5 Jul 2012

Media told to take note of research on reporting Maori news

7:27 am on 5 July 2012

A senior member of the New Zealand Broadcasting School says it's important mainstream TV organisations consider new research findings, on the way they report Maori news.

A study published by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, The Centre of Research Excellence at Auckland University, compared news stories about Maori, from bulletins broadcast by Maori Television, TV3, Prime and TVNZ news and its Maori news service, Te Karere.

It found mainstream news organisations rarely cover Maori topics, unless they're about violence and crime.

One of study's authors, Doctor Raymond Nairn, says society in New Zealand is still very colonial in nature, and tries to make sure Maori know their place in society and stay there.

But Paul Norris, a former head of news and current affairs at TVNZ, disagrees and says that's an extreme opinion.

He says there have been some positive news stories featured in national news bulletins, some about the deaths of prominent Maori, and others about various Maori leaders in all walks of life.

Mr Norris says mainstream news coverage has changed, and over the years stories have highlighted the treaty partnership between Maori and non-Maori.

He says mainstream organisations select stories based on news values including whether a story has a national significance or appeals to a majority of groups.

Mr Norris says Maori organisations may have a slightly different focus, but it's important mainstream news organisations take note of the research, and consider what stories they're running.

He says news organisations always need to monitor their performance, and how they treat various groups in the community.