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Site updated June 2015

Jeanz conference: Rebuilding public trust

This year's conference will be held at Massey University’s Journalism School in Wellington, New Zealand. The dates are December 17-18, 2015.

The conference theme is: “Journalism: Rebuilding public trust.”

The keynote speaker is Mike Darcey, chief executive officer, News UK, publisher of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. A New Zealander who has lived in England for 25 years, Mike became head of News UK in 2013. He will speak about managing the company in the post-News of the World environment and will outline his vision for the organisation's future. As well as delivering the keynote address, Mike will run a Q-and-A session.

We welcome papers on the theme, and on journalism education and practice generally. Please email your abstract (max. 300 words) as an attached Word document, no author identification in the abstract, by Sept 30, 2015, to Dr James Hollings:

Please submit your abstract as soon as possible. You will be advised within a week whether your abstract has been accepted.

You can register to attend the conference here. Massey's campus is at 63 Wallace Street, Mt Cook, Wellington.

If you have any queries, please email the conference convenor, Associate Professor Grant Hannis:

Investigative journalism conference at Massey in July

The second annual conference of the New Zealand Centre of Investigative Journalism is scheduled at Massey University, Wellington on 11-12 July 2015. Building on last year's conference, the event will be an opportunity to hear interesting speakers, learn new skills and meet and share ideas with a wide range of people interested in investigative journalism.

The speakers include: Private investigator and former police officer John Gualter, on interviewing and investigative research methods; North & South editor-at-large Donna Chisholm and senior writer Mike White on investigating miscarriage of justice cases and writing the long-form feature; Herald reporters David Fisher and Matt Nippert on practical skills they use in their investigations; Nicky Hager on the lessons he learned researching the book Dirty Politics and the New Zealand Snowden documents.There will also be experts in cyber-security, plus other speakers to be confirmed.

Registrations are now open, again with deliberately low prices to ensure money doesn't get in the way of you coming. We have three prices: $40 for waged people, $20 for students and unwaged people, and, as proposed by participants last year, a news organisation rate of $80 for people whose workplaces are paying.

The conference is open to all journalists, journalism students and teachers, and authors, film makers and others who are interested in or actively doing investigative journalism.

Nicky Hager, Dr James Hollings, Keith Ng
New Zealand Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Bombed Rainbow Warrior crew talk to AUT students
Several crew members on the bombed Greenpeace environmental campaign ship Rainbow Warrior live in New Zealand today and have talked to AUT University television and journalism students about their experiences three decades ago and the future.

Four of the 11 crew live on the island of Waiheke in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf and other original crew members also live in Auckland. More than 40 students from the School of Communication Studies television and journalism majors and the Pacific Media Centre have teamed up with Little Island Press to track down and interview some of these veteran activists for the Eyes of Fire project.

Little Island Press is republishing a fresh edition of David Robie's 1986 book, Eyes of Fire, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Warrior bombing by French secret agents on 10 July 1985. The publisher has set up a collaborative microsite about the bombing and the Rainbow Warrior's humanitarian voyage to Rongelap Atoll in the Marshall islands to help a community suffering from the health legacy of US atmospheric nuclear tests to move to a safer atoll, Mejato, on Kwajalein.

In the latest rolling content posted on the Eyes Of Fire microsite, studio video interviews with several people involved have been published. PMC story and interview links

New PMC book: 'Secret state', human rights & post-coup Fiji freedoms

Pacific Journalism Review has celebrated 20 years of publishing with a new book this week on political reportage in the Asia-Pacific region, with chapters focusing on Australia’s growing “secret state”, climate change coverage, human rights in Pakistan and West Papua, and post-coup Fiji media freedoms.

Edited by David Robie, Barry King, Philip Cass and Wendy Bacon, the book also features investigative journalism with inquiries into mining in New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand international reporting.

It has been published in association with the Asian Media Communication and Information Centre (AMIC) in Singapore as part of the “Asian Communication Series”. It will be launched in Dubai next week at the annual AMIC conference.

The introduction has been written by AUT University’s Head of Pacific Advancement, Walter Fraser, and his office will be sending 100 copies to embassies, consulates and strategic NGOs in the region. The book also features a research article on the contribution of the journal itself to Pacific journalism research and education over the past 20 years, by Dr Lee Duffield of Queensland University of Technology.

Founding editor Professor David Robie said: “Our first issue dealt with threats of secession from the state of Papua New Guinea by the Islands Region provinces – and censorship. Over the years, PJR authors and researchers have tackled the Sandline mercenary crisis and the Bougainville War in Papua New Guinea, four coups in Fiji, West Papuan repression, mining and resource extraction, environmental degradation, media history and now climate change.” He said the journal, which celebrated its birthday at a special conference in Auckland last November, was a “critical conscience” of Asia-Pacific socio-political and development dilemmas.

Project-based teaching new focus at Wintec

The team at Wintec are changing the way they teach the journalism curriculum. Charles Riddle and Richard Walker report that teaching in the news gathering and news writing fields is now based around projects. The project for semester one is the Maadi Cup rowing regatta at Lake Karapiro, and in semester two the project is based around the Fieldays agribusiness exhibition at Mystery Creek.

Charles says students are required to interview, photograph and then write their stories direct into Wintec’s CMS for publication. This means they all have to be able to sub-edit, select, caption and crop photos, write headlines, and standfirsts almost from week 1. They are also shooting video and are responsible for all social media.  He says students are loving the experience. “It is producing an energetic and motivated class.”

Once a week they have "learning point" sessions where students run a class reporting on what they learnt outside the classroom the previous week. 

Charles says the standard of submitted work can be a bit rough at this stage. “But we think it’s OK at  the beginning of a course.” (Photo: Katie Damsteegt/Waikato Independent)

Coverage of the Maadi Cup in the Waikato Independent:

Massey hosts Masters seminar series

In early May, Massey's journalism programme in Wellington hosted the first Master of Journalism seminar series held in New Zealand. Three of the Massey students studying for their Master of Journalism presented their research in progress, and were given feedback by lecturers and other postgraduate journalism students.

Megan Hunt, a reporter at the Whakatane Beacon, presented her research on journalists' use of the Official Information Act. Mava Moayyed, a digital journalist at The Wireless, presented her research on advertisers' response to a controversial RadioLive interview held during the Roast Busters scandal. Fran Tyler, a long-time court reporter and now tutor on the journalism programme, presented her research on the interaction between journalists and lobbyists.

The photo shows, from left, Megan, Mava and Fran.

SIT closes its journalism school

The Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill has closed its journalism programme. Opened in May 1996, and known as the Peter Arnett School of Journalism, the 32-week programme taught the National Diploma in Journalism.

SIT’s Paddy Lewis said that for the past three or four years student numbers had been falling. While enrolments were around 15-20, only about six were completing the programme. Journalists who trained at SIT include Megan Martin (TVNZ), Tracey Roxburgh (ODT), Nathan Burdon (Fairfax), Fraser Mills and Peter Hodge (the founders of and Nick Butcher (Radio NZ).

SIT is running a shorthand course this year so that four students (plus two Southland Times journos) can complete their studies.

WITT opts for mid-year start

The Western Institute of Technology journalism programme is switching to a mid-year start, at least for this year. This follows a drop in enrolments to only about six at the start of the year. Jayne Hulbert, a media studies tutor, reports that WITT initially considered delaying the start of the journalism programme by a few weeks. But in the end it decided on a mid-year (July) start. Jayne says her Level 3 media studies course may feed some students into the journalism programme which is taught by Jayne and Virginia Winder.

Leadership change at AUT

Verica Rupar has stepped down from the curriculum leader position at AUT's journalism school after two years in the role. The new curriculum leader is Helen Sissons (right). Helen joined AUT in 2007 as a senior lecturer. Before coming to New Zealand, she taught at the University of Leeds and spent 17 years in print and broadcast journalism in the United States and Britain, latterly working in television news at the BBC.

Her research interests are journalism practice and the future of journalism, and she has published scholarly articles and papers from her research.

Entries open for Jesson journalism awards

Applications for the two 2015 Bruce Jesson journalism awards close on Friday 18 September. The first award, the Emerging Journalism Prize for student journalists, offers $1000 for “outstanding recent work by New Zealand print journalism students”. It is nominated by New Zealand journalism schools for work by student journalists published between the closing date of last year’s award, 26 Sept 2014, and this year’s closing date 18 Sept 2015.

The second, a senior award, funds research costs of up to $4000 for projects that could be newspaper or magazine articles, reports on the internet, books, films, radio or TV documentaries. Projects must be “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues”. Past winners include Nicky Hager, Max Rashbrooke and Rebecca Macfie for books; Jon Stephenson, Amy Richardson and Peter Malcouronne for magazine articles; Tina McIvor for a research report; and Alister Barry for his 2014 film on New Zealand’s climate change policies, Hot Air.

Entries for both awards will be assessed by the Foundation’s Journalism Sub-committee: Geoff Kemp (convenor), Camille Guy, Joe Atkinson and Simon Collins.

Applications and nominations can be submitted online, or mailed to the foundation’s secretary Dr Anita Lacey, c/- Political Studies Department, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland ( The deadline is 5pm, Friday 18 September 2015.

PMC: Award-winning journalist on Gaza reporting realities

Two AUT journalism students – Kai Ping Lew and Niklas Pedersen – recently came back from two weeks on assignment in Fiji. They reported on issues including Fiji’s Development Forum as a challenge to the Pacific Islands Forum, climate change initiatives by Pacific nations, gender violence and were also interviewed by The Fiji Times about their postgraduate project.

Their stories and videos can be seen on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course outlet at Pacific Scoop on the Storify aggregator:

Danish native Niklas Brandt Pedersen and Kai Ping Lew are postgraduate students on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT, led by Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie, a former head of journalism at the University of the South Pacific.

Pedersen described the media culture in Fiji as very different from what he was accustomed to, but he said he found it exciting. "There are a lot of restrictions because of the media decree and it's been a real challenge to try to cope, but I think we're going to learn a lot from this," he said. Pedersen, who is from the Danish School of Journalism and Media and at AUT as part of an Inclusive Journalism initiative (IJI) exchange, added that not being able to publish anything critical of the government without a response from them was challenging.

"So actually they can shut down any critical story they want by just not responding to it, but I think it's also a positive stance by the Fiji media to try and look forward and not backwards."

Self-censorship was a challenge faced by Lew in her journalistic endeavours in the country. "It's not just the publications that self-censor but also the people who self-censor," she said.

Lew said they wanted to ensure their reports took into consideration the context and cultural sensitivities.
"It's easy to criticise the exterior of things, but it takes a little bit of deeper understanding and analysis and talking to the people — I think — to be able to get the bigger picture and that's what we're aspiring towards," she said.

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