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Journalism at UC takes a bow

20 May 2019

The Media and Communication journalism programme at the University of Canterbury (UC) was recognised with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2019 Voyager Media Awards on Friday.


From left to right: University of Canterbury senior lecturer and head of the journalism programme Dr Tara Ross, UC journalism tutor Jo Malcolm, UC Dean of Law Professor Ursula Cheer, and former head of journalism Adjunct Associate Professor Jim Tully at the Voyager Media Awards.

UC's Media and Communication Department's journalism programme, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was recognised with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2019 Voyager Media Awards on Friday 17 May. 

The programme boasts multiple award-winning alumni, including Wolfson fellows Rebecca Macfie and Martin van Beynen, Fulbright Tess McClure, Nieman fellow and Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield, and international award-winning broadcasters such as Kim Hill and Kathryn Ryan.

Journalism was first taught at Canterbury from about 1910 but petered out in the early 1950s. It returned in 1969 with the launch of the Graduate Diploma in Journalism, a class of 14, with an experienced British journalist named Val Williams and a young law lecturer named John Burrows press-ganged into teaching media law. John Burrows went on to become a much-respected professor, who made media law one of his specialist areas.

The arrival of a former Times correspondent Brian Priestley in 1975 took the course in a new direction with much greater attention to the basics of news reporting and a close relationship with suburban newspapers in Christchurch. Priestley became a household name with his weekly critique of the media on television's The Fourth Estate

Adjunct Associate Professor Jim Tully, who was in the class of 1969, built on that early legacy over 25 years. In 2011 he received an individual print industry outstanding achievement award for his teaching at UC. The citation read: For 25 years Jim has shaped and inspired the careers of many of the country's leading journalists and editors. He is the only person to receive two outstanding achievement awards.

Another UC Postgraduate Diploma of Journalism graduate, Dr Tara Ross took the helm in 2013, teaching alongside former broadcaster Jo Malcolm (class of ’87) and UC Dean of Law Professor Ursula Cheer.

Now, after 50 years, the Postgraduate Diploma will morph into a new journalism programme offered jointly as a graduate diploma and an undergraduate major in the University of Canterbury’s new Bachelor of Communication.

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