Media convergence within the news and current affairs landscape over the past two decades has opened opportunities for competing newspapers, television stations and online publishers to form alliances to approach digital and editorial challenges with innovative strategies. The partnerships have often enabled journalists to embrace multimedia platforms with flexibility and initiative. This has fostered a trend in ‘gatewatching’, and a citizen responsive and involved grassroots media rather than legacy mainstream gatekeeping, top-down models. Such committed media attempts in search of investigative journalism accompanied by ‘public’ and ‘civic’ journalism engagement initiatives have also been emulated by some journalism schools in the Asia-Pacific region. This has paralleled the evolution of journalism as a research methodology with academic application over the past decade. Selecting two New Zealand-based complementary and pioneering Pacific digital news and analysis publications, Pacific Scoop (founded 2009) and Asia-Pacific Report (2016), produced by a journalism school programme in partnership with established independent media as a combined case study, this article will demonstrate how academia-based gatewatching media can effectively challenge mainstream gatekeeping media. Pacific Scoop was established by an Auckland university in partnership with New Zealand’s largest independent publisher, Scoop Media Limited, and launched at the Māori Expo in 2009. The article also explores the transition of Pacific Scoop into Asia-Pacific Report, launched in partnership with an innovative web-based partner, Evening Report. The study analyses the strategic and innovation efforts in the context of continuing disruptions to New Zealand’s legacy media practices related to the Asia-Pacific region.
Image: Figure 6: A typical Asia Pacific Report ‘display top’ on the home page—a Sri Lankan refugee makes a distraught ‘shoot me’ gesture after Indonesian authorities refused food, water, or any help, 21 June 2016.