Europe and New Zealand: Exchange of Inclusive Journalism Students

Published: 9 June 2014

Regions: Europe and Asia-Pacific

journalism_studentsInclusive Journalism Initiative:Reporting Europe and the Asia Pacific is a mobility project between four journalism schools in Europe and New Zealand. Developing inclusive journalism curriculum was one of the recommendations of a study conducted by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) in partnership with Article 19 and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on how to report ethnicity and religion.

“When it comes to incorporating the idea of inclusive society into the curriculum, universities fall short of offering models that future journalists can use when reporting on diversity issues. This is about to change, thanks to Inclusive Journalist Initiative”, says Associate Professor Verica Rupar, head of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) journalism programme who is also an academic consultant for MDI.

The project between AUT (Auckland, New Zealand), the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand), the Danish School of Media and Journalism (Aarhuus, Denmark) and the Swedish School of Social Science(Helsinki, Finland) involves development of journalism curriculum, exchange of students and staff and joint research. This project is supported by MDI, Maori TV and Radio New Zealand.

“Journalism is the central route by which people learn about others beyond their immediate life world. Among the prerequisites for inclusive society – respect for all human rights, freedoms, a rule of law, the existing of strong civic society – an equal access to public information and tolerance for cultural diversity education plays a critical role. It provides opportunities to learn the history and culture of one’s own and other societies, which cultivates the understanding and appreciation of other societies, cultures and religions. The ‘inclusive society’ implies a radical set of changes through which society restructures itself to embrace all of its members”, Verica Rupar says.

In an interview for MDI website she explained how “journalism and journalism studies are at the crossroad since the authority and integrity of a journalist has been questioned”. “A journalist is not the only fast-processing-information expert anymore. That was during the times of conventional journalism, but now there are so many others, apart from the journalists, who are capable of giving the information. That is why we need to go back to the very mean of journalism which is to inform and to do something for society”, says Verica Rupar.

She highlighted the idea of inclusive society as very important tool in policy-making process, but “that idea needs to be developed even more”, says Rupar.

The programme sees European students spend a semester in New Zealand while the students from New Zealand head to Denmark or Finland, for the exchange.

Student Star Kata from Auckland (AUT) who is spending this semester in Denmark says: “You don’t really know where you’ve come from until you go somewhere else. It’s very weird when you walk down the street and people look at you like they’ve never seen black people before. So you almost have to take yourself out of yourself and just be open. And that translates into how you are as a journalist.”