UC Connect: Why good journalism matters more than ever

Presenter: Mark Jennings, Paul Thompson, Joanna Norris, Dr Tara Ross
  • Date: Thursday, 14 September 2017 to Thursday, 14 September 2017
  • Time: 07:00PM to 08:00PM
  • Location: Undercroft 101, Puaka James Hight Building, University of Canterbury, Ilam Campus
  • Ticket: Free

Economics Professor Julia Cagé argues that news, like education, is a public good. We depend on journalists to hold politicians and governments to account, and to provide the information necessary for citizens to participate in decision-making and debate.

Journalism is certainly integral to a well-functioning democracy, especially in a ‘post-truth’ environment, where fake news can spread virally on social media and prominent politicians, such as American President Donald Trump, peddle ‘alternative’ facts.

In this UC Connect public lecture, three of New Zealand’s top newsroom leaders and champions of quality journalism – Radio New Zealand CEO Paul Thompson, Fairfax South Island Editor-in-Chief Joanna Norris and Newsroom co-founder and Editor Mark Jennings – will discuss how independent, effective reporting and analysis still matters, perhaps now more than ever. The panel will be hosted by University of Canterbury Journalism Senior Lecturer and former journalist Dr Tara Ross.

About the panellists:

Mark Jennings, Co-founder and Editor Newsroom

Mark Jennings’ career in journalism extends back to the late 1970s when he joined TV One as a trainee journalist in Christchurch. He spent 10 years in front of the camera in Australia before returning to New Zealand to join MediaWorks, where he became TV3’s longstanding Head of News and Current Affairs. In 2017, along with Tim Murphy, former editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald, Mark launched the independent New Zealand-based news and current affairs site, Newsroom.

Joanna Norris, South Island Editor-in-Chief Fairfax Media

Joanna Norris is South Island editor-in-chief for Fairfax Media and editor of The Press. She leads a team of 180 journalists across The Press, Stuff, Nelson Mail, Marlborough Express, Timaru Herald, Southland Times, and more than 15 community newspapers. Joanna has worked as a journalist on daily newspapers in New Zealand, Britain and the Middle East and, before joining The Press, she was digital editor at The Dominion Post in Wellington. She has won several journalism and leadership awards, including media awards for reporting and feature writing. She is also chair of the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee and was last year awarded the Fairfax Media Women of Influence Award as Change and Innovation Champion.

Paul Thompson, CEO Radio New Zealand

Paul Thompson was appointed Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief of New Zealand’s public service broadcaster, Radio New Zealand, in September 2013. He is an experienced journalist with an extensive background in print media and publishing. He was Editor-in-Chief of Fairfax Media (New Zealand) from 2007 to 2013 with responsibility for all Fairfax journalism in New Zealand. Before this, Paul had been editor of The Press and had worked as a reporter, sub-editor and newsroom executive in several New Zealand and UK publications. In 2016, he was elected president of the largest global association of public broadcasters, the Public Media Alliance (formerly known as the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association).

To secure your place at this free public lecture, please register by clicking the 'Register Now' red button above.


The UC Connect public lecture series offers the community the opportunity to attend topical, interesting, educational lectures on a range of topics given by experts in their fields. To receive notifications on upcoming UC Connect speakers, join our mailing list.

Contact website: www.canterbury.ac.nz/ucconnect

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