book was published by the New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation, the body that oversees the training of journalists in New Zealand. It can be purchased at the JTO’s online bookshop.
For more information, email Grant Hannis at:

Pictured from left: Dr Grant Hannis, Greg Treadwell, Charles Riddle, Dr Cathy Strong and Allan Lee.

Celebrity and scandal focus of latest PJR 
The latest issue of Pacific Journalism Review (Vol. 19, 2) is out with the special theme of Celebrity and Scandal. Edited by Dr Barry King, Dr Rosser Johnson and Dr Allison Oosterman, the journal focusses on the dynamics of fame in a small country and the interface between the global and the local.

In his introduction to the theme Dr King examines some of the fundamental concepts for the study of celebrity culture and scandal and relates these to the New Zealand context. Following articles consider the complexities of star identity within the parameters of New Zealand popular culture, using Rena Owen as a case study, the celebrity career of Suzanne Paul and the process of celebrity feature production using the cover lines of the New Zealand Women’s Weekly.

Two further articles look offshore, in particular to Norway where the media constructed and developed a scandal storyline around the mass murderer Anders Breivik, and to Asia, where the role of scandal as a device for building dramatic tension and excitement was examined in the light of Asian cinema. This issue’s Frontline article reviews the recent debate about the performance and impact of the Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA) evaluations in 2010 and 2012 on the field of journalism research.

Unrelated to the theme of celebrity and scandal are articles on the media reporting of suicide, research into mobile phone telephony in Papua New Guinea, an examination of the Queensland state electoral division of Ashgrove in 2011 and a consideration of New Zealand’s performance in the 2010 round of the Global Media Monitoring Project where gender inequality remains a defining characteristic of daily news content. The inaugural UNESCO NZ World Press Freedom Day address by Dr Mark Pearson completes the general articles.

PJR website