Leading journalism educator Jim Tucker joins Whitireia

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Jim Tucker - one of New Zealand’s best known journalism educators and media commentators - will shortly take over as leader of the Whitireia Community Polytechnic journalism school in Porirua. Announcing the move today, the chief executive of Whitireia, Don Campbell said he was delighted Jim was joining Whitireia.

"He brings outstanding skills and reputation both as a journalist and educator and will bring a leading edge to our Journalism programmes," he said. "Several new developments of our Journalism offerings will be announced over the next period of time under Jim’s leadership."

Currently executive director of the New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation, Mr Tucker says he welcomes the chance to move back to teaching.

"I’ve enjoyed the challenge of reinvigorating the JTO over the past couple of years, but my work there is done. Teaching the next generation is my first love and I’m looking forward to the possibilities Whitireia offers."

Just as the news media industry was undergoing significant change in the internet age, so journalism training needed to adapt to some exciting challenges, he said.

"That, and the need to address the lack of diversity in our newsrooms, are opportunities that lend a new dimension to journalism education."

Jim has 42 years of experience as a journalist, editor, journalism lecturer and education administrator and is editor/author of the two basic journalism training textbooks used throughout New Zealand since 1991. The founding editor of the Sunday Star (now Sunday Star-Times), Mr Tucker (at 36) was the youngest editor of a New Zealand metropolitan newspaper when appointed in 1983, after a journalism career which saw him win six national awards.

After retiring from the Sunday and Auckland Stars in 1987, he headed the country’s largest journalism school, at Auckland University of Technology, for eight years, during which he developed the journalism major for the country’s first news media undergraduate degree, a programme which now attracts hundreds of applicants each year.

He has many hundreds of graduates now working in top jobs in the news industry. His textbooks – Kiwi Journalist, and its successor Intro – have been used by thousands of students and is still the main text for most programmes.

He joined the JTO in 2005 and has headed projects to rewrite journalism teaching standards, produce six new textbooks, arranged training seminars for more than 1000 working journalists, set up a new pilot workplace training programme, and raised more than $350,000 in sponsorship for journalism education.

Mr Tucker (60) is married with two adult children. The holder of a masters degree in communication, he starts at Whitireia at the beginning of September and will spend time on developing new journalism education projects for the institution.