Media Chiefs Consider Pasifika Talent Boost Plan
By Anna Barge Te Waha Nui (AUT) reporter covering the PIMA conference http://artsweb.aut.ac.nz/Journalism/pima2004/
Training for Pacific Island journalists will be encouraged with a proposed new "incubator" programme focusing on supporting new media talent.
Representatives from mainstream media and New Zealand-based Pasifika media met today at the PIMA conference at Auckland University of Technology.
They agreed to consider a programme that would foster new talent and channel it through broadcasting schools and production houses.
TV3's head of news and current affairs Mark Jennings said such a programme would have his personal support, and he would discuss the idea with TV3 owners CanWest.
He thought CanWest directors would be receptive to the idea of increasing the number of skilled Pacific Island journalists.
At the moment, his company "creams off the top people" from radio stations like Niu FM and programmes like Tagata Pasifika.
Television New Zealand chief executive Ian Fraser said the growth of the Pasifika population in New Zealand meant funding programmes targeted at them was commercially sensible. Jennings said the lack of Pacific Island journalists was a common problem.
He said his network was committed to improving coverage of the Pacific Islands round.
"If you asked some of the Palangi journalists to do a story about Pacific Islanders they would be reluctant. It's not their natural inclination," said Jennings.