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Media partners launch unique journalism training scheme

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An unprecedented collaboration between four of New Zealand's biggest media organisations will train, develop and hire 25 journalists to report and share the important perspectives and stories of Aotearoa.

Maori Television, Pacific Media Network, Newshub and NZME (New Zealand Media and Entertainment) - with support from NZ On Air via the Public Interest Journalism Fund - will establish a unique cadetship and development programme called Te Rito. The purpose of Te Rito is to foster and develop talented journalists from Maori, Pacific and other communities traditionally under-represented in media.

Maori Television Head of News and Current Affairs, Wena Harawira, says the Treaty of Waitangi-based partnership will address the critical shortage of reo Maori speaking journalists. "It’s incredibly important that New Zealand’s journalism landscape is rich with Maori stories created by Maori, in te reo Maori, for everyone.

"The ability to tell stories and share perspectives is fundamentally shaped by language. Of the 25 cadets, at least 10 will be fluent te reo Maori speakers. These trainees will come under the korowai of Maori Television working in partnership with iwi media where they will have the opportunity to grow and develop to become the voice of te ao Maori across all facets of journalism."

In addition to the 10 cadets based with Maori Television, 15 will be based with NZME. All will learn and work across the newsrooms of the four partners and other affiliated media organisations during a thorough one-year grounding in digital, audio, radio, video, television and print journalism.

Pacific Media Network Chief Executive, Don Mann, says his organisation was established with a mandate to encourage and help train a pipeline of excellent Pacific broadcasters and multimedia journalists. Many of the icons in Pacific journalism, broadcasting and governance have developed their craft with PMN since its inception.

"Te Rito partnership is an opportunity for PMN to provide a circuit breaker and supercharge this long-held mandate on an equal footing with Maori Television, Newshub and NZME. 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."

NZME Head of Cultural Partnerships, Lois Turei, says Te Rito is an exciting and ground-breaking initiative which will inject the industry with young voices that better reflect the diverse communities of Aotearoa.

"Te Rito principles are grounded in tikanga Maori (protocol) and this will hold the space for cadets of all backgrounds to carry their cultural practices into their professional lives. 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."

Newshub Director of News, Sarah Bristow, says the media industry needs to be more representative of the communities it serves.

"Te Rito aims to break down some of the barriers that are preventing young, diverse voices from being part of our media landscape. It offers development and mentoring opportunities in the hope the cadets of today become the trailblazing journalists of tomorrow."

NZ On Air Head of Journalism Raewyn Ngāi Tahu/Kai Tahu, says training is acknowledged as one of three pillars to the Public Interest Journalism Fund because it is so crucial for the future of NZ media.

"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."

Te Rito will soon begin advertising for a kaihautu (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.

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