Two NZ student journalists off to Indonesia on media internships

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Michael Neilson ... "exciting opportunity". Image: PMC

Report by Pacific Media Watch

Two journalism graduates have been selected by the Asia New Zealand Foundation to take part in a media internship programme in Jakarta, Indonesia, through the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS).

Anna Whyte, who recently completed a postgraduate diploma in journalism at Massey University and now works for the Bay of Plenty Times, will intern at the 24-hour news channel Metro TV.

Michael Neilson, who recently completed a postgraduate diploma in journalism at Auckland University of Technology and has been working with AUT’s Pacific Media Centre throughout the year, will take up a position at The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jakarta office.

“Indonesia is a fascinating country, with a rich history and a dynamic political situation. It is also a very important country for New Zealand, both politically and economically, yet we receive hardly any news from there,” Neilson told Pacific Media Watch.

“As a fresh journalism graduate I am incredibly excited about this opportunity to learn more about Indonesia and get some journalism experience there.”

The ACICIS scholarships are among eight internship opportunities offered to New Zealand journalism graduates by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in 1994 to promote links between New Zealand and Asia.

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The 6-week ACICIS programme involves an intensive two-week cultural, language, and political journalism practicum in Jakarta, before the students take part in four-week internships.

Increased understanding
The Asia New Zealand Foundation arranges the work placements and funds the students’ travel.

Asia New Zealand Foundation media adviser Rebecca Palmer said the internships helped address the need for increased understanding of Asia within newsrooms, in the absence of dedicated New Zealand foreign correspondents in the region.

“The journalists who participate in the internships return to New Zealand better informed about the countries they have worked in, and with contacts they can draw on in future reporting,” she said.

“They often maintain an ongoing interest in Asia, and feel more confident interacting with Asian communities here. It’s not unusual to see these journalists return to Asia for further reporting assignments.”

Many student journalists affiliated with the PMC have been on Asia-based internships in the past eight years and for several years the PMC used to run an exchange partnership with the China Daily.

Asia NZ Foundation internship programme

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