Be . Leadership August 2016: Mass Media has a significant force that reflects and constructs modern culture

by Kim Smith

It was great to return and to see everyone again in the City of Sails for Session Six of the Be Leadership programme. There was an air of excitement for the weekend. We had a fantastic programme in store for us about the significance of the media and how it influences our everyday lives.

Day One

Our first speaker of the day would have to be considered media royalty, and there was great anticipation in the group. We were privileged to have John Campbell join us, who spoke about the important role that journalism and, in particular, advocacy journalism plays in society. He reminded us that it is so important to capture a moment in time naturally and to not anticipate or augment any stories. He spoke of the significance of having a balance of both bad and good news stories. He explained that sometimes the ability to be real and to follow a story through can be the authentic and powerful way to report on an issue. 

We were then privileged to have Tao Lin who, in contrast, is at the beginning of her career in the newspaper and digital media industry. For Tao, being able to find your niche in the media and to report on the stories that matter to you to keep you passionate – and balancing those stories that need to be reported on but do not interest you – was a key issue. 

John and Tao spoke about the environment that journalists are in, both in the public and private sector, and the importance of journalists to be able to report issues that they think are important, balanced with “click-bait” and popular media. Both also spoke about the importance of resilience and needing to keep going and following what is important to you. They said journalists need to recognise how they are feeling, process it and then move forward. It is who you are as a person that matters.

In the afternoon Jake and Sarah from the Be. Employed Team came and explained to us the amazing work that they do with the Be. Employed Internship Program.
The last session of the day was a little bittersweet as we started to think and talk about our Graduation at the end of the year. It has been such a year of growth and it has been fantastic to see each and every one of the group challenge themselves. The thought of not seeing our anymore group monthly is sad.

Day Two

Day Two started with an air of excitement as we waited for Minnie Baragwanath whose dream of 100% accessibility has seen us have the privilege to be on this leadership journey together. She spoke about the exciting times ahead and that joining the momentum will help sustain our ability to live in a society where the barriers are minimised for everyone with access needs. She reminded us the power of having a collective of the right people around you to both challenge and support you through all times of your life. She reminded us that it is ok to feel overwhelmed or not to have the strength all of the time, but to know how to recognise this and how to build yourself up again.

In the afternoon our syndicates shared our reviews of books that each of us have been reading. Each of the books reminded us that our strength comes from within our communities. It is important to connect resources within our local communities and to use them all efficiently and to not operate as individuals within society.

The last part of our session were another four My Futures from our group. They highlighted the strengths and the ability to experience life with greater intention that this programme has given us.

Once again thank you so much to the Sudima Auckland Airport for your fantastic hospitality, as well as Philip, Lesley, Sam and Hannah for again facilitating such a fantastic session. This experience truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I look to what the next session in September will bring.