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Fairfax Announces New Journalism Intern Scheme

Media Release
July 2, 2006

Fairfax Announces New Journalism Intern Scheme

Fairfax Media, New Zealand's largest media company, has established a Journalism Intern Scheme. It will start at the beginning of next year, and applications are now being sought for the first intake.

Fairfax Editor-in-Chief Peter O'Hara said the scheme would allow a fresh approach to the hiring of young journalists, and Fairfax publications could build on their commitment to editorial excellence while fostering journalists with ongoing training and satisfactory career paths.

Fairfax owns nine daily newspapers including The Dominion Post and The Press, two national Sunday newspapers, magazines, a magazine publishing business, internet operations, and more than 50 community newspapers throughout the country.

Mr O'Hara said Fairfax editors were looking forward to the intern scheme and had committed their publications to taking about 20 for the first year.

The first intake would undergo training for a Diploma or Graduate Diploma in Journalism at one of three institutions that Fairfax would be working with - the University of Canterbury, Aoraki Polytechnic in Timaru and Massey University at Wellington. Where possible, successful applicants would be trained in the institution of their choice.

"We are looking forward to working with journalism tutors and others at these institutions, and we thank them for their support," he said.

Heads of the three institutions also welcomed the opportunity to participate.

Jim Tully, Head of the School of Political Science and Communication at the University of Canterbury, said: "We welcome the opportunity to work with Fairfax Media by providing high quality and intensely practical training for its interns.

"Journalism training in New Zealand, generally, is notable for the close relationship between providers and the media industry. Canterbury values its strong links with industry and believes the Fairfax intern scheme demonstrates a high level of mutual respect."

Massey Journalism head Grant Hannis said: "Massey is very excited about being involved in Fairfax's internship programme. The Fairfax internship programme fits perfectly with Massey's practical, vocational journalism course, which has a proven track record of getting students into jobs.

"This partnership between Fairfax and Massey is all about equipping journalism students with the skills they need to do the job in the real world. With such a close working relationship between Fairfax and Massey, students can be assured of the best possible start to their journalistic careers."

Greig Richardson, Head of Faculty at Aoraki Polytechnic, said Aoraki has had a long involvement in the training of journalists. "We pride ourselves in the type of graduate we produce, their readiness for working in a demanding industry and the fantastic employment opportunities gained while studying with us. Much of this success is based on solid relationships with the print industry.

"Aoraki Polytechnic is very pleased to be associated with the Fairfax Intern Scheme and we look forward to working with the interns and Fairfax as the scheme takes shape. We have a solid relationship with Fairfax and this scheme enhances that relationship. I am sure will be an asset to Fairfax and the industry."

Mr O'Hara said one benefit of the scheme is that it would encourage a greater diversity of student to consider taking up journalism.

"For example, how Fairfax publications report the news is changing as the potential of the internet is grasped, and our editors have to ensure that they are selecting the best and most suitable candidates. We need to be able to influence the type of graduate we're looking for. We need to ensure we do get the best available people."

Among other things, the scheme offers participants:

- The opportunity to study for a year at one of the three participating institutions
- Work experience during course holidays at one of Fairfax's publications;
- Reimbursement of course fees to successful applicants;
- Employment with a Fairfax publication at the conclusion of the course.

Mr O'Hara said the interns will be selected by Fairfax editors in conjunction with the approved institutions. The selection process will include interviews and testing of each applicant's writing skills, general knowledge and journalistic aptitude.

Applicants can nominate which publication they would like to work for on successful completion of the year-long journalism course and, where possible, that wish will be accommodated.

During course holidays, participants will be employed by one of Fairfax's publications. During this time, they will work with experienced journalists and have a mentor to offer support and guidance.

On the successful completion of their course, participants will be reimbursed for their course fees. Successful applicants will be bonded to Fairfax for two years.

"The present system has served us well but Fairfax is now looking to the future," Mr O'Hara said.

"It's also an acknowledgement that recruitment, training and retention of staff is the responsibility of Fairfax Media. We cannot expect others to do it for us. But through this scheme, our relationship with some training institutions will be much stronger, and that is most worthwhile.

"We are also looking forward to further developing this scheme in the years ahead, and we will be able to continue to serve our readers not just in the media we are familiar with but also in developing media, the potential of which is still being explored.

"In all media, Fairfax Media will always be committed to providing the finest journalism."


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