The number and quality of Pacific journalists are expected to rise in a never before seen collaboration between four major New Zealand media organisations.
NZ on Air has approved $2.4 million to fund 25 fully-paid journalism cadetships, with a minimum of five Pacific trainees and 10 Māori.
The Te Rito Journalism Project is fronted by Pacific Media Network (PMN), Māori Television, NZME and Newshub.
PMN chief executive Don Mann said this collaboration aligned with his organisation’s mandate to help train a pipeline of excellent Pacific broadcasters and multimedia journalists.
“Te Rito provides sustainability to PMN in provision of best-practice Pasifika multilingual journalism but, more importantly, it allows the network to play our part in rectifying the significant under-representation and imbalance within the journalism sector on behalf of the Pasifika community.”
Māori Television head of news and current affairs Wena Harawira shares the same sentiment, hoping the partnership will address the critical shortage of reo Māori speaking journalists.
“It’s incredibly important that New Zealand’s journalism landscape is rich with Māori stories created by Māori, in te reo Māori, for everyone,” she said.
‘Ability to tell stories’
“The ability to tell stories and share perspectives is fundamentally shaped by language.”
Emphasising how critical it is for journalists to bring their culture into newsrooms is the view of NZME head of cultural partnerships Lois Turei, who says: “Weaving aspects of their culture into their work will result in stories that are rich and multi-layered – that’s a powerful gift to newsrooms.”
The cadets will work across all four newsrooms for one year developing their skills in digital, audio, radio, video, television and print journalism. However, 10 cadets will be based with Māori Television, and 15 with NZME.
Newshub director of news Sarah Bristow said: “This will break down some of the barriers that are preventing young, diverse voices from being part of our media landscape.”
Te Rito will soon begin advertising for a kaihautū (programme manager) to begin the development phase of the project.
Four other trainers and an administrator will also be recruited and applications for cadets will open later this year with the training programme to run for one year from February 2022.
NZ On Air head of journalism Raewyn Rasch (Ngāi Tahu/Kai Tahu) said: “Training is a vital part of the media landscape that has suffered through increasing financial pressures and by injecting resources back into this area, the Public Interest Journalism Fund will have a positive and long-lasting impact.”