Michael Dickison Michael Dickison

Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism

Senior Reporter, New Zealand Herald

I was drawn to Massey's reputation, its small and diverse classes, its quality of lecturers, and its connections with the industry. Wellington seemed an ideal city to study journalism in, and it was. You were immersed in the course. The students came from all over and, for the year, learning to be journalists was everything. We talked about it, questioned it, gave it everything.

I started at Fairfax's sub-hub right after Massey, then worked six months as a reporter at the online nzherald.co.nz, six months as the Herald’s Bay of Plenty reporter – spending a bit of that time in Christchurch (covering the earthquake) and at Pike River (the mine disaster) – about six weeks at the Deccan Herald in Bangalore, India (through a Massey-Asia NZ scholarship), and a month in Japan to report on its 2011 tsunami.

I've been at the Herald's Auckland office since, and that's probably the best way to get started.

Massey’s teaching was practical, the lecturers always available and supportive, and the course work forced you to take the initiative which, really, seems to be the critical thing.

There were enough challenges to always be stimulated. I loved the collaborative projects in video, etc – there's much more working together and helping one another in newsrooms than you'd expect. And the internships at real papers were invaluable.

An internship I did for the course led directly to my job at the Herald.

The Massey course also taught us extra skills that have come in handy in getting to do more than straight reporting, including photography/Photoshop, video editing, etc.

The course is about more than the skills you pick up. What I keep remembering is the feeling we had – and which the lecturers encouraged – that we should enjoy what we did.

It's an attitude, I think, that has let many of us from the course have a sense of independence, to approach journalism as more than just a job to do.

And that's probably what we had hoped for in getting into it in the first place. Having lecturers with a real perspective on what work is like – and how to make the most of it – is irreplaceable.

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