Category Archives: Uncategorized

Levin journalist wins 2018 Bruce Jesson journalism award

Levin journalist Aaron Smale has won this year’s Bruce Jesson journalism award to fund research into abuse of patients at the former Lake Alice mental hospital near Marton.
Smale, a freelance journalist whose previous work on abuse at Lake Alice helped to put the wider issue of abuse of people in state care on the public agenda, receives a $4000 grant to fund further work on the issue.
The annual grant was established to honour journalist and politician Bruce Jesson,  who died in 1999. It funds “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues”.
Bruce Jesson Foundation acting chair Simon Collins says Aaron Smale’s work, done mostly without secure employment but with a passionate commitment to social justice, is “exactly the sort of work that the Jesson Foundation exists to support”.
“This work would not be done without an independent source of funding for public-interest journalism,” he says.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has donated to the foundation over the past 18 years so that we can contribute in a small way towards funding Aaron’s important work.”
The foundation has given this year’s Emerging Journalist Award of $1000 for published work by a student journalist to Wellington journalist Meriana Johnsen for a story published in the Sunday Star-Times on police handling of suicide calls, written while she was a journalism student at Massey University.
Two other Massey students have been awarded special $500 highly commended awards: Amber Allott, for an investigation into reptile trading published in NZ Geographic magazine, and Anna Whyte, for an in-depth story on revenge porn published on the TVNZ website.
The awards are being announced at the annual Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture, which is being delivered at Auckland University at 6pm tonight by Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith.

We support independent & critical thinking

We need your help to continue our work

Our democracy depends on the talents and efforts of those relatively few journalists, commentators and outlets willing to challenge the status quo. Their work allows us to challenge the limits to political debate in New Zealand.

Bruce Jesson was one of New Zealand’s great thinkers, a social critic whose writing put the establishment and the then new breed of ’money men’ under the microscope as New Zealand went through convulsive change in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet Bruce was also welcome in board rooms and around council tables. His fine mind, his pragmatism and his collegial attitude endeared him to business leaders and politicians, even if he couldn’t be persuaded to credulously follow their short-sighted and sometimes damaging policies.

When he died the Bruce Jesson Foundation was established to celebrate his legacy and to promote activities that would generate critical, informed, analytical and creative contributions to political debate in New Zealand and about New Zealand.

In these days of weak traditional media this task is ever more critical.

That’s why we are inviting you to join us in helping apply intelligence where there is tabloidism, informed analysis where there is bigotry, reason where there is sensationalism, and substance where there is shallow, lazy thinking.

It’s critical that high quality journalism endures. We make grants every year to journalists who need support to undertake brave and important work, and awards to promising journalism students who are the profession’s future.

But, apart from royalties from a book of Bruce Jesson’s collected articles, the trust has always depended on donations. In the last few years those donations, at our annual lecture and otherwise, have barely covered the $4000 a year in journalism grants and awards (our accounts are available on the Charities Commission web site). We have used up most of the reserves that we built up in earlier years and we now need to develop a more sustainable system of ongoing donations that can keep the grants and awards going at least at their current level, and preferably increase them.

To continue and expand the Foundation’s activities your support is crucial. Without it our ongoing work is in jeopardy. By contributing to the Bruce Jesson Foundation you will help us continue our efforts. Small contributions are very welcome, especially regular ones.

Please become a supporter today by following this link to our

Contribution Page

Making fun of TPP: National Cartoon Competition Launched

The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will be held in Auckland from 3-12 December, presumably at Sky City as that was the venue of the December 2010 round.
A Trans-Pacific Partnership Cartoon Competition has been launched to encourage the country’s satirists and graphic artists to engage creatively with the many issues. Continue reading Making fun of TPP: National Cartoon Competition Launched