Telum Talks To... Katie Harris, Multimedia Journalist, NZME

Telum Talks To... Katie Harris, Multimedia Journalist, NZME

You recently returned from Jakarta where you took part in an ACICIS Journalism Professional Practicum internship through the Asia New Zealand Foundation. Can you tell us about the internship and why you decided to apply?
I originally heard of the Jakarta Journalism Practicum from then-Newshub Journalist Megan Sutherland who had done the trip two years ago, since then I had my heart set on attending. There are so many different facets of life in Indonesia, and the country itself is incredibly diverse. I was there for seven weeks, and before my month-long placement at Agence France-Presse (AFP) I did a Bahasa Indonesia language course. The most memorable story I worked on was on my first day at work. I covered a treason trial for two Papuan activists, the trial had been put on hold because the pair wanted to be tried in the traditional Koteka-penis gourd. It's hard to quantify how much this experience has impacted my life, but I recall in our Asia New Zealand pre-departure briefing they said you will forever be changed by your Asian experience - and they weren't wrong.

You got to learn about how the business culture and media works in Asia through the internship. What are some of the biggest differences you found between Asia and New Zealand?
In terms of my reporting, the biggest difference is the slower style of news. The wheels of government, and other institutions seemed to turn at a slower rate and you couldn’t just "parachute" into a story. One interview I did when reporting on female surfers in Lombok took over an hour of general conversation with one guy before I was even allowed to turn on the tape. I don’t think one way is better or worse, it’s just different - in Indonesian culture it's really important to get to know people, and actually spend time with sources.

What are the key takeaways from the internship?
The biggest takeaway for me was definitely developing better cultural awareness. I think we often go into other countries with preconceived ideas on what life and work will be like there, but actually sitting back and getting to know the basics of how their things worked in Indonesia was far more valuable than getting a big scoop.

Last year you were a part of the launch of an independent lifestyle magazine Yo, Vocal. Can you tell us a bit about the title and why you decided to launch it?
Last year my friend Javi Katzur launched Yo, Vocal and initially, I said I would work as the Chief Reporter, however, I transitioned to Editor as well. Both myself and Javi were really passionate about giving young people a space to be creative. We had so many talented friends and wanted a medium to showcase a range of skills. Although I signed off as Editor after the second edition, the magazine is still running and a third issue is now in the works. I am really proud of my time with Yo Vocal. The magazine is completely independent and gives artists, designers, photographers, and writers space to fully express themselves.

You recently joined Newstalk ZB as a Multimedia Journalist. What are some of the stories you will be keeping an eye on?
I currently work for NZME, which has been fantastic so far. Although my training was predominantly print-focused, I have loved working in radio. Because I work as a Multimedia Journalist, I have also been working stories for the New Zealand Herald as well. My journalistic interests are quite varied right now, but I am focusing on honing in my multimedia skills including video, radio, writing, and photography.

Most memorable story you have worked on?
The most memorable piece I’ve worked has to be breaking the first ever Mongrel Mob women’s chapter story. I was still a student, and had met the soon-to-be leader Paula Ormsby at a criminal justice lecture the week before. I knew there was a deeper story, so when I interviewed her later in the week, she said they wanted to announce the chapter and had chosen to do it through me.

Coffee, lunch or, drinks?
I don't drink coffee, but anyone who knows me can attest that I drink tea by the litre and have a collection of adorable little teapots. So, I'm always down for a coffee break, but I stick to the loose-leaf earl grey.

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Katie Harris

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