Wanted: NZ's brightest budding journalist

Published: Wed 2 Jul 2008 09:42 AM
Tuesday July 1, 2008
Fairfax Media Launches Search For 2009 Journalism Interns
Wanted: New Zealand's brightest budding journalists.
Fairfax Media, New Zealand's largest newspaper, magazine and web publisher, is again seeking the country's young journalism prospects for its journalism intern scheme and, after training at five leading journalism schools, to join publications or websites of their choice.
Fairfax Media Group Executive Editor Paul Thompson said applications for this year's intern scheme will open on July 2, 2008. Applicants will undergo an on-line written test and from that, would-be interns will undergo other written tests before interviews by representatives of their chosen publications or website and journalism schools.
Fairfax Media's journalism intern scheme began in 2006 and results to date have been outstanding.
Among other things, the scheme offers participants:
- The opportunity to study for a year at one of the five participating institutions
- Work experience during course holidays at one of Fairfax's publications
- Reimbursement of course fees to successful applicants
- Employment with a Fairfax publication at the conclusion of the course
- On-going training and career development.
Fairfax, which owns nine daily newspapers including The Dominion Post and The Press, two national Sunday newspapers, magazines, a magazine publishing business, internet operations, and more than 50 community newspapers throughout the country, will be seeking about 20 interns to undergo training in 2009.
They will undergo year-long training for a Diploma or Graduate Diploma in Journalism at one of five institutions - the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Aoraki Polytechnic, Timaru, Massey University, Wellington, the Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, and the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Where possible, successful applicants will be trained in the institution of their choice.
"This fresh approach to the hiring of some of our young journalists is a great example of co-operation between Fairfax editors, our five participating journalism schools and above all, the interns themselves," Mr. Thompson said.
Interns from the 2006 intake are now working in newsrooms around the country, and another 19 are studying this year to join Fairfax newsrooms next year.
"We want the best and we're satisfied we're meeting that objective," he said.
"For example, in the Student-Print section of the 2008 Qantas awards, one of our interns, John Hartevelt, who studied at Canterbury and joined the Press, won the award. Two finalists, Susana Talagi, who studied at Wintec and now works for the Western Leader, and Matt Calman, a reporter at the Dominion Post who studied at Massey, were also interns."
Fairfax has also started what will become a comprehensive workplace training programme for young journalists because of its commitment to interns. The programme will extend over two years.
Fairfax was also pleased that one of the aims of the scheme - a greater diversity of students considering taking up journalism - had been achieved in both 2007 and 2008.
"The scheme gives us the opportunity to influence the type of graduate we're looking for. Our editors and journalism schools need to be assured they do get the best available people, and the intern scheme has proved that maintaining standards and finding greater diversity is achievable.
"Above all, however, through this scheme we want to ensure that Fairfax publications and websites are regarded as the preferred place for journalists to work," he said.
The selection process will include an online application form including at least four written exercises. These will be marked and applicants judged to have the aptitude to make good journalists will be selected to sit a two hour writing and general knowledge exercise designed to test journalistic aptitude at cities throughout the country.
After that process, editors will choose those they wish to interview according to the publication and school preferences of the applicants. Representatives of the participating schools take part in and approve all selected interns.
During course holidays, participants will be employed by one of Fairfax's publications. During this time, they will work with experienced journalists and have a mentor to offer support and guidance.
On the successful completion of their course, participants will be reimbursed for their course fees. Successful applicants will be bonded to Fairfax for two years.
Jim Tully, Head of the School of Political Science and Communication at the University of Canterbury said: "We have enjoyed working with Fairfax Media to provide a strong grounding in journalism skills for its interns. It has been a most harmonious relationship reflecting a high level of mutual respect. Our independence as a quality tertiary provider has not been compromised in any way.
"Canterbury has always valued its strong links with the news industry. The intern scheme is an opportunity to work even more directly with a key media company that is committed to training and professional development."
Wintec's programme manager journalism Charles Riddle said: "The internship scheme sits well within Wintec's journalism training programme. The interns have the benefit of a full programme of studies with the added incentive of guaranteed employment when they complete their diploma."
"We have been very pleased with the calibre of the first Fairfax interns. They come from diverse backgrounds and are mature and focused. We expect them to be very good journalists.
"Wintec's journalism programme is focused on reducing the gap between classroom and newsroom. Wintec students are involved in a range of ongoing projects with local media, including Fairfax's Waikato and Auckland community and daily newspapers. The programme means the students can learn their craft and practice their skills in real situations which results in greater understanding and better quality of work."
Massey Journalism head Grant Hannis said the Fairfax intern scheme has been a great success.
"Massey's course is a partnership between the University and the journalism industry, and the Fairfax intern scheme has enhanced that relationship by allowing Massey to work directly with a leading news media company in the selection of its future recruits.
"Fairfax interns work as hard at Massey as any of our other talented students. Fairfax has helped ensure that students who are not part of the scheme continue to enjoy all the opportunities they always had on our course," Dr Hannis said.
Aoraki Polytechnic fully supports the Fairfax Intern Scheme for the extra dimension it brings to journalism training, School of Journalism coordinator/tutor Peter O'Neill said.
"The scheme demonstrates early faith and investment in budding journalists, and gives them some security as they embark on an exciting career. The intern scheme fits well with Aoraki's highly regarded diploma programme, due to its focus on the print media and credibility within the industry.
"I look forward to being involved with the Fairfax scheme again in 2008, and trust successful interns will look to Timaru as an excellent training choice,'' Mr. O'Neill said.
AUT journalism curriculum leader Associate Professor Martin Hirst said participation in the scheme is a sign of strength in journalism education in this country.
"The AUT journalism programme is one of the longest running in New Zealand and we are pleased to continue our participation in the Fairfax Media intern scheme. Our Graduate Diploma in Journalism is recognised as one of the strongest in the country," he said.
"We are happy to work closely with Fairfax Media on the training of the next generation of talented and committed journalists."

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