Telum Talks To... Olivia Shivas, Journalist at Stuff

Telum Talks To... Olivia Shivas, Journalist at Stuff

Telum Talks To Olivia Shivas
Tell us about your role at Stuff. What do you cover?
I am a Journalist on the Pou Tiaki team. Pou Tiaki, or Guard Post, is Stuff's strategy to improve the representation of all people in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

As a reporter in the Pou Tiaki team, we model the strategy's purpose in editorial, but every person employed at Stuff is also expected to exemplify what Pou Tiaki stands for. We will use a wide range of diverse voices in our stories, focus on underrepresented communities, and use multimedia storytelling.

Nine Pou Tiaki reporters, including myself, have been funded by the Public Interest Journalism Fund for the next two years. My focus is covering disability issues.

Why is it important that disability issues have a space in the mainstream media?
One in four New Zealanders identify as disabled, which is a large proportion of society. But this is not represented in the stories we see in the mainstream media. And when we do see them, disability is portrayed as a tragedy or triumph.

Issues that impact the non-disabled population also impact disabled people, but disabled people are even more negatively affected because the systems and infrastructures in place are not designed for them, and do not serve the disability community well.

What has been one of the most fulfilling stories you've worked on in this round to date?
The most fulfilling work I've done is a podcast called What's Wrong With You? - it was produced by Stuff and a couple of my friends who also live with a disability.

The podcast is a seven-part series that looks into the lives of disabled people, told from the lens of disabled people. It's honest, heartwarming and just fun to listen to! 

What developments or announcements in the disability space are you keeping an eye on in 2022?
The government is launching the new Ministry for Disabled People in 2022. I will be looking at how it is being established and how its policies are rolled out, as well as the ways the Ministry will make real-life positive change for disabled people in Aotearoa.

How do you like to work with PRs?
Sending case studies with your stories always makes articles more interesting and engaging for our audience. If you are doing a story that impacts disabled people, make sure you actually interview disabled people.

Answers submitted by Olivia Shivas, Journalist at Stuff.

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