Why a would-be journalist should follow her dream

Why on Earth would anyone want to become a journalist? The gauge on the government’s careers website rates the chances of landing a job in journalism as ‘poor’.

After all, census data tells us the number of journalists in New Zealand fell by 52 per cent between 2000 and 2018. There are now, I would estimate, only about 1600 of them employed in mainstream media. And the starting wage of $42,000 a year is not exactly enticing.

I began to consider the issue of careers in the profession after I opened my email one morning last week to find what was described as “a fan letter”.

It was written by a recent graduate who, browsing the university library several months ago, had chanced upon a small book I wrote in 2016 titled Complacent Nation. It was a welcome early-morning  cheer up to learn that she was “beyond grateful that you wrote it”.

She now has a BA in politics & international relations and philosophy. She is working in the media but not as a journalist. Clearly, she has set her sights on a career in journalism but, justifiably, she is confronted by uncertainty. Continue reading “Why a would-be journalist should follow her dream”

Media lessons from a pandemic

It appears we are a nation of selfish malcontents for whom enough is never enough.

That is one of the conclusions I’ve been forced to draw after seven weeks of Covid lockdown in Auckland. And, because my isolation has been broken only by a few medical appointments that are valid reasons for leaving my security-guarded community, I gain my impressions through our media and a diet containing a surfeit of opinion, some of it in the guise of news.

I am confronted daily by examples of peevish bleating, whining, and complaining. I hear demands for certainty where there can be none. Continue reading “Media lessons from a pandemic”

Where has all the policy gone?

Within the term of the next government our news media will, for good or ill, fundamentally change. Yet where are the major parties’ policies to anticipate, influence and ameliorate the effects of that change?

Only the Green Party has posted a media policy statement for the October election. It contains useful proposals such as the Public Interest Journalism Fund (which also featured in its 2017 manifesto) and a tax on digital advertising to claw back money from Google and Facebook, but it is predicated on the status quo.

Labour, National, New Zealand First and ACT have yet to announce their media policies – if they have any – and voting starts only 33 days from now. Interest.co.nz has been tracking party policies and its section on media policy is peppered with the phrase “Not yet available on their website”.

Continue reading “Where has all the policy gone?”