National Indigenous Times

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The National Indigenous Times (NIT) is an indigenous Australian affairs newspaper first published on 27 February 2002. It was set up by Owen Carriage, the founder of the Koori Mail, and a group of other Australians, both indigenous and non-indigenous. The newspaper was financed and is owned by John Rowsthorne and Beverley Wyner. Currently the ownership of the newspaper is being divested to indigenous Australians. New owners include Kamilaraoy academic Dr Marcus Woolombi Waters, Narrunga man, Tauto Sansbury, Nyikina academic, Dr Anne Poelina, Kimberley man Ian Pedrisat and other indigenous leaders, academics and advocates.[citation needed]

The newspaper seeks to:

  • build a bridge between black and white Australia;
  • reporting the tough issues giving a "warts-and-all" look at indigenous affairs and mainstream Australia;
  • work towards indigenous Australians' better access to education and access by non-indigenous Australians information on indigenous issues.

There is a belief that indigenous media tends to "go soft" on indigenous people or organisations in response to the history of discrimination as a protective response[citation needed]. There is also the perception that the mainstream Australian media tends to misreport indigenous affairs, whether through intent or ignorance, and regularly sensationalises indigenous issues.[citation needed]

In NIT‍ '​s first two years, the vast majority of stories reflected positively on indigenous people and organisations. But NIT has also broken major news stories on the corruption, bullying and fraud within Aboriginal organisations. Subsequently, NIT has carried on through the years with stories on the injustices and disproportionate poverty faced by indigenous Australians today.

Major news stories broken by the NIT include:

  • stolen wages (won a Walkley Award)[1]
  • government staff anonymously representing themselves as independent witnesses[2] in the Lateline report on child abuse in remote communities, with particular reference to Mutitjulu, Northern Territory.
  • At the first Multicultural Media Awards September 2012, Gerry Georgatos, an investigative reporter and feature writer with the National Indigenous Times received two awards: Coverage of Indigenous Affairs and Investigative Reporting, and Feature Writing. In three years with the National Indigenous Times, Gerry Georgatos delivered breakthrough stories on Native Title, corrupt practices and government neglect of poverty-stricken communities.[3] Georgatos is a university researcher and has expertise in racism, suicide prevention and Aboriginal issues. His correspondence for NIT was as a volunteer, "bringing to the fore voices from his many travels".[4]
  • At the 2013 Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards (MIMA) at NSW parliament, investigative reporter Gerry Georgatos won three awards including Journalist of the Year for his coverage on the extent of suicide among Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Georgatos travels widely among Aboriginal communities and spends long periods in the communities. His coverage on the suicides led Warren Mundine chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council to the Prime Minister to include the suicide crisis in the Council's mandate.[5][6] Georgatos was able to secure commitments from Federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, to increase suicide prevention responses and strategies.

In 2014, all three of the NIT‍ '​s major writers, Georgatos, Marcus Woolombi Waters and Geoff Bagnall were award recipients at MIMA.[7]

Controversies[edit]

On 27 February 2012, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program Media Watch aired a segment that detailed how the newspaper had been taking repeatedly a substantial amount of material from other media sources without giving any citations.[8] This was addressed by editor Stephen Hagan who promised to deliver more original material and use citations when using external references. Hagan is no longer with the newspaper, departing in February 2013.

In January and February 2015 the NIT was placed in administration because of outstanding legal bills against it due in part to a defamation case against the newspaper that is yet resolved and an unfair dismissal claim by a previous editor. NIT has survived administration with a mix of the longstanding owners/founders and a number new part owners.[9][10] Just before Georgatos announced in February he was no longer with the newspaper, he went in to bat for the newspaper on National Indigenous Television.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Finalists and Judges 2004 Walkley Awards for "Stolen Wages Payback Shame"
  2. ^ "OIPC's 'Baby-faced Assassin': Senior public servant adopts bogus identity; backs minister's claims", NIT Issue 109, 13 July 2006. Accessed 22 October 2006
  3. ^ "MMC Awards sponsored by NSW Government"
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "996 lost to suicide"
  6. ^ "Suicide crisis"
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ ABC's Media Watch transcript
  9. ^ "Push for National Indigenous Times" by Andrew Burrell, The Australian, 13 February 2015
  10. ^ "Administrators put award-winning National Indigenous Times newspaper up for sale" by Emilia Terzon, ABC News, 19 January 2015
  11. ^ "Gerry Georgatos on the Future of the National Indigenous Times" on YouTube, NITV News

External links[edit]