Week 5


Photo sourced from

This week my story was about a parent-run play centre on the North Shore. I really enjoyed interviewing my subjects because they were all so inviting into their space and didn’t mind me being there. My main subject, Miriam was absolutely lovely!  I enjoyed writing this story because it was community based and it was also interesting for me to be in a space that I never would usually visit. This week in class we discussed how to tighten headlines to make them more eye-catching and as straight to the point. After practising it in class, I think I have gotten better at condensing my words in my headlines.

I have found all of my stories so far on social media. According to this week’s weekly reading, social media is one of the ways that journalists find news in small communities (Neilson and Schroder, 2014). There is also a great importance to share stories on social media, because people in the community use social media as their main way of finding news online (Neilson and Schroder, 2014). Therefore, in the future I will make sure to post my stories onto social media so that I can attract a larger audience of readers for my stories.


Nielsen, R. & Schrøder, K. (2014). The relative importance of social media for accessing, finding, and engaging with news. Digital Journalism, 2(4), 472-489. doi: 10.1080/21670811.2013.872420


Parental team effort at early childhood play centre

Sara Dajani                    28/03/18                                                 Early childhood playcentre

Onepoto Playcentre is a parent-run centre in the North Shore that has shown impressive team effort.

The play centre has been operating since the 1960s and has had hundreds of children learn and evolve as young children in very early stages of their lives.

onepoto playcentre
Onepoto Playcentre photographed inside the book section

Miriam Walker, who is the co-president of the play centre says that it is an important place for young children to learn about themselves and their senses.

“They learn through active exploration of their environment,” says Mrs Walker.

Mrs Walker further says that it is important for the children to socially play at the play centre, rather than use electronics because they get to develop their social skills at a young age.

David Walker, who also works as a parent at the play centre, says that he was at the play centre when he was a young child in 1978.

Mr Walker says that all the parents at the play centre work as a group in order to help all of their children, rather than just their own.

Toddler Niko playing in the sandpit

Abby Sisam, who is another parent that works at the play centre, says that it is a really rewarding and educational experience. She says that it is inspiring and interesting to see how other parents interact with their own children.

Mrs Sisam also says that it is important for the children to be exposed to nature, so the children have a nature session once a week, where they go to the beach. They are able to be playful and experience the natural world, without using technology.

“Parents are the best educators, they push their children to learn and grow,” says Mrs Sisam.

The parent operated play centre is currently looking for new members to join their community.

Word count: 310 words


Week 4 – difficulties.

Photo sourced from

This week, I have struggled with my weekly story. I have been working on my story about ‘Felix the cow’ since week one. But I had to postpone it because the story had already been posted, so I spent a while trying to find another angle for the story. Unfortunately I couldn’t find another angle, and I was left with my original story, with an unchanged angle. This really frustrated me this week, since I really wanted to do well with the story, but time constraints were too much pressure this week. According to Comrie (2014), follow-ups tend to be good stories, because they expand on stories that have already been in the news. This week, I tried to succeed at doing this, but unfortunately I was not successful. Even though this was frustrating, at least it was a learning experience. I have been reading a lot about the importance of follow-up stories online.

This week in class, we discussed the importance of news videography. According to Burum and Quinn (2015), multitasking when interviewing a subject is becoming increasingly important, since journalists need to be able to capture information in a variety of ways. This depends on what kind of interview you are dealing with as a journalist (Burum & Quinn, 2015). It is important to be proactive with your video taking as a journalist, and be clearly listening to your subject whilst you are doing so (Burum & Quinn, 2015). Therefore, it is important to practice videoing subjects and being able to multitask at the same time, because it is evidently an important trait to be able to master.



Burum, I., & Quinn, S. (2015). Mojo: the mobile journalism handbook. Retrieved from Created from aut on 2018-03-05 20:15:32.

Comrie, M. (2014). News gathering. In Hannis, G. (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century (pp.17-30). Wellington, New Zealand: NZJTO


Vegans donate enough funds to help rescue a cow

‘Auckland Vegans’ Facebook group has raised enough money to purchase a cow, in just one day.


The cow’s name is Felix, and he was recently purchased for $1297, where all the money was raised from a ‘Give a Little’ page.


Samineh Baktash set up the page, called ‘Saving little Newfie’ and members of the ‘Auckland Vegans’ Facebook page, were able to donate the sum of money within only one day.
“We named him Felix for fortunate and happy,” says Baktash.

felix the cow.jpg

Felix, living his new life at his new home in Awhitu after the rescue

Lynley Tulloch, who manages at Starfish Bobby Calf Project, welcomed Felix to her home in order for him to have somewhere new to live.


“My dream is to save them all. They deserve freedom, happiness and to live their lives just like we do. I will forever stand up for them and help them,” says Baktash.


Tulloch said that many members of the Facebook group are young people and that she was impressed with the group’s energy and motive to save Felix. Tulloch said that the number of donations within a short amount of time was “amazing.”

“Millennials are eco-sensitive, embracing moderation in meat consumption by having a ‘low meat’ diet. Many do this due to awareness of the negative impact of meat consumption on human well-being and planetary earth” says Tulloch.


Tulloch said that all lives are important, and that animals are just as deserving of having a life, and that they do not have to be slaughtered for meat.


Heidi Roberts, another member of the group said that helping Felix is something that she would never not consider doing, ever since she turned vegan early this year.


“There are so many environmental, political, and global issues we hear and see about every day that are absolutely heartbreaking, yet we have no power to change them. Being vegan is one way we can actually make a difference…So when the opportunity came up with Felix, it was a no-brainer,” says Roberts.


Another member of the Facebook group, 59-year-old Freyja Medeis said that all lives are important and valuable, which is why she chose to donate towards the cause.


“Although saving Felix seems like a drop in an extremely huge ocean, every life counts. Saving Felix highlights that a small group of like-minded people can make a difference” says Medeis.


Felix is still living on Tulloch’s farm, and updates of his life are still being shared for the group to see.


Word count: 423 words

Aphantasia: What it is like to have no imagination

Sara Dajani                                           12/03/18                                              Aphantasia

A growing number of New Zealanders are being diagnosed with a condition that prevents their ability to have a visual imagination

Michelle Andrews, a 42-year-old parent in the North Shore has only recently discovered that she has aphantasia.

Aphantasia is a condition that only affects two and a half percent of the world’s population.

She was always amazed by her son’s imagination and often said to him that he had superpowers, before she realised that she “has superpowers” between the two, says Ms Andrews.

Ms Andrews says that she always hated reading fiction books like Harry Potter because she could never visualise the script in her head.

Whereas, everything that she remembers is based on “facts, logic, and feelings” rather than visual memories, Ms Andrews says.


Ms Andrews pictured in her living room

Ms Andrews discovered that something may be different about her, when she could not picture anything in her head during a yoga session at a relaxing retreat in the Coromandel.

Ms Andrews said that she began to do a lot of research and was blown away when she discovered aphantasia, and was amazed that everyone else was able to picture images in their heads.

“Aphantasia was only discovered in the late 1880s and was only given a name in the early 2000’s, yet people working in mental health, medicine and education do not know about it” says Ms Andrews.

Ms Andrews related her experience to a Facebook post written by Blake Ross, who is a co-founder of Firefox.

“I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t ‘see’ my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought ‘counting sheep’ was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this. And it is blowing my goddamned mind” Mr Ross wrote.

54-year-old, Gaye Manley from Manawatu, only just found out three months ago that she has aphantasia as well. She said that she first heard about it on the radio, and never knew that everyone else was able to visualise.

“To me, it seems really amazing that people can do that. I feel really annoyed that I can’t,” says Ms Manley.

39-year-old Holly Dove, says that finding out she has aphantasia two years ago has been a positive experience for her, since she has been able to realise why she thinks in different ways.

Ms Andrews says that she is continuing to research aphantasia and keep in touch with others that have it too.

Word Count: 437 words


Blog #3 – following journalism news values

blur-blurry-bright-404976.jpgPhoto sourced by

This week I have been trying to work on more than one of my stories. One of the ideas I have been struggling with this week, is deciding whether my news stories are newsworthy. As Edwards (2010) has noted, good journalism revolves around writing news stories that are in the public interest. Even though I think my stories so far have been interesting, I think I do need to tackle more serious issues that deal with more serious matters affecting people’s lives. My stories have been relatively positive so far, but I haven’t covered any negative stories, which may help strengthen my journalism skills. Therefore, I will make an effort to find stories that are more challenging in terms of having negative connotations, in order to widen my news gathering skills. My stories have mainly been human interest based so far, which I have enjoyed writing. According to Comrie (2014), these stories are the main preference of stories amongst readers. For example, my story for this week focuses on Aphantasia, and the experiences that a few New Zealanders have had with it, after only recently discovering that they have the condition. I spent two hours interviewing my main source at her house a couple of weeks ago, and it was such an interesting experience. During that interview, I learned so much about the condition and about little the public knows about it. Therefore, I thought it was right to write a news-story about it, and include New Zealanders experiences into it.


Comrie, M. (2014). News gathering. In Hannis, G. (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century (pp.17-30). Wellington, New Zealand: NZJTO

Reckless drivers around schools cause concern

Unfocused drivers in the North Shore are forcing parents to feel anxious about their children’s safety on the roads

 By Sara Dajani

Parents of a North Shore community have expressed concern for young children at crossings.

Katrina Pace, mother of two, has turned to Facebook to discuss child safety at the crossings near schools on Lake Road in the North Shore.

Pace wrote about her concerns on the Birkenhead and Northcote Community page which has 8,000 members.

Pace turned to Facebook to write her concerns in hopes that drivers will be more aware of the driving conditions around schools.

She said that she has seen cars drive through the zebra crossing when children are waiting to cross.


The crossing on Lake Road near Onepoto Primary

She has seen this happen multiple times at these crossings, near several schools such as Northcote Intermediate and Onepoto Primary.

“The kids all stop and wait for the cars at the crossing, and four or five different cars will drive through the crossing” Katrina said.

Pace said that the drivers are unaware of the driving conditions and that they are in a school zone, and do not look at the signs.

Another member of the community, Nadine Mstfa said that she has seen a woman get hit at a crossing on Lake Road, and straight after it happened another car almost hit another person.

Pace said that she has contacted Northcote Intermediate about what she has seen and they have said that they are trying to monitor it as best as they can.

Northcote Intermediate’s principal, Ben Kelsey, told Pace that all the children know that they need to wait at the crossing, and thankfully, every child always waits before they cross.

Kelsey said that the school will continue to monitor student safety around the area as best as they can.

Word count: 312 words


Blog #2 – Human interest stories

human interetsPhoto sourced from

This week I have found many of my stories that I am going to be writing on for my assignments. I have realised that I am particularly interested in human interest stories, and I have noticed that some of my stories are human interest. Comrie (2014)  notes that human interest stories are one of the most common type of stories that readers prefer. My second story is definitely a human interest story, because it involves a group of people who worked together in order to purchase a cow called Felix before he went to be sold for meat. The interviews that I conducted with my sources were touching, and educational. Since I learned a lot about the experience that they shared together, and how many people were involved. When I was interviewing my subjects for my story, I realised that it was difficult for me to think of questions to ask. According to Strong (2014), interviewing people can look easy, but being able to hold a good interview is harder than what it seems. Asking the right questions will be able to differentiate you to other journalists (Strong, 2014). Therefore, I have realised that I need to think about my questions more thoughtfully within the coming weeks ahead.


Comrie, M. (2014). News gathering. In Hannis, G. (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century (pp.17-30). Wellington, New Zealand: NZJTO

Strong, C. (2014). Understanding journalism. In Hannis, G. (ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century A-NZ; Wellington, NZ: NZJTO.

Blog #1 – Newsworthy stories

world.jpgPhoto sourced from

This week is the first week that all students have been searching for stories. According to Comrie (2014), one of the hardest parts about journalism is finding news stories and determining whether it is newsworthy or not. During this first week, I was thinking hard about where to find stories, and I think that initial hunt for a story is one of the hardest parts about journalism. In week one of our final year of our degree, this is something that was on my mind when I was searching for my first story. Comrie (2014) also said that good news is supposed to evoke excitement and talk within people. My first story evokes talk about people since it involves road safety issues and reckless driving, which is an issue that everyone needs to be aware about in Auckland. The first week back at university, has also made me think about the stories that I want to write as a journalist. I want to be able to inspire and educate people on world news stories that affect people, and hopefully help make a difference in the world with my stories, as well as highlight important stories that are not talked about as much in western countries.


Comrie, M. (2014). News gathering. In Hannis, G. (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century (pp.17-30). Wellington, New Zealand: NZJTO

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑