PMC Multimedia

13 October 2012

AUDIO: PMC calls for independent Pacific student media

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Radio NZ's Mediawatch: Broadcasters blurring the boundary between advertising and journalism; how our universities and polytechnics are engaging the media today - and could contribute more in the future. (37′20″)

AUCKLAND (Radio NZ Mediawatch / Pacific Media Watch): Pacific media coverage by AUT University's Pacific Media Centre was featured in this week's Radio NZ Mediawatch programme.

Among several issues explored by presenter Colin Peacock was how universities were engaging with media and producing their own content.

Along with an Otago University politics television programme, Mediawatch discussed PMC Online and its sister website Pacific Scoop, set up as postgraduate outlets for a partnership between AUT and Pacific students, journalists and academics writing about the region.

In late August, the Pacific Media Centre deployed the only student journalist, Henry Yamo from Papua New Guinea, to report on the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Peacock noted that while many NZ media organisations mostly featured only Prime Minister John Key or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their stories about the forum, the PMC team at Pacific Scoop partnered up with the Cook Islands News to provide a wider, more balanced coverage.

Was the PMC set up to plug the gap that NZ media "can't fill or just don't want to," asked Peacock.

"For the past 20 years, specialist reporters in  the area have become very scarce in New Zealand," PMC director Professor David Robie said.

"The cutback in resources in most media organisations means that there is less and less coverage of the region, less attention devoted to the Pacific.

"We definitely operate a niche media.

"It isn't just a training ground for our students on both of our websites. We provide an outlet for journalists from all around the region and academics and specialists.

"We try to track issues as they are unfolding from a regional perspective," he said.

"During the forum, we were publishing up to 10 to 15 stories a day, including environmental and development issues, and political sagas.

"For example, we have covered West Papua for many years now. We are probably the only NZ media organisation doing this - apart from Radio NZ International, that is - that have been covering West Papua."

"It is one of the biggest issues of the region."

Listen to the full David Robie interview at 17m37s


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David Robie

Professor, PMC Director

Professor David Robie is an author, journalist and media educator specialising in Asia-Pacific affairs.