2018 Jefferson Fellow: Katie Bradford

TVNZ political reporter Katie Bradford talks about the Jefferson Fellowship at the sidelines of the East-West Center’s International Media Conference 2018 in Singapore.

International Media Conference 2018

Here in Singapore, we’re looking at a number of issues around the direction of news, where it’s going, the influence of things – such as repeated comments by President Trump about fake news; that you can’t trust the media. A number of Asian representatives here have talked about how that has a flow-on effect in their nations, particularly in nations which have very little media freedom, such as the Philippines or China. Those administrations or leaders there can then be influenced by what President Trump says, when he says don’t trust the media.

And the question for media organisations is how do we combat that, how do we fight back and prove you can trust us, through education and other means.”

Jefferson Fellowship programme

“This week we’re attending the ‘What is News Now’ conference in Singapore. But I’ve just come from a week in Hawaii where we’ve been looking at a number of issues affecting the region and New Zealand.

In Hawaii, we covered a range of activities and heard from a range of speakers looking at issues such as fake news, the politics of the region, how the direction the US administration under President Trump is going and how that may affect trade, international relations, diplomacy, defence – all sorts of issues in the Asia-Pacific region, and for New Zealand, the flow-on effect we’ll have.

We had a really interesting discussion with some Republican state representatives, who are also Trump supporters, about how they see things. One of the big issues is trade, how that will affect relations with China, with New Zealand – they seemed to think New Zealand will eventually be exempt from trade tariffs, for instance. But when it comes to China and other big countries, that’s another big sticky question.”

Benefits of the Fellowship

“I’m now about a week-and-a-half into this Fellowship and from here we’re going to Manila, Philippines. There’s been a lot of discussion about what’s happening in Manila since Duterte came into power in 2016. There’s some freedoms that have been severely restricted, particularly in the media.

And then we’re heading to Malaysia, which recently had its elections. Some of the Malaysian journalists I’ve spoken to feel like there’s been a turning of the tide in Malaysia, and that things will change.

One of the big benefits of the Jefferson Fellowship is all the networking. Here in Singapore there’s about 350 journalists and experts – the best in the world when it comes to trade and international relations. We’ve been able to hear them speak and meet with them.

In the Jefferson Fellowship itself, I’m with 10 journalists from the US and Asia, and they themselves have incredible stories and viewpoints to share.”

Katie Bradford’s participation in the East-West Center's Jefferson Fellowship was funded by the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The 2018 fellowship is focused on the theme of populism in the Asia-Pacific. 

– Asia Media Centre