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Northland population story scoops award

Northland population story scoops award

How a region can grow and shrink in significance was the focus of a story in the Northern Advocate that has won Craig Borley from the Auckland University of Technology the inaugural Statistics New Zealand Student Journalist Award, Statistics Minister Clayton Cosgrove announced today.

The announcement was one of three Mr Cosgrove made on the eve of the release of the 2006 Census results by Statistics New Zealand (6 December 2006).

Mr Cosgrove said the student award, which is supported by the Journalists Training Organisation (JTO), aimed to encourage budding journalists to write balanced and informative stories using statistics.

“Craig Borley's story is an excellent example of how statistics can be used to effectively and accurately to paint of picture of changes within the Northland region compared to the rest of New Zealand," he said. "I would like to congratulate him on putting together such an interesting, well thought out piece."

“Statistics affect all of us, and are used in all major decisions, including the locations of businesses, parks, schools and the number of police,” he said.

Clayton Cosgrove today announced Craig’s success and a new award at a JTO event in Wellington to mark the Census results release.

“There will be an award for the best media story using 2006 Census results and it will be judged by a panel that includes financial journalist Rod Oram and JTO Executive Director Jim Tucker. The winner will be announced at the Freelance Journalists Conference on the 3rd of May 2007 in Auckland,” said Mr Cosgrove.

Clayton Cosgrove also applauded Jim Tucker and the JTO Board for an initiative to improve on-the-job training for journalists.

“I am very pleased to announce tonight that the JTO will be introducing additional NZQA units for practising journalists. A new 10 credit, Level Six unit on statistical and mathematical skills will be developed and introduced through 2007 and 2008. Also there will be a 30 credit, Level Seven unit for financial journalists.”

“Media is a vital watchdog in a modern democracy and it is in everyone’s interests if journalists have a good understanding of financial markets, our social statistics and the strengths and limits of research,” said Clayton Cosgrove.

Mr Cosgrove said the new initiatives to make statistics more accessible to journalists complemented a pilot programme he initiated earlier this year called "Go Stats". The pilot, being run by Statistics New Zealand, aims to encourage New Zealand small-to-medium sized businesses to make greater use of statistics to monitor trends, profile customers, remain competitive and grow their business.

ends

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