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National Young Leaders Day 2011

Mar 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

GENERATION Y should be demanding a voice and leadership roles at a younger age, says freelance journalist Jehan Casinader.

Young people settle too much for mediocrity and that will be his message as guest speaker at National Young Leaders Day events throughout the north island next week.

“It’s about time that we stop letting crusty old self-proclaimed experts call the shots because that just is not fair,” says Jehan, 21.

He uses his field, journalism, as an example, recalling a discussion panel which took place on TVNZ’s Media7 in 2008.

During the discussion Whitireia Journalism tutor Jim Tucker said: “They don’t know what to brief themselves about. They don’t have the background knowledge to even begin their research in a lot of cases…I’m getting to the point now where anyone who’s under 22 is a problem, because they don’t know enough about the world to be a good interviewer.”

As a young journalist in an evolving industry, Jehan believes that if you are going to be discriminated against it should not be based on your age but on the quality of the stories you produce.

The theme of Jehan’s National Young Leaders’ Day address this year is the emotions that drive leadership.

His own career is an example of being passionately driven to be a leader in journalism.

Jehan had his first story published in the New Zealand Herald in 2006 at the age of 16 when he wrote an investigation into the Ministry of Youth Development

He reports for programmes such as Close Up and Breakfast on TV and writes for several newspapers and magazines in NZ and overseas.

Jehan grew up in a media savvy home where there was always a newspaper and every night the family would sit around the table and discuss current affairs.

Jehan’s father was a journalist and he cites this as his reason for his career choice, along with his passion for telling stories.

Jehan was in Sri Lanka preparing a feature on floods there, when the Christchurch earthquake struck in February.

“I had the slightly surreal experience of waking up and watching the footage on CNN, and it was one of the first times in my life I didn’t have that gut feeling of ‘I really want to be there right now’.

“As a journalist you’re almost a disaster magnet, you want to be there where the disaster is unfolding, but as a human you want to run away screaming from those scenarios.”

Jehan thinks everyone in the media did a good job covering the quake.

“I think some of the coverage was overblown, but I think everyone did the best in all parts of the industry to cover it fairly and to go into bat for the people who are struggling to rebuild their lives.”

When asked if he had the chance to make any changes to the way news is presented on TV, he said that he wants to see more government policy.

“People perceive politics to be boring and irrelevant and far away from their day to day lives.

“If you’re clever and you find good people to tell your story, you can always turn a government policy story into something interesting.”

Jehan Casinader will be speaking to thousands of people over next week at the National Young Leaders Day Conferences in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin in 2011.

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