TVNZ award winner will keep tabs on our politicians

News News & events

03 Aug 2017

Most promising first year broadcasting student at Ara, Laura Cunningham, is more accustomed to asking the questions than being interviewed herself.  

“Yes I’m used to being on your side. This is strange,” she comments.

Cunningham received the One News Ross Stevens scholarship last Friday, named in memory of a talented TVNZ reporter. The $5000 scholarship and certificate were presented by TVNZ News Editor Phil O’Sullivan, who is on the Advisory Committee for New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) programmes at Ara.

From left: Ara Head of NZBS Tony Simons, award winner Laura Cunningham and TVNZ News Editor Phil O’Sullivan.

“It could have been anyone in our class. It was so unexpected,” Cunningham says. “I like working in a team, I like talking to people and I like having a bit of a laugh. I think all of those things - I imagine - helped. But I was not picking me. It’s a big achievement; I’m really grateful for it.”

NZBS tutor Vicki Wilkinson Baker describes Cunningham as; “a hardworking, deserving winner, who is not afraid to challenge people to get answers. She has shown that she has the makings of a good journalist. As a journalism tutor, I and the other staff at the NZBS are looking forward to seeing how her career develops.” 

Now in her second year, Cunningham is keeping her options open. “I’ve just been offered Newshub politics for my internship and I love politics so I am excited about that, but I love radio too so I would also love to be a producer for talkback.”

From Auckland originally, Cunningham chose NZBS at Ara for the hands-on experience. “I just wanted something that would push me a bit more and this course has definitely done that. It is so hard to sum up these past two years (at NZBS). I think you spend the first year building on basic journalism skills and the second year you are just thrown in and you find out if you like it or not.”

Cunningham certainly does like it. In fact she thrives on the immediacy of media. “That’s why I really want to do radio, because every second is a deadline and that’s fun.”

Politics in particular interests this bright, young journalist. “I like knowing what’s happening, why it’s happening and how it is going affect everyone. I think it’s interesting that 121 have the power to decide for four million people. Keeping tabs on them is an important job,” she says.