Might be fun for a couple of years – still was, 21 years later

 SusanAfter a distinguished career in broadcasting, Susan Boyd-Bell went to ATI to teach journalism in 1987 – “might be fun for a couple of years, I thought.”

Twenty-one years later, the institution was onto its third name. Some people left with each change of letterhead on the stationery.

“But I was still there and it was still fun.”

Read her STORY>

C’mon guys – where are your stories?

Oddest thing: there are 10 males in the 1989 ATI journalism cert grad pic – and so far I’m the only one to write about what happened since the course.

Now, either that means I’m a self-promoting, old narcissist (possibly true) or all you other males are avoiding the awful prospect of writing about yourselves.

Come on, boys. Don’t let the sheilas have it all their own way.

Who was where

One of the less popular rules on the Certificate in Journalism course was students had to stay in the same seat as the one they occupied on the first day.

It came from Geoff Black, and showed he was something of an expert on human behaviour. Because we dropped the rule on the second course in 1988 – and it made no difference. Everyone stayed in the same seat.

In this photo sent in by Paula, people debate about where they sat around the U in 1989.

"I was there." "No, I was there."  Sandi, Patrice, Sheryl, Shayne and Phil try to remember.

“I was there.” “No, I was there.” Sandi, Patrice, Sheryl, Shayne and Phil try to remember. 

Six months that changed us

imageIt was as though the last quarter century never happened.

It had, of course. Physically, it was there, the softening of edges, the rounding of form, the etched hints of experiences had, lessons learned, wisdoms gained, regrets filed away, triumphs quietly borne.

Less hair in most cases, or straightened and coloured, with a subtlety lost on youth.

The thing that had travelled effortlessly over the 25 years since we were all in the same room together was an ephemeral quality. Wairua, Maori call it, or something like it. Spirit.

It was what held this group together for those unforgettable six months in a bland, rectangular box called the Bledisloe Building, gave its constituents wherewithall to endure the intensity of learning such a lot in such a short time.

It was there again at the reunion. As powerful as if it had not had to survive a couple of decades of separation.

Such separation, such a range of adventures, across the globe. Some still adventuring, not able to make the journey home this time; but they were there, in the room with us as we raised a glass to the late Mike Forbes and Geoff Black.

Someone had all the course notes, brought them along for a laugh. “Public relations – the hidden enemy” typed across a page. Anyone not succumbed? Just two or three. People need to eat.

And that was the point, wasn’t it. You didn’t just learn journalism; you learned how to get information, and how to translate it fast into forms that people understood; and you could take that ability away with you, and worry at it until you, too, could run your own metaphorical red pen through your own copy, and then do the same to the work of others.

The 26 students on the February 1989 Certificate in Journalism at Auckland Technical Institute were of course not the only ones to be permanently changed 25 years ago.

That much was all too obvious as we sat and talked and talked and talked. And laughed. And revelled in the joy of it.image