A groundbreaking initiative by four media partners to attract and develop more diverse voices into the industry has reached a milestone.
New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Māori TV, Discovery / Newshub and the
Pacific Media Network, with support from NZ on Air's Public Interest Journalism Fund, have selected the 25 cadets for the Te Rito journalism training programme, which starts next month.
A comprehensive recruitment drive to inject the industry with voices that better reflect the diverse communities of Aotearoa attracted close to 100 applicants from around the country.
The cohort has representation across multiple ethnicities and languages, as well as the rainbow and disability communities.
NZME Head of Cultural Partnerships, Lois Turei, said interviewing such a diverse range of candidates for the programme was an inspiring and humbling experience for the panellists. Te Rito partners had been challenged on whether the project would attract 25 suitable candidates from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
"The response to the recruitment drive was astounding, and competition for places was fierce. We had close to 100 applicants who had a broad range of professional skills, cultural grounding, unique lived experiences and a passion to tell stories about issues that affect their communities.
"If we do our job right, we will release a tranche of journalists into newsrooms who have unique and fresh perspectives that better reflect New Zealand communities. How exciting is that?"
Based in Auckland, cadets will be paid a junior wage during the one-year programme and will experience all facets of journalism across digital, print, radio and broadcast television. They will also be mentored by experienced newsroom operators.
Ten cadets fluent in te reo Māori will be based at Māori Television and 15 will be based at the NZME central office. All cadets will learn and work across the newsrooms of the four media partners and other affiliated media organisations.
Wena Harawira, Tāhuhu Kawe Pūrongo - Head of News and Current Affairs at Māori TV, said the 10 te reo-fluent cadets, including five from iwi radio, were models of Māori language revitalisation.
"It's a lesson to the media industry that future investment must be made in the recruitment and development of Māori journalists."
Sarah Bristow, Newshub's Director of News, said it was exciting to have cadets with
such diverse backgrounds wanting to be involved in news journalism and embarking on the Te Rito journey.
Pacific Media Network CEO Don Mann described Te Rito as an investment into strengthening the future journalistic voices of Te Moananui-a-Kiva tagata (Pacific people).
"Each brings their own mana, skills and perspectives that we know will broaden the journalism landscape of Aotearoa. With this special programme, we look forward to seeing great returns for our Pasifika and indigenous communities."
NZ on Air's Head of Journalism, Raewyn Rasch, said it was heartening to see the high numbers of people keen to join the programme and become journalists.
"These new cadets will help the PIJF create sustainable change, providing a transformational wave of Māori and Pasifika journalists into the country's newsrooms."
The programme is led by Gesa Luamanu, a dedicated advocate for Māori and Pasifika communities with extensive corporate media experience.
The cadets begin training on February 8.