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September 3, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Student journalists disillusioned after state-of-media conference

Great journalism and good business went head to head at last month’s Journalism Matters conference at Parliament.

The conference, organized by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), was spurred by job cuts at TVNZ and APN, and outsourcing of sub-editors to Australia.

Speakers included former journalist and author Judy McGregor and former President of the International Federation of Journalists Chris Warren. Discussion panels included heads of Fairfax, APN and Radio New Zealand.

The focus of discussions was the relationship between journalism and commercial pressures, and whether the latter was causing a downward spiral in the state of the media.

Discussions were briefly hijacked by disgruntled freelance journalists whinging about low pay and their hatred of PR – a path which many journalists are now taking for greater monetary prospects.

Highlights for student journalists included hobnobbing and schmoozing with those in the mainstream media, and getting drunk at the Backbencher pub.

Salient’s hangover prevented it attending the second day of the conference, where solutions to the problem were discussed.

Radio New Zealand Political Editor Brent Edwards says “the conference went well with about 120 people attending – journalists, academics, journalism tutors, journalism students, representatives of the main publishers and members of the public.”

“Essentially what came out of the meeting was that we intend carrying out a review of the state of journalism in New Zealand. The review will include seeking comment for working journalists, interested parties and the wider public.”

Edwards says the review will “look at ethics as part of a rewrite of the EPMU’s journalists code of ethics”, as well as looking at public service broadcasting, pay rates, ownership and commercial pressures.

EPMU and other media parties are now formulating a document to be distributed to the public and to other interested groups.

Submissions will be welcome, and will close around March next year, with a first draft of analysis ready for feedback at the next Journalism Matters summit next year.

Submission forms and other information will be available at


About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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