Monday, December 6, 2010

PMC launches new 'social justice' media website

Pacific Scoop: By Courtney Wilson

The new Pacific Media Centre’s Web 2 news site has been launched at the inaugural Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology Conference.

The new site is a collaborative work, which brings together a range of resources from separate sites including Pacific Media Watch, Pacific Scoop and Pacific media research.

The site also links to Dr David Robie’s blog Café Pacific. Dr Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre, an associate professor at AUT University and editor of Pacific Scoop.

Tony Murrow, the site developer, said the goal of the site was to bring the huge array of content into one umbrella website.

Dr Robie said the independent website was created with the idea of challenging the role of media around the Pacific.

“We seek to report the untold stories and issues that are simply not being canvassed by other media in the region,” he said.

“And if there is any bias at all on the website it is in favour of social justice.”

He said while many newsrooms are being cut “back to the bone” and web stories are super short, AUT University’s journalism programme is asking postgraduate students for more complexity and quality in their reports.

Contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Alex Perrottet said the site would be an extremely useful resource for anyone looking for information, not only on the Pacific, but specifically on media and journalism in the region.

“The Pacific is an amazing place and there is an eclectic collection of individuals and groups fighting for a range of worthy ideals.

“Media is a major theme but there are many other important issues often overlooked by our Western media, even those outlets that focus on the Pacific.”

The website will soon change the format of Pacific Media Watch from an email service to an RSS feed.

“You will find quite a history there already of anything and everything to do with the media in the Pacific,” Perrottet said.

There will also be a heightened presence of university media and journalism research on the new website.

Co-editor of Pacific Scoop Selwyn Manning said he was pleased to see the year-old Pacific Scoop paired next to good, strong research.

“It gives a place where a new generation of journalists can express their work outside of a university,” he said.

Manning said the new site is an easily navigable framework, which contains a magnitude of content.

“It is displayed in a visual way as an example of convergence working,” he said.

Visit the new website here.

Courtney Wilson is a graduating Bachelor of Communication Studies student journalist on an internship with AUT’s Pacific Media Centre.
  • Pacific Media Centre blog updates will now be posted here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Barbara Dreaver, Nicky Hager talk investigative reporting at AUT

Some of the PMC graduating journalists covering the MIJT conference this weekend - Rose Rees-Owen (second from left), Hamish Fletcher and Pacific Media Watch editor Alex Perrottet - along with PMC director David Robie and chair John Utanga (right).

AUT University

Anyone with an interest in writing, reading or studying investigative journalism, will benefit from a conference at AUT University this weekend.

Speakers at the conference, which organisers have dubbed a “fourth estate conversation”, will examine investigative journalism in New Zealand and the Pacific, both now and into the future.

Many experienced journalists including TVNZ’s Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver; publisher of the Nepali Times Kunda Dixit; New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager; and director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism Professor Wendy Bacon, will share their perspectives.

And for student journalists and newly qualified journalists a masterclass will give them the opportunity to learn about the techniques of investigative journalism from a team of international journalists.

“Our aim is to start a conversation about the future of investigative journalism in New Zealand and the Pacific. In particular, we will be looking for new ways to help investigative journalism thrive,” says conference chair and director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, Associate Professor David Robie.

“Cutbacks in specialist staff and reduced resources have had a negative impact on investigative reporting in many media organisations. This conference will focus on independent funding models and strategies in collaborative investigations, and hopefully lead the set-up of a new group to support investigative journalism in New Zealand.”

The conference aims to raise awareness of investigative journalism in all its forms, so exhibitions and screenings of photojournalism, documentaries and multimedia presentations, are a key part of the programme.

A highlight will be the launch of the Frames of War photojournalism exhibition by keynote speaker Kunda Dixit.

What: Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology Conference 2010
Where: AUT University Conference Centre, AUT University (City Campus)
When: 4 & 5 December 2010
Exhibition launch: Ground Floor, AUT Tower Building, 6pm, Saturday, December 4
Contact: Andrea Steward, conference organiser 0273382700

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pasifika among top investigative journalism case studies

War victims: A tearful Sumitra Adhikari, 16, carries fodder for the family at Chaimale, near Kathmandu. Photo: Deependra Bajracharya

Pacific Media Centre

Key Asia-Pacific, Australian and New Zealand investigative journalists and researchers will gather at AUT University next month for a media “conversation” that will feature diverse issues such as war reporting, scams and global warming probes.

They will also consider the future of independent journalism and map out a strategy for more robust inquiry.

The two-day conference at AUT University on 4/5 December 2010, organised by the Pacific Media Centre, will host an investigative “masterclass” for young journalists, New Zealand’s first seminar on peace journalism, and screen groundbreaking documentaries or multimedia presentations on mining and Kanak independence in New Caledonia, Māori land rights in the Far North, and climate change.

Five leading Pacific Islands investigative journalists are also participating in the conference.

“This is a niche conference and one that features a range of innovative speakers and challenging investigation case studies,” says conference chair Associate Professor David Robie, director of the PMC.

“But there is also a very practical and achievable goal. We hope a group may emerge from this conference to provide more space and support for investigative and probing journalism in New Zealand and the Pacific.”

Television New Zealand Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver is the latest keynote speaker to join the Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology conference at AUT University on December 4/5. She has broken many stories around the region and investigated many key issues.

She joins Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times and an Asia-Pacific investigative journalist; New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager; and Professor Wendy Bacon, director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism and who runs a global environmental investigative journalism programme.

Other Pacific participants include Koroi Hawkins, chief-of-staff of Television One Solomon Islands; Patrick Matbob of Divine Word University in Madang, Papua New Guinea; Kalafi Moala, publisher of the Taimi Media Network (Tonga); and Shailendra Singh, head of journalism at the University of the South Pacific.

The PMC is also hosting a masterclass in investigative journalism for student journalists and younger journalists facilitated by a team of international investigative journalists, including Dixit, Bacon and Dr Kayt Davies; and a specialist peace journalism seminar, organised by Dr Heather Devere of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and Rukhsana Aslam, a peace journalism educator from Pakistan.

Exhibitions of photojournalism by a collective facilitated by Kunda Dixit covering the decade-long Maoist civil war in Nepal and Ngapuhi social issues photographer John Miller (featuring the little-known Ngatihine land rights struggle) plus workshops about challenging documentaries by Jim Marbrook and Selwyn Manning are part of the programme.

A seminar about the making of the award-winning film about global warming There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Noho is also featured.

A new Pasifika media portal will be launched at the conference – it will go “live” then and replace the current PMC website:

Don't miss this rare opportunity. Registration for the conference is now open.

More information on the conference website (and registration details):

The Pacific Media Watch database is at:
  • Registration for two days: $150
  • Masterclass registration only: $50
  • Contact: Conference organiser Andrea Steward 0273382700

Sunday, November 14, 2010

PMC new Pasifika media portal live soon

Pacific Media Centre

The Pacific Media Centre is soon launching a new Pasifika media portal. This niusblog, Pacific Media Watch, Pacific Scoop and our many other services will be linked to this new website. Watch for it when it is launched on December 4 at the Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology 2060 conference. It will have the same url link as the existing website ( which is currently no longer updated).

Monday, October 18, 2010

PJR wins global creative industries award

Pacific Media Centre

Pacific Journalism Review has won a Creative Stimulus Award for academic journals in the inaugural Academy Awards of the Global Creative Industries in Beijing, China, this month.

The journal, published by AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre and now in its 16th year, was one of five international journals to receive awards.

Other journals honoured include the British-based International Journal of Cultural Studies.

Professor Barry King of AUT’s Faculty of Creative Technologies, who was present for the awards ceremony as part of the 5th Creative China Harmonious World International Forum on Cultural Industries, accepted the prize on PJR’s behalf.

Professor King, who is on the advisory board of the PMC, said: “The inclusion of PJR with world class journals such as the International Journal of Cultural Studies is a testament to its development into a journal of reference and international quality in the field of journalism practice and education.

“AUT’s international reputation in a key partner market benefits significantly from the efforts of the editor, Associate Professor David Robie, and his team.”

The award citation said that in view of its “innovation and contribution in reporting hot topics” PJR was being awarded the title of “Motivated Thinking Periodical”.

During the conference, the Global Academic Association of Cultural Industries (GAACI) was established.

In the initiation ceremony, Professor Fan Zhou, dean of the Institute of Cultural Industries (ICI), Communication University of China (CUC); and Professor John Hartley, foundation dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries at Australia's Queensland University of Technology, delivered the founding declaration.

Six other members in different fields of cultural industries, including AUT's Professor King, also participated in the ceremony.

Other universities include the University of Adelaide, Australia; Belgium's Free University of Brussels; Chulalongkorn University of Thailand; Keio University of Japan; and Singapore's Nanyang Technology University.

Professor Fan said: "The association will build a cooperation platform by sharing research and teaching resources and experience, including staff exchange, joint research programmes and academic conferences to promote the development of education and research in cultural industries."

Pictured: Top: Professor Barry King (third from right) at the inauguration of the Global Academic Association of Cultural Industries (GAACI) in Beijing. Middle: PJR editor Dr David Robie with the plaque and certificate (Photo: Melanie Curry-Irons/AUT). Above: The latest edition of PJR.

Institute for Cultural Industries (CUC)
Database for Pacific Journalism Review articles
PJR website

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A stint at the China Daily Online

Michele Ong, AUT journalism graduate working for the Rodney Times, spent three months in China earlier this year on an AUT University-China Daily Exchange Internship organised by AUT's Pacific Media Centre with Asia:NZ Foundation funding for air travel at the online arm of China’s national English newspaper, China Here are some of her experiences and tips she shared on her return.

I WENT to Beijing in April 2010 - by then I had already been working for the Rodney Times for three months, but my editor was very supportive of me and granted me three months off.

The organisation is comprised of the newspaper, China Daily, and the website, Both are independent of each other in terms of operation but share the same masthead. I worked as a copy-editor for the website’s travel and culture department.

I had an amazing experience working in Beijing—I definitely enjoyed my time there.

Working for the website’s travel department, I spent my days editing travel brochures and cultural stories. Although it sounds cushy, the reality of it is quite different. The brochures were often many pages long (I once edited a 16-page long article on Anhui province which took me a good three days. I later discovered it was bound, printed and distributed to visitors).

The brochures were also often translated into English from Mandarin by a freelance translator or someone who works for the local government tour board. So deciphering the sentences can sometimes be a major challenge as well as a huge test of patience. I did the best I could with those stories.

But what I’ve learnt is as long as you are enthusiastic, polite and willing to learn, the local colleagues are more than happy to help you understand the mumbo-jumbo that’s in front of you. It can be tempting at times to just do a “whatever” job in editing the pieces—after all, it’s not like they are none the wiser, right? Wrong. I checked with a local colleague and he told me they can sort of tell if you’ve put any effort into editing the stories.

Sometimes you’d have the reporters coming back to you asking about the changes you’d made to their work. The thing to remember is, they are not undermining your work, but they are just keen to learn. If I was not pressed for time, I would explain to them the changes that I’d made. They were usually very grateful for any input.

Travelling to Anhui
During my internship, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to travel to Anhui province with a local colleague. Anhui’s local tourism board had just launched a campaign to promote tourism in their city and was keen to have two China Daily reporters do a write-up.

The board sponsored me and my colleague’s accommodation and food. The local tourism board put us up in a fancy hotel by Shanghai’s The Bund before arranging a two-day tour for us at Anhui, where we climbed Huangshan Mountain and visited an ancient town. My job was to do a write-up of the trip. It can be found here.

Although it was a very tiring week, with lots of late nights (I was basically my colleague’s editor on demand. She would write the story and have me edit it before sending it back to the website), early mornings and crazy long hours on the road (I counted I had spent at least 33 hours on the road in just a week), it was definitely one of my highlights working with China Daily.

When I whined to my local friend about my five hour bus trip from Huangshan Mt to Hefei, capital of Anhui, followed by a 12-hour ride from Hefei back to Beijing (all on the same day), he said “You’re now travelling like a local!”.

Living in Beijing
My work hours were 8.30pm till 5.30pm with an hour’s lunch break. I was given an allowance of 2000 yuan a month (NZD400). I was given an apartment at the newspaper’s compound.

Because I was a “foreign expert” I had the whole apartment, fully furnished, to myself (I even got the newspaper delivered to my room every morning. It’s unbelievable). It got a bit lonely at times, going home to an empty apartment but I can’t complain because it beats having to share it with a stranger. I didn’t have to pay for rent, although I did have to pay for utilities which were a flat rate of 300 yuan a month (NZD60). If you’re too caught up in other work to sweep and mop your apartment (Beijing is one very dusty city), for 50 kuai (NZD10) you can get the apartment service lady to come and tidy your apartment for you.

As for my meals, I initially had my breakfast, lunch and dinner at the newspaper’s canteen but I soon got bored with it and would only have lunches there with my colleagues. Canteen food costs on average eight yuan (approx NZD 2.50) for rice and two meat/vegetable options.

I found my three month stint at Beijing to be a bit short, although I’m sure my editor would dispute this. At times I found the Chinese capital overwhelming with its traffic jams and its crowds (people everywhere!) but I soon got used to it. It took me about a month to get used to the work environment and find my way around Beijing using the subway.

Tips for surviving in Beijing:
• Learn basic Chinese. I majored in Chinese when I was at university, so I can understand and speak the language, even if I’m not very fluent for lack of practice. However, basic knowledge of Chinese will be an advantage. If all fails, have an English-Chinese app loaded on to your iPhone, a complete life saver.

• Make contact with the intern who went before you. I got in touch with Guanny Liu who went in 2009.

• Do make friends with the locals. I found them to be very friendly and helpful. They helped me settle down and even took me to out during the weekends to popular tourist spots.

• Do make friends with the foreigners, because sometimes you just want to have some good old burger and fries.

• Do bring some food (optional) such as longlife milk, Milo, chocolates, biscuits… your favourite foods basically. You don’t want to be left out in the cold should homesickness strike.

• Do pack medication such as Panadol, cough drops, cold/flu and diarrhoea tablets.

• Do notify New Zealand Embassy you’re heading to Beijing.

• Go with an open mind and have fun

Pictures: Top: Michele Ong in news presenting mode with colleagues at the China Daily Online (Photo: David Robie); Michele in assignment in Anhui (Photo: Michele Ong); and a China Daily editorial conference (Photo: David Robie).

AUT's School of Communication Studies Asia-Pacific internships organised by the Pacific Media Centre with support by the Asia: NZ Foundation

Pacific Media Centre's Facebook for internship students

Kristina Koveshnikova's updated AUT 'survival kit' for Beijing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pacific journalists defend free media in latest PJR

Pacific Media Centre

Sophie Foster, assistant editor of the Fiji Times, is among leading journalists who have lambasted curbs on media freedom in the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review.

She condemned the “growth of self-censorship” within Fiji’s media industry while revealing the findings of a recent survey of mainstream journalists.

Foster took sudden leave at the Fiji Times after a newsroom upheaval last week that saw former editor-in-chief Netani Rika resign and Sunday Times editor Fred Wesley become appointed acting chief editor.

She wrote in the “Media freedom in Oceania” edition of PJR being published by AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre tomorrow that self-censorship was already a feature of the Fiji news media.

“With journalists now coming face to face with the fact that the whole truth or freedom of expression is not being fully exercised, some are now having to consider self-censoring stories they work on – because they know that, unless they do, their stories won’t meet the censors’ approval,” she wrote.

“The fact that journalists are beginning to consider this course of action – considering going against their professional ethics and beliefs – is a telling factor and a worrying one for the future of freedom of expression in Fiji.”

According to her survey, the “vast majority” of responding journalists said they needed censorship lifted to do their job better.

The survey also found that “100 percent” of respondents did not believe the work they did was a threat to security.

“Many of the journalists who do the work they do in Fiji, do so because they believe they are in the midst of delivering a public service and a public good – one that involves them being the watchdog for the average citizen, keeping an eye on the injustices, insufficiencies, inaction and highlighting these things for the purpose of making a better Fiji,” Foster wrote.

Most of the edition commentaries were presented at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference hosted by the University of Queensland in Brisbane in May.

Authors include Papua New Guinea Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, Pacific Freedom Forum coordinator Lisa Williams-Lahari and co-chair Susuve Laumea; Samoa Observer publisher and editor-in-chief Savea Sano Malifa, Cook Islands News managing editor and secretary/treasurer of the Pasifika Media Association (PasiMA) John Woods; Transparency Vanuatu president Marie-Noelle Ferrieux Patterson; Vois Blong Yumi Project leader Francis Herman; and Pacific Media Centre director Associate Professor David Robie.

Research papers include several about the three-month-old Media Industry Development Decree, “collaborative journalism”, the non-government organisation and civil society community and “life under censorship” in Fiji (by Shailendra Singh of the University of the South Pacific), and one article focuses on two newspaper case studies in media freedom in Tonga.

In the editorial, Associate Professor Martin Hadlow of UOQ's School of Journalism and Communication noted that the UNESCO conference “provided a platform for journalism and media professionals from the Pacific region to gather in special pre and post-conference workshops to discuss concerns and fears about repressive regimes”.

Supported by a grant from the UNESCO Office of Pacific States, this edition of PJR – now in its 16th year of publication – was jointly edited by Martin Hadlow, Marsali Mackinnon and managing editor David Robie.

PJR website
Order copies of v16(2) here
Malcolm Evans website