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Oldest Journalism School Turns 40

Monday, March 20, 2006

Oldest Journalism School Turns 40

New Zealand’s oldest School of Journalism turns 40 this year.

To celebrate, the School of Journalism is planning a dinner and celebrity debate at the Wellington campus on Sunday June 4, Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Lecturer Alan Samson says the event is shaping up as the largest ever get-together of New Zealand journalists - and one of the year’s key media events.

“”Over the past 40 years, the school has built up an impressive network of alumni and former staff members. We already have several hundred enrolments, just on word of mouth.”

The School’s alumni list includes many of the country’s most respected working journalists and media managers – as well as up-and-coming stars, he says.

Former students included broadcasters Judy Bailey, Kevin Milne and Kerre Woodham, senior journalism executives Don Churchill and Rick Neville, radio reporter Sean Plunket, television reporter Melanie Reid, investigative reporter Ian Wishart – and comedienne Michelle A’Court.

They also include New York Times copy editor Alison McCulloch, part of a Denver Post team awarded a Pulitzer prize for its coverage of the Columbine massacre.

An impressive array of lecturers over the years includes Noel Harrison, effectively the School’s founder, journalist and publisher Christine Cole-Catley, historian the late Michael King, and a younger brigade who have returned to the school from the industry, from Alistair Campbell to David Venables.

The School of Journalism opened in 1966 as part of the former Wellington Polytechnic. It became part of Massey University, following the merger of the two institutions in 1999.

Mr Samson says the reunion will be an unparalleled opportunity for alumni from both institutions to renew contact with former fellow students and colleagues,

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity to debate important issues affecting the media in 2006 – such as privacy and freedom of speech.” He says these and other key topics will be aired in the debate featuring media experts and others with a keen interest in these areas.

Alumni and former staff members can visit the reunion web page at, which will include links to a gallery of memories, and a forum for debate.


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