Friday, May 30, 2008

Clark critical of 'personality driven' NZ media

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has highlighted a number of faults in the national media while discussing the need for a lively press "with responsibility" in the latest Pacific Journalism Review. Among several points she raises are:

  • Too many youthful journalists with energy but a limited grasp of history, geography, sociology and economics - leaving "a large gap in general knowledge".
  • The lack of resources given by the media to covering international stories of "importance to New Zealand".
  • The need for mainstream media to have a better understanding of cultural diversity.
  • Journalists shouldn't confuse healthy scrutiny with cynicism because that undermines the political process.
  • Personality driven media with journalists making themselves the centre of the story.
  • The role of blogs and the tendency for journalists to make "rushed judgments".

This edition's special section of research papers from the Journalism Education Association of NZ conference at Massey University last December has been edited by my Wellington colleague Dr Grant Hannis. The journal has only just gone out to subscribers but already there has been plenty of positive feedback. Other contributors include Fortune journalist and author Bethany McLean, who exposed Enron over its gigantic scam, and Dom Post editor Tim Pankhurst over how his paper is facing the challenges of digital media. Hannis himself contributes a revealing research paper about freelance journalists. Other articles in the AUT Pacific Media Centre- published journal highlight the Maori Party and the media, bogans in West Auckland and West Papuan coverage plus a state-of-media-health report by Bill Rosenberg. And a host of good reviews are also included.

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