Massey Journalism School celebrates 50 years From left, members of the 1966 journalism class, Robin Ormerod and Fran Wilde, cut the anniversary cake with two members of the 2016 class, Julie Iles and Miri Schroeter.

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

Massey is the oldest continuously operating journalism school in New Zealand and about 120 graduates, tutors and guests attended the reunion, held on the Wellington campus.

Diana Goodman, a graduate of the class of 1970 and the BBC’s first female foreign correspondent, gave the keynote address.

She mixed 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’s Journalism School, she landed a job as a BBC radio reporter.

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”.

Diana’s career took her to war in Beirut (where she bumped into another graduate of the course working as a reporter) and scenes of historic change in Berlin, Romania and Russia. Keynote speaker Diana Goodman (class of 1970).

Her hectic reporting schedule in those years was such “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.

“There is a need to recognise different attitudes, but defend our profession too.”

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Massey awarded Diana an honorary doctorate in May.

A video and transcript of the speech Diana gave at the J50 dinner can be viewed here.

At the reunion, alumni lists and class photos could be viewed in a room alongside the function’s venue.

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.

Bottles of champagne were presented to members of the class of 1973, who won the competition for having the greatest representation of any year at the reunion, with 11 graduates attending.

A minute’s silence was held for those involved in the course who have since died, including Noel Harrison, who established the course, and Christine Cole Catley, who was head tutor in its early days. Members of the class of 1973, who had the most graduates at the reunion.

Massey is developing an online archive of the Journalism School, featuring reminiscences and memorabilia. It can be viewed here

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