Nicky Hager to deliver 2012 Bruce Jesson Lecture

This year’s Bruce Jesson Lecture will focus on New Zealand’s need for investigative journalism – by someone once described as “New Zealand’s leading investigative journalist”.

Nicky Hager, who will present the lecture at Auckland University on 31 October, has been a fulltime writer for more than 20 years and is the sole New Zealand member of the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

His first book, Secret Power (1996), exposed New Zealand’s role in the international surveillance network Echelon.

Seeds of Distrust, on how Helen Clark’s Government covered up the contamination of corn crops by genetically modified seeds, created a political storm when it came out just before the 2002 election.

The Hollow Men (2006), detailing thousands of internal emails and meetings in the National Party before the 2005 election, precipitated Don Brash’s resignation as National leader.

His latest book, Other People’s Wars (2011), uses leaked military and intelligence documents and interviews with key players to reveal the true extent of New Zealand’s involvement in the US-led “War on Terror”.

Hager’s Jesson lecture, “Investigative journalism in the age of media meltdown: from National Party Headquarters to Afghanistan”, will look at “why New Zealand needs investigative journalism, how it is done, and what it will take to have more of it”.

“I am keen to use the opportunity of this lecture to talk widely about the state of politics in New Zealand today, bringing together ideas that have been underlying and running through what I’ve been writing about New Zealand and politics for years,” he says.

“My belief is that we don’t talk enough about why things are like they are and a Bruce Jesson lecture is an ideal opportunity for this.”

“I will then look at the role and potential of investigative journalism, in the context of considering what is needed to improve politics in this country.”

The annual Bruce Jesson Lecture is organised by the Bruce Jesson Foundation in memory of Bruce Jesson (1944-99), another great investigative journalist who, like Hager, worked mainly as an independent writer without any regular wage or salary for most of his life.

The lecture will be at Auckland University’s Maidment Theatre at 6.30pm on Wednesday 31 October. Admission by donation, bar open from 5.30pm. More details:

2 thoughts on “Nicky Hager to deliver 2012 Bruce Jesson Lecture

  1. Not just “investigative” journalism is in crisis – that applies to all journalism. For example, the New Zealand Herald lost half its newsroom in one ten year period. And that was before the Global Financial Crisis.

    There are numerous other examples, but what sticks in my mind was a 2010 sitting in the public gallery at Parliament where Speaker Lockwood Smith accused the government of a “reckless misuse of official data.”

    Not one media outlet reported the quote, instead carrying colour pieces on a visit to the House by beauty pageant contestants the same day. Dr. Smith may now be one of the few Speakers worldwide to be kicked out by his own government, kicked upstairs to be our representative in London.

    Misuse of official data remains a concern given the many mistakes highlighted in education reviews of Christchurch (and, no doubt, elsewhere), but is limited not just to data, but other facts as well – Dotcom anyone?

    Is there any real investigative journalism in New Zealand anymore? Is there a single media organisation that employs anyone under that title?

  2. If I left the Maidment Theatre last night even a smidgen more optimistic, it was not only because of the weight of the words Nicky Hager shared, but also because it felt like a watershed moment in time, given the company I saw I was in when the lights went on..
    If the Heritage Trust index placing of NZ* now, that obviously surprised so many given the gasps I heard, doesn’t galvanise many to treble their efforts to inform the wider public, that the suspension of democracy is not just a Christchurch byeline but part of the current political policy programmes prevalent here, I don’t know what will? 93.0 Freedom from corruption?..
    I know it was Halloween but the hairs actually stood up on the back of my neck..

    I hope I may not see some in similar jumpsuits as ‘political prisoners’ in whatever Serco gulag they choose to put the few in who are still trying inside & outside of the mainstream if they didn’t feel similarly motivated and actually start workin on ways how to, in their heads at least, on their way home? Slater announced in charge of Truth today must have Bruce Jesson’s spirit howling with hysterical laughter.

Comments are closed.