Sunday, August 22, 2010

Key speakers lining up for investigative journalism conference

From TOKTOK: Pacific Media Centre newsletter

Several key speakers are being lined up for the Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology 2010 conference being organised by the Pacific Media Centre at AUT University in December.

Australian Centre for Investigative Journalism director Professor Wendy Bacon, Nepali Times editor Kunda Dixit and New Zealand’s leading investigative journalist Nicky Hager, author and a frequent contributor to the Sunday Star-Times on intelligence and environment issues, are among the key speakers.

The programme will feature preview clips of investigative film maker Jim Marbrook’s documentary Cap Bocage about indigenous land, mining and the marine environment in New Caledonia, an exhibition of Dixit’s photojournalism collection of the 10-year Maoist war in Nepal and many innovative investigative projects.

A student masterclass in investigative journalism is also being planned.

Peer-reviewed papers will be published in a special edition of Pacific Journalism Review in May 2011.

The conference, to be held on December 4-5, 2010 is dedicated to exploring investigative journalism and documentary techniques, methodologies and technologies of critical value to public interest issues and to identify and support journalists, photographers and film makers facing pressures and obstacles.

Pressures faced by investigative journalists include resistance from publishers, editors – due to time and resource constraints – and also post-publication and legal issues.
Pacific presentations are encouraged.

Other stories in the latest Toktok include:

* Journalism diploma, specifically for Pasifika
* Tribute to SI women - high cost in rise to the top
* PMC director calls for greater global outreach by NZ j-schools
* PMC students cover Forum
* Sabbatical 2010
* New Pacific journalism course advert

Picture: A girl breaks down in tears while telling her experiences about being abducted from her school by Maoist rebels. Photo from the PEOPLE WAR exhibition of 50 images for the investigative journalism conference. Photo by Depeendra Bajracharya

Conference website
Keynote speakers
Papers, proposals
Conference on the PMC Facebook page

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AUT seeks Pacific journalism lecturer for new course

Pacific Media Centre

New Zealand’s AUT University is seeking a Pasifika journalist and educator to join its teaching staff.

The university’s School of Communication Studies described the new post in an advertisement today as a “challenging opportunity to lead, develop and teach the new Graduate Diploma in Pacific Journalism programme”.

The new staff person would also contribute to other journalism papers.

Besides core journalism skills, this diploma will also offer specialist papers in Māori and Pasifika Media Industry and Reporting the Pacific Region with both Pasifika media and mainstream media internships available.

“Applicants need a thorough knowledge of reporting and production in one or more areas of the news media,” said the advertisement.

“They are also expected to have outstanding Pacific and mainstream media experience and industry connections with strong roots and mana in the Pasifika community.”

As a minimum requirement, applicants are expected to have at least five years experience in an area of Pacific journalism and an undergraduate degree. A postgraduate qualification is preferred, but not essential.

'Significant steps'
“Recruiting a Pasifika staff person and the new course are significant steps for media diversity in Aotearoa/New Zealand,” said Pacific Media Centre director David Robie.

“Finally we have some recognition of the value of cross-cultural skills and different cultural values in the news media.

“This is in line with the changing demographics in New Zealand. We want more journalists telling their own stories from their own perspective.”

He has been one of the sponsors of the new initiative, which has followed years of lobbying by the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) for a new Pacific Islands journalism course.

"What an exciting time for journalism education and upcoming journalists,” says New Zealand Herald Pacific Affairs reporter Vaimoana Tapaleao, an AUT communication studies graduate and winner of this year’s Qantas Junior Reporter of the Year award.

“The course will no doubt attract upcoming gems in the journalism world but most importantly help to take multicultural New Zealand into the newsroom,” says Tapaleao.

Dr Alan Cocker, head of the School of Communication Studies, says: “We teach journalism in a New Zealand and Pacific context and we have, over a number of years sought to strengthen our Pacific focus.”

School support
He cited the long-standing school support for a Pasifika communications scholarship, a partnership with the Pacific Islands Media Association, establishment of the Pacific Media Centre and research journal Pacific Journalism Review as examples of this initiative.

The one-year diploma course is not for school leavers, who will continue to enter the Bachelor of Communication Studies degree programme. Instead, it is a Level 7 programme aimed at people already in the media industry but with no qualification, or mature students with life experience wanting to make a late start in journalism.

Regional Pacific journalists and students are also welcome to apply.

AUT began teaching a Reporting the Pacific Region paper this year after a postgraduate Asia-Pacific Journalism course was established in 2007.

Many of the students' stories are published on Pacific Scoop.

John Utanga interview with Radio Australia
Taking multicultural New Zealand into the classroom

Details of the new position are on the AUT new jobs webpage. Deadline: September 15

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New contributing editor joins PMW project

Pacific Media Centre

A new contributing editor for the Pacific Media Watch project has been appointed and has taken up his role this week.

Alex Perrottet, 29, is a postgraduate student working towards a Master in Communication Studies degree at AUT University. He is also a qualified lawyer and experienced aid project organiser who has carried out considerable work in the Pacific.

From Sydney, where he worked for some years as a solicitor before moving to Auckland, Perrottet is now making a career change into media.

He has a keen interest in Pacific media and he was appointed by the Pacific Media Centre to take up this new part time role. He has carried out research into the censorship regime in Fiji and is closely following issues of media freedom.

"I'm really interested in the Pacific. Having spent a bit of time there on volunteer projects, I have come to appreciate the mix of cultures that make up the Pacific Islands," he says.

"I have a real passion for writing and was writing articles even when studying and working as a lawyer back in Sydney."

Over the past 12 years, Perrottet has been involved in aid projects in indigenous Australian communities and also in Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia – and Kenya. Next January, he will be taking a group to Samoa to help rebuild homes and church buildings in a village badly damaged by last year's tsunami.

These experiences have been "life-changing" and Perrottet enjoys connecting with new people in the Pacific, hearing their stories and enabling young volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and around the region and taste the Pacific experience.

It has also enabled him to develop a deeper understanding of some different cultures and issues important to Pacific peoples that often go unreported in the Western press.

Perrottet has wide interests ranging from politics to sport, from literature and philosophy to humour and satire, music and the performing arts.

He is interested in education and has spent a lot of time coaching and mentoring school students in debating and public speaking and wider academia. His passion for volunteering has led him to coordinate youth projects, summer camps and performances for high school students.

"I was lucky enough to have the experience of speaking to around 300,000 people in Sydney in 2008 as the master of ceremonies at World Youth Day,” he says.

“ It was certainly a quick lesson in communication.”

Perrottet succeeds Josephine Latu, who has been contributing editor for the past two years. She has now completed her masters degree.

Latu recently reported on the Pacific Islands Forum in Vanuatu for Pacific Scoop.

An Alex Perrottet report - Fiji's 'painful process' could lead to better democracy
Pacific Media Watch database on DSpace - watch for the new PMC/PMW website going live soon. The old PMC website is here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why Samoa for new media group PacMA?

By Kalafi Moala
: Pacific Media Centre

In the days immediately following the announcement of the launch of the Pacific Media Association (PacMA), the question has often been raised about why Samoa was chosen as the place to register this new organisation.

Last week on August 10, several media owners and journalists from the Pacific region met in Apia to form the new association. A new constitution was formulated and registration of an incorporated society was sought with the government of Samoa.

In addition to a new code of ethics for the organisation and its members, a set of bylaws is being currently written to guide the conduct of the affairs of the organisation.

Headed by probably the Pacific region’s most successful and experienced media owner and journalist, Samoa’s Sano Savea Malifa, the men and women that make up the organisation promise to be the embodiment of PacMA’s mission to promote and defend values of media freedom, ethics and good governance, and provide training for all media in the Pacific region.

Malifa plays a major role in the selection of Samoa as the founding ground for PacMA.

But it is more than that. Samoa hosts some of the most effective media operations in the region – be it print, broadcasting, or on-line. And these operations are not flash-in-the-pan overnight sensations.

They have paid the price in years of covering the hard yards. In the case of Malifa and his print media enterprise, he has suffered in previous years many obstacles, including countless lawsuits, physical attacks, the burning down of his press plant, and other disheartening inconveniences.

Samoa, however, has gone through its own quiet reform in so many facets of its political, economic, and social life. The result has been an environment conducive to the development of media freedom and journalistic professionalism.

The National University of Samoa is running a journalism school, and who knows what other educational development in media is ahead at this growing institution?

Free media environment
The government of Samoa has not only given the island nation comparable political and social stability, but has been largely responsible for creating a free media environment.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has himself been a staunch supporter of media freedom. Despite having been at times scrutinised by the local media, he has been a mature and responsible leader in his response.

On the evening that marked the launch of PacMA, Tuilaepa, despite a busy schedule, and another function he needed to attend, “dropped in” and congratulated the founders of PacMA, encouraged the members in its stand for media freedom, and gave a speech that welcomed the organisation.

He was especially thrilled that the new organisation was founded and will be operating out of Samoa.

It was hard to think of too many other island nations in the Pacific that can match the welcome, the hospitality, and the media freedom environment that Samoa offers.

What makes PacMA a unique media association is that it is to be primarily driven by media owners, the journalists and media practitioners who work in the industry. Too often organisations end up being run by bureaucrats whose ties to the actual professional services provided for people are no longer there.

It is time a media association is run primarily by people who are engaged in media as part of their everyday occupation.

Another major facet of the PacMA ethos that is fundamental to its formation and ongoing practice is that of independence from the aid infrastructure in the region that often results in “funding traps” in which service organisations become entangled and unable to fulfil their mission.

Obviously, there is no organisation that can survive without funding. But PacMA has chosen to be self-funded, and allow Pacific generosity to be a sustainable provider. There will be specific projects, however, from time to time, for which the organization will seek funding assistance.

The consensus at the founding meeting was: “We will not let funding dictate our vision and mission agendas.”

So be it. PacMA wants to be independent of what has become a very dangerous trend in NGO and regional organisational operations, which is a total dependence on donor funding agencies.

PacMA has its work cut out, not only in reestablishing the traditional media association roles and responsibilities in the region, but also how to wisely facilitate the new realities of emerging new media, gender driven media initiatives, and the future of our industry rooted in the growing youth media practitioners that need all the encouragement and help they can get.

Kalafi Moala, publisher and chief executive of the Nuku'alofa-based Taimi Media Network, is deputy chair of PacMA and himself a key campaigner for media freedom Pacific-style. Photo of Savea Sano Malifa, Samoa Observer.

New Pacific media body PacMA formed at Samoa meeting
PacMA website

Friday, August 13, 2010

Development journalism 'vital for Pacific region'

Pacific Media Centre

Development journalism is critically important for media in the South Pacific, says the director of the Pacific Media Centre.

Associate professor David Robie told the week-long Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) programme in New Zealand that some western media had "lost the plot".

Too much focus was on conflict and crises and not enough on solutions.

He said good development journalism - not the misrepresented version criticised by western media - was investigative, process and solution-orientated.

"The goal of development journalism is to reach people and make a change in their lives," he said.

He said this was about "empowerment of the people".

Church publications - such as the new PCC website launched at the conference - NGO newsletters and independent publications were important for agenda-setting on the "real issues" facing Pacific communities.

"New media technologies on the net make it possible for every citizen to engage in journalism through tools like blogging, and development journalists continue to play a key role in social change," he said.

He spoke on the theme of "Carteret refugees, MDGs and migration: media and development dilemmas" at the Regional Migration and Challenges to the Churches conference in Mangere from August 6-14.

Conference objectives were to:

1. Foster ecumenical relations among church leaders and a sense of fellowship and ownership of the PCC Secretariat and the ecumenical movement among them and their churches.

2. Assure the Migrant Churches in Aotearoa/New Zealand the solidarity of the PCC member churches and NCCs in the challenges they face by understanding the context and recognizing the efforts that have made on what needs to be done.

3. Nurture ecumenical relations between Pacific migrant churches and the PCC member churches and NCCs so that no one is left of out of our common search for a fresh way of expressing who we are and our place in this world as Pacific people.

Two of Dr Robie's former journalism students at the University of the South Pacific are now employees of the PCC - Peter Emberson is migration issues officer and Joe Yaya is communications adviser.

Picture: PCC's Peter Emberson presents Dr Robie with a stole bearing the PCC emblem. Photo: Joe Yaya.

New PCC website

Thursday, August 12, 2010

East-West Center director visits PMC

Pacific Media Centre

Dr Satu P. Limaye, director of the East-West Center in Washington, has paid a courtesy call on the Pacific Media Centre. Accompanied by the US ConsulatGeneral public affairs adviser Phil McKenna, he met with PMC director Dr David Robie, just back from an overseas sabbatical.

They discussed regional issues and possible areas where the two centres could collaborate, including the visits of US journalists, researchers and scholars interested in Asia-Pacific affairs.

Dr Limaye was an Abe Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy's International Forum for Democratic Studies, and a Luce Scholar and head of programmes on South Asia at the Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo.

He has also written, edited, and co-edited many books, monographs, and studies, including US, Australia and Japan and the New Security Triangle, Japan in a Dynamic Asia; Special Assessment: The Asia-Pacific and the United States, 2004-2005; Religious Radicalism in South Asia; and Special Assessment: Asia's China Debate.

Pictured: Dr David Robie (from left), French journalist Virginie Ribadeau Dumas (on internship with the PMC's Pacific Scoop and Scoop) and Dr Satu P. Limaye. Photo: Phil McKenna/US Consulate-General