Award-winning political journalist Andrea Vance says she’s had “a lot of amazing adventures and stories” in her time, but her Jefferson Fellowship funded by the Foundation was one of the best.
Andrea’s wide-ranging career has taken her from British tabloids to The Scotsman in Edinburgh, Fairfax Media in New Zealand, TVNZ and now back to Fairfax Media, where she is a Senior Journalist with Stuff.
Her Spring 2013 Jefferson programme organised by the East-West Center included visits to Honolulu, Tokyo, Beijing and Yangon, focusing on issues such as the impact of China’s rise and the Obama administration’s “rebalancing” in the region.
“The Fellowship really sharpens your knowledge of Asia and New Zealand’s position in Asia,” Andrea said. “You have the luxury of having time to think about issues. I was exposed to a whole different range of attitudes that I wouldn’t encounter in New Zealand and saw how those fit in with my own perspective.”
The Fellowship gave her continuing access to “an astonishing range of contacts” she would never otherwise have had.
In 2014 Andrea returned to Myanmar with Foundation support to speak on a panel at the East-West Center's fourth International Media Conference on covering government and parliament. In the wake of that, with Foundation help, she hosted a Burmese journalist at the Gallery during the New Zealand election for work experience.
Andrea credits the Foundation’s Media programme with improving the coverage of Asia in the New Zealand media. “I don’t think we’d have any near the same amount without the Foundation,’ she said. “The Foundation sends journalists early in their career to Asia and because you are funded by the Foundation it gives you a chance to do stories the way you want to.”
“I love the events the Media Centre does,” she enthuses. “I’d like to see more briefings – especially on China. More of everything!”