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Thursday 23 May 2024

Once a week, journalism students from Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University have been broadcasting The Rundown, a live news show from the Ghuznee Street studios of Wellington Access Radio.

Giving Wellington the Rundown

(Clockwise from left) Takunda Mabonga, Thomas Bishop, Associate Professor James Hollings, Rebecca Weiss, Caitlin Lester, Amiria Pianta-Price, Jessica Bleach, and Kat Rogers.

Last updated: Tuesday 4 June 2024

Students spend the morning at the studio researching and creating their bulletin and then go live on air, showcasing local information and breaking news.

It brings together a mix of undergraduate Bachelor of Communication (majoring in Journalism) students and Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism students. Those involved in the production of the show have been using it as a platform to produce coursework for undergraduate courses Introduction to Journalism and Current affairs Journalism, as well as postgraduate courses Advanced News Journalism, and Journalism and Society.

Associate Professor James Hollings, who teaches on both the undergraduate and postgraduate journalism programmes, described how the production of The Rundown has been guided by a story-first approach.

“Journalism schools and newsrooms were traditionally organised around a medium-led approach, where the focus was on producing stories for different mediums like radio, print, online and so on. The story-first approach has allowed students to adapt the radio stories for other mediums like Facebook and TikTok. It’s exactly the kind of journalism they will be expected to produce in modern newsrooms. It’s been a great learning platform for the students. What they have done in three months is amazing.

“The in-studio production time has been a supplement to the formal course hours, so the fact that students are willing to do this in their own time is an indicator of their enthusiasm,” he adds.

Journalism Tutor Carla Gray with student Maggie Lu

Journalism Tutor Carla Gray who has led the on-site production team says she has tried to replicate a newsroom as closely as possible.

“Putting students into this kind of professional media environment is a great way to replicate a newsroom as closely as I can. I’ve tried to make sure it has a fairly rigid structure to replicate real-life, so that they are really prepared for it. But it also forces everyone to be that much more professional in their approach, which is great. They are producing a really good quality, bona-fide news show.”

Postgraduate student Caitlin Lester says producing content for the show has been like a real boot camp.

“It’s a taste of what it is like to be a working journalist. We have quite tight deadlines and there are always pieces due. Never a dull moment and never a chance to rest. I think that’s probably a realistic indication of what the industry is like.”

Second-year student Jessica Bleach says she has enjoyed the experience.

“It’s been really cool. Working with Carla, who used to work at the BBC, and James Hollings – they have been really incredible to work with. Having a platform to put our stories on is really exciting. It is also a motivator for us to produce higher quality stories because it is getting published.”

You can listen to broadcasts from The Rundown here

Students Caitlin Lester & Paris Ibell

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