Fake News and the 2017 General Election Event as iCalendar

08 June 2017


Venue: Maths Lecture Theatre 3, Science Centre

Location: Building 303, 38 Princes Street, City Campus, Auckland

Host: Project for Media in the Public Interest

Cost: Free

Website: RSVP through Eventbrite

Illustration of female magician pulling a rabbit holding a sign saying Alternative Facts from a black top hat labelled Fake News.
Illustration by Rod Emmerson

Is that really a fact staring you in the face? Or is it fake news…an alternative fact? Is it true simply because you want it to be true?

Fake news and ‘alternative facts’ invaded Northern Hemisphere politics during the U.S. presidential election and Brexit. Social media were the breeding ground for falsehoods driven by cynical manipulation and click-bait revenue potential. Mainstream news organisations became unwitting agents when they spread the messages to wider audiences eager to have their prejudices reinforced.

New Zealand is not immune to this post-truth virus and in September we go to the polls. What will be the shape and effect of fake news in our General Election campaign?

To discuss the measures we must take to combat this threat to fair elections, please join:

  • TVNZ’s political editor Corin Dann
  • Newsroom co-editor Mark Jennings
  • Green Party candidate Chlöe Swarbrick
  • University of Auckland academic Dr Maria Armoudian
  • Media commentator Dr Gavin Ellis


Corin Dann
Corin Dann

Corin Dann

Corin is a journalist with 20 years of experience in the New Zealand broadcast media. He is currently TVNZ’s Political Editor and lead Q & A interviewer. His past roles include business presenter, Breakfast co-host, economics correspondent, political reporter and sports reporter.

In addition to covering local stories such as elections and budgets he has reported on the Rugby World Cup, the Pike River tragedy and the Christchurch earthquake. He has also covered US elections and has travelled extensively including to Iraq and Antarctica. 

He lives in Wellington with his wife, three sons and black labrador called Stanley.

Mark Jennings
Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings

Mark’s career in journalism extends back to the late 1970s and, until the founding of Newsroom, was primarily anchored in broadcast news.

After 10 years in front of the camera in Australia from 1979-89, Mark returned to New Zealand and began a 27-year career with MediaWorks. He has mentored successive generations of acclaimed and respected journalists, and was responsible for launching Newshub across TV Three and Radio Live.

Mark writes about the media industry, business, and the tertiary sector.

Chloe Swarbrick
Chloe Swarbrick

Chlöe Swarbrick

As a journalist finishing a law degree and juggling a number of small businesses in late 2015, Chlöe Swarbrick never saw herself becoming a politician. That was until she began interviewing Auckland mayoral candidates and became completely disillusioned with their lack of answers to her city’s biggest problems.

Horrendously low voter turnout convinced her to enter the race in order to engage the disengaged and disenfranchised. With a tiny budget and a lot of help from like-minded volunteers, she came in third, with just under 30,000 votes.

After the mayoral campaign, Chlöe joined the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand - a party that shares her values of compassion, pragmatism, equality and hope. She is standing as a Green candidate in the 2017 general election and will be campaigning hard on solutions to the same issues that resonated with Aucklanders during her mayoral campaign - housing, transport and chronic homelessness. In the meantime she continues to juggle a number of small businesses, including a donut shop.

Dr Maria Armoudian
Dr Maria Armoudian

Dr Maria Armoudian

Maria is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at The University of Auckland in New Zealand, the host and producer of the radio program, The Scholars' Circle, and the author of two books, Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World, and Reporting from the Danger Zone: Frontline Journalists, Their Jobs and an Increasingly Perilous Future.

She served as a commissioner in the city of Los Angeles for six years and worked in the California State Legislature for eight years, working on many issues ranging from environmental sustainability to good government and corporate reform. Maria is also a song-writer & musician. Her CD is titled Life in the New World.

Dr Gavin Ellis
Dr Gavin Ellis

Dr Gavin Ellis 

Gavin is a senior lecturer in Media and Communications at The University of Auckland and a media commentator on RNZ National. A former editor-in-chief of The New Zealand Herald, he is the author of Trust Ownership and the Future of News: Media Moguls and White Knights (London, Palgrave) and Complacent Nation (Wellington, BWB Texts).