Senior journos recall newsroom battles

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Several generations of journalists swapped scoops and stories – on and off the record – at the 50th anniversary reunion of the Massey University School of Journalism on November 26, 2016.

senior-journos-recall-diana-goodmanMembers of the original class of 1966 – when newspaper stories were written on manual ink and ribbon typewriters and newsrooms were full of cigarette smoke – mixed with digital natives from the 2016 intake and graduates in between. The gathering celebrated a half century of producing journalism graduates ready for print, broadcast and online careers.

Gender discrimination

Diana Goodman, a graduate of the class of 1970 and the BBC’s first female foreign correspondent, gave the keynote address mixing some of the highlights of her own career with insights into the current media environment.

After graduating from the Wellington Polytechnic journalism programme, now part of Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, and taking reporting roles in New Zealand and then provincial Britain, she then landed a job in BBC radio’s reporters’ pool.

There she encountered her first resistance to women working as journalists, telling the audience there were “20-plus men and me, and to say they were unsupportive would be an understatement.”

She soon proved her mettle in hot spots such as 1980s war-torn Beirut where she ran into a fellow graduate of the class of 1970, Tom Aspel.

“We were surprised – to say the least – to discover each other in the middle of a civil war,” she remarked, to much laughter among the 120 guests.

Ms Goodman’s career then took her to Eastern Europe, and scenes of historic change in Berlin, Romania and Russia.

Diverse views

Her hectic reporting schedule in those years was such, she wryly noted; “that I developed a reputation for leaving in the middle of my own dinner parties.”

Bringing her insights up to the present day, she said there was room for media to acknowledge the wide range of diverse views held by great swathes of populations, as reflected in the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, while future-proofing the journalism industry also.

Among the high-profile guests were Radio Live announcer and former TVNZ presenter Mark Sainsbury, broadcaster Sean Plunket, former Evening Post editor Rick Neville and former Fair Go front man Kevin Milne.

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Photo Caption: Diana Goodman (Story and Picture: Massey News)

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