Surveillance film and Living Wage report win 2015 Jesson awards

A documentary film about New Zealand’s role in the Five Eyes global surveillance network and a Living Wage feasibility report are the co-winners of this year’s senior Bruce Jesson Journalism Awards.

The awards, established in 2004 in honour of the journalist and politician Bruce Jesson who died in 1999, provide grants of up to $4000 in advance to complete works of “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism”.

This year the Bruce Jesson Foundation has awarded $3000 to Wellington-based Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones of CutCutCut Films for The 5th Eye, an investigation of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and its role in the global Five Eyes network,

The other $1000 goes to Auckland journalist and lawyer Catriona MacLennan for a report on the feasibility of adopting the living wage at Auckland Council.

The 5th Eye tells two stories in parallel – an investigation into the GCSB’s role in surveillance for the United States and its allies, and the 2008 break-in at the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough by three Catholic activists who successfully deflated a dome covering a satellite interception dish. Wright and King-Jones say the break-in was “a misadventure of sorts that saw the three almost fail in their mission through a series of mishaps and twists of fate”.

The footage was shot over the past seven years, and the Jesson grant will enable the film-makers to complete the edit in time for a 2016 release.

Catriona MacLennan’s report on the Living Wage aims to update a 2013 report on the feasibility of paying all Auckland Council workers and contractors at least the living wage – a pay rate high enough to support a couple with two children assuming that one parent works fulltime and one half-time. It is currently estimated to be $19.25 an hour. The minimum wage is $14.75 an hour.

In 2013 the council paid 1544 workers less than the living wage. At the same time it paid more than $100,000 to 1500 well-paid employees, a number that has risen to 1920 this year.

Wellington City Council has voted to support payment of a living wage both to contractors and employees but Auckland Council voted against a living wage.

In presenting Catriona MacLennan with her award, foundation chair Sir Edmund Thomas said he was well aware of her writings in the legal area and her journalism “invariably set the highest standard”.

The foundation has also given three Emerging Journalist Awards this year to journalism students, all from Massey University in Wellington. They are:

Rod Oram’s 2015 Bruce Jesson Lecture

On 14th October Rod Oram delivered the 2015 Bruce Jesson Lecture to an appreciative audience at the University of Auckland.

Addressing the future of business journalism in NZ, he identified the necessary starting point as grappling with the fundamental issues shaping our economy, and went on to outline how a new model for NZ business journalism would be built on three foundations: money, people and relationships.

A PDF version of the lecture can be downloaded here. A link to the video recording of the lecture will be posted as it becomes available.

Rod Oram to Deliver 2015 Lecture

The 2015 Bruce Jesson Lecture will be delivered by Rod Oram and entitled

‘Follow the money ‒ the future of business journalism’

The feeble state of business journalism in New Zealand and around the world is but a subset of journalism’s general decline. To try to survive financially, many media organisations are increasingly blurring the distinction between journalism and advertising, devaluing both in the process. Yet, there has never been a more important time for business journalism.

Profound change is sweeping through business and economics and the societies they help shape. Journalists should be trying to explain what’s happening – the good and the ill – for the benefit of participants and public alike.

Wednesday 14 October, 6pm

Maidment Theatre, 8 Alfred Street, The University of Auckland

Doors open at 5.45pm, lecture starts at 6pm The Maidment Bar will open from 5pm

Entries open for 2015 Jesson journalism awards

Have you got a journalistic project that you want to complete, but can’t get enough money or time to do it?

If so, a Bruce Jesson journalism award may be able to help. Applications for the 2015 awards are now open, and close on Friday 18 September.

There are two awards, a senior one to fund a planned journalistic project and a journalism student award for work that has already been published.

The Senior Journalism Award is unique in New Zealand because it funds time and research costs of up to $4000 in advance for projects that could be newspaper or magazine articles, reports on the internet, books, films, radio or TV documentaries or “any other publication which is aimed at, and accessible by, the general public of New Zealand or any part of New Zealand”.

Projects must be “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues”.

Past winners have included Nicky Hager, Max Rashbrooke and Rebecca Macfie for books; Jon Stephenson, Amy Richardson and Peter Malcouronne for magazine articles; Tina McIvor for a research report; and Alister Barry for his 2014 film on New Zealand’s climate change policies, Hot Air.

Applicants should submit an outline of their proposed project and explain how it meets the criteria set out here. It is usual to submit references and/or examples of previous work, and a budget for the project.

The Emerging Journalism Prize for student journalists offers $1000 for “outstanding recent work by New Zealand print journalism students.” It is nominated by the heads of New Zealand journalism schools or journalism programme leaders for work by student journalists published between the closing date of last year’s award, 26 Sept 2014, and this year’s closing date 18 Sept 2015.

Entries for both awards will be assessed by members of the Foundation’s Journalism Sub-committee: Geoff Kemp (convenor), Camille Guy, Joe Atkinson and Simon Collins.

Applications and nominations can be submitted online

2014 Bruce Jesson Awards

The Bruce Jesson Foundation has announced its 2014 Journalism Awards:

  • The Senior Journalism Award of $4000 for a proposed work of “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing that will contribute to public debate in NZ on an important issue or issues” was awarded to Max Rashbrooke for an e-book on wealth inequality in NZ;
  • The Emerging Journalism Award of $1000 for “outstanding published work of critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing by NZ print journalism students which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues” was awarded to Chloe Winter of Massey University, Wellington, for her article “War against killers we face at work“, published in the Herald on Sunday on 3 November 2013.

2014 Bruce Jesson Lecture Available

On 15 October, Mike Joy delivered the 2014 Bruce Jesson Lecture at Auckland University. His topic, Paradise Squandered; New Zealand’s Environmental Asset Stripping. Mike’s capacity to blend an engaging narrative with the detail in his many informative slides meant an attentive audience, with many thirsty for more information and access to to resources referenced. Mike undertook to write the lecture up for distribution and it is now available in PDF form here.

Of particular note was that this lecture was not just an account of the damage that has been wrought on New Zealand’s environmental assets, but a call to action:

Crucially we must immediately stop the procrastination; we must get the science back and get rid of the politics. We must accept the reality that we can’t collaborate away environmental reality. Community agreement won’t stop the reality of impacts once the conditions for declines and biodiversity losses exist.

He went on to outline key actions required to arrest and then reverse this degradation:

At the many talks I have given to farming groups the usual response is “that’s all very grim, so now give me some solutions”, which translated means give me some (preferably technical) solution so that we can keep doing what we are doing because I’m not prepared to stop doing what I am doing. Of course this is not possible to really achieve improvements, so we must make these simple changes. We must:

  • put a cost on pollution (or premium on not polluting)
  • farm for profitability not for capital gain
  • Immediately move away from fossil fertiliser
  • Immediately move away from imported fertiliser and feed.

Please take the time to download Mike’s lecture, read it, and distribute it as widely as possible.

The 2014 Bruce Jesson Lecture Mike Joy – Paradise Squandered; New Zealand’s Environmental Asset Stripping

New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and most of our groundwater are in a critical state. Decades of misguided regulation and a free-for-all on diffuse pollution have encouraged agricultural intensification and driven our increasing reliance on imported feed and fertiliser.

The inevitable consequences have been devastating environmental impacts as well as increasing economic and biosecurity risks.

The solutions are many but require a paradigm shift; a move away from dependence on imported feed and fertiliser to keeping nutrients on farm and adding value to products, and strong leadership to move away from short-term thinking that accepts the massive ecological debt we are running up. 

Mike Joy MSc(Hons), PhD in Ecology is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology Group-Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North. He has received a number of awards, including the Ecology in Action award from the New Zealand Ecological Society; an Old Blue award from the Royal Forest and Bird protection Society; Environmental New Zealander of the Year from North and South magazine and the Manawatu Evening Standard Person of the Year.

Presented by Politics and International Relations and the Bruce Jesson Foundation

Wednesday 15 October, 6.30pm
Maidment Theatre
Alfred Street
The University of Auckland
The Maidment Bar will open from 5.30pm

HOT AIR – climate change politics in New Zealand

HOT AIR is the story of twenty years of political struggle between politicians, scientists and activists wanting to reduce New Zealand’s emissions, and corporate leaders and their lobbyists working to protect profits and commercial advantage.

HOT AIR, a new documentary by Alister Barry & Abi King-Jones, will be screening in the upcoming New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Hamilton & Palmerston North.

In 2013 Alister Barry won the Bruce Jesson Foundation’s Senior Journalism Award to assist in completion of the film.

See for session dates & times.

Auckland Screening Times
Friday 1 August 1:00 p.m. SKY CITY CINEMA
Saturday 2 August 3:30 p.m. SKY CITY CINEMA
Location : Sky City Cinema