Jim Tully, NZ’s Most Influential Journalist?


Jim Tully, head of the Canterbury University Graduate School of Journalism, has had a huge impact on the profession in this country and abroad. Hundreds of NZ’s most senior journalists have been trained under Mr Tully.

He has also helped guide the profession through his positions as a member of the Journalists’ Training Board, chair of the AIT Journalism Advisory Committee, and as a former president of the Northern Journalists’ Union.

According to the University of Canterbury

Jim Tully is editor of the New Zealand Journalism monograph series, past president of the Journalism Education Association of New Zealand, vice-president of the Commonwealth Association for Education in Journalism and Communication, and a member of the Australian Journalism Education Association.

While Pacific Affairs Writer for the Auckland Star he was the inaugural winner of the New Zealand Journalist of the Year Award for his coverage of the Cook Islands election scandal. He was Assistant Editor of the Auckland Star before coming to Canterbury.

Jim was a UNESCO consultant on journalism in Western Samoa and the Cook Islands and the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee representative on the National Advisory Committee on Media Studies.

Jim Tully started his career at Canterbury University in the late ’60s covering sport for the student newspaper, Canta.

In 1968 Tully was Sports officer on the Canterbury University Students Association executive and in 1969 joined the inaugural year of the post graduate journalism course.

Jim Tully was a bit of a socialist then. He attended at least one of the Curious Cove gatherings in the Marlborough Sounds, organised annually by the Victoria University Socialist Club.

He was co-founder of Canterbury University’s main socialist group, the Fabian Society, with Tony Simpson, a future writer, historian and socialist activist

In October 1988, Tully gave an interview to Canta. He talked about his youthful radicalism and his contention that many of NZ’s leaders are ex-student activists.

Reflecting on his student years in the ’60s, he said…”I don’t think you can overestimate how much we were influenced by what students were doing in the US and Europe. We felt we were pushing at the edge of a new frontier, there was a real sense of change.”

The change Tully refers to wasn’t towards free markets and individual liberty. Many of Tully’s students unfortunately seem to share the socialist vision of their teacher’s youth.

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2 thoughts on “Jim Tully, NZ’s Most Influential Journalist?

  1. I think Tully and his students got the free sex part of individual liberty alright.

    What they didn’t get is that the state, i.e. the taxpayer, shouldn’t have to fund for the diseases you pick up along such roads.

  2. Judging by Tully’s grin you might be right Berend.

    You hit the nail on the head Berend.

    All liberals believe in freedom.

    The left liberals believe in freedom with socialised consequences.

    The real liberals believe freedom with personal consequences.

    Come to think of it Berend. You’ve got quite grin yourself.

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