Structure and People
We are ordinary Kiwis standing up for something we believe in. We come from all walks of life – rural, urban, young, old, left, right or somewhere in between. And we share a common belief - that public broadcasting and media are precious taonga that belong to all of us, that benefit all of us and in which we can trust.
The Better Public Media Trust (BPM) is a charitable trust with grassroots Membership, Board of Trustees and a Director who carries out day-to-day activities. The Trust is non-profit and entirely self-funded through membership subscriptions and donations.
Members pay a small annual subscription. The BPM relies on its Members to choose what priorities to focus on, spread the word about 'public media' and elect Trustees.
The BPM has networks with organisations around NZ and the world. The quality of public service media is of concern to many groups including aged welfare, community groups, corporate watchdogs, human rights and civil liberties. Linked together we are stronger and more effective.
The BPM is governed by its Board of Trustees who support the Director. The Trustees are accountable to the Members and elections are held each year at the AGM for half the positions on the Board.
Dr Peter Thompson - Chair
Peter is a senior lecturer on the media studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington where his principal research interest is political economy and media policy. He has published extensively on public broadcasting issues in New Zealand and he is a strong advocate of public service values.
Peter's work includes international studies of broadcasting funding systems and quality measures commissioned by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and NZ On Air respectively. He also chaired the working party that reviewed public submissions on the (now-repealed) TVNZ Charter as part of its 5-year review, and has provided policy advice to a range of stakeholders in the broadcasting sector.
Chris Cooper – Treasurer and Trustee
Chris was a child actor and performer in London before arriving in NZ and becoming a producer and director of entertainment programmes. He was part of the TVNZ Entertainment Department during the days of Radio Times and the Billy T James Show, where he produced ballets, variety shows, talent shows and telethons. Steeped in the concept of public interest broadcasting from infancy, he is still passionate about the need in a democracy for free-to-air, non-commercial broadcasting.
Chris is a published author and has an event management company. Chris was part of the Save TVNZ 7 team, the highlight being presenting the petition to Parliament and seeing MPs from nearly all the parties endorsing the reintroduction of a similar channel.
Geoff Lealand - Deputy Chair and Trustee
Born and educated in Taranaki, Geoff is one of New Zealand’s best-known media studies academics, having taught Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikatofor many years. His research in the past has included considerable research on children and their media use, and he is currently leading research into the use of New Zealand screen content in schools.
He is a regular contributor to the media (commentaries, film reviews) and his website Cinemas of New Zealand can be found at www.cinemasofnz.info.
Professor Ursula Cheer - Trustee
Ursula graduated with Honours from the University of Canterbury. In New Zealand, she has worked in private practice, and as a speech writer to the Minister of Justice, and a legal advisor to the Prime Minister.
In the United Kingdom she worked as a Legal Advisor to the Lord Chancellor in the Law Commission. Ursula is a Professor specialising in media law at the University of Canterbury and is also Dean of the School of Law. She publishes widely in the areas of defamation and privacy and aspects of media law.
Allan Martin - Trustee
Allan Martin, OBE, worked as a television executive on both sides of the Tasman, but had his roots in programme making. He began making TV in England in the early 60s. Returning home, he developed influential programmes for the NZBC in Compass and Town and Around. Headhunted by the ABC in Australia, he returned to NZ in 1975 to set up the new second channel, and later became Director-General of TVNZ.
Tara Ross - Trustee
Tara Ross is a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Canterbury, where she is also a research fellow with the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies.
She was an award-winning senior reporter for The Press and the Sunday Star-Times newspapers, and has worked as both a freelance writer and editor, as well as for community news publications.
She is of Pākehā and Tuvaluan descent, and has a particular interest in inclusive journalism, and alternative and ethnic minority media.
Myles Thomas – Director
Myles is a television producer and director of various forms of 'factual' programming - news to 'reality' and has worked in the screen industry since he was 17.
In 2012 he established the Save TVNZ 7 campaign which gathered over 36,000 signatures to petition Parliament.
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