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Why journalism matters

‘Why journalism matters’ is the theme of the annual conference of journalism educators being held in Christchurch next month.

The Journalism Education Association of New Zealand (JEANZ) conference will be hosted by New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) at Ara Institute of Canterbury from 2-3 December.

The conference theme was selected to encourage discussion around the changing nature of journalism and the state of news media in New Zealand.

There are a number of challenges facing the journalism industry including issues around bogus news, merger proposals and declining profits, with the latter contributing to MediaWorks’ recent decision to sell its TV business. At the same time, the positive story of journalism is new business models are emerging, digital journalism is growing, the quality of Kiwi journalists’ work is high, and the demand for journalism graduates is strong.

Media educators and journalists from around New Zealand will attend the JEANZ two-day conference. Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi will deliver the keynote address on day one.

On day two Mel Bunce, author of The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World, will deliver the keynote speech via video call from London.

The programme also includes a ‘Funding the News’ panel discussion chaired by RNZ Chief Executive Paul Thompson and featuring NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson, Stuff Ltd Chief Executive Sinead Boucher and Co-Editor of Newsroom Mark Jennings, and another panel discussion on the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Leading academics will present their latest research and educators Dr Catherine Strong (Massey University), Bernie Whelan (Auckland University of Technology), Karen Neill (Ara), and Tara Ross (the University of Canterbury) will report back from the recent World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) held in Paris - themed ‘Teaching Journalism During a Disruptive Age.’ AUT Associate Professor Verica Rupar, who was elected Chair of the World Journalism Education Council in 2019, will join them.

Broadcaster and NZBS graduate Jack Tame will chair a panel discussion on the future of journalism, with other alumni from journalism training programmes around New Zealand. JEANZ President Karen Neill says, “It’s an exciting time to be working in the media. This year’s conference aims to stimulate discussion and interest in storytelling and showcase journalism as a great career.”

To register and to view the conference programme, visit:

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