Veteran Indigenous affairs reporter Tony Koch emphasises the importance of respect, trust and listening in his journalism practice. This paper draws on Koch’s insights as well as recent scholarship on the policies and value of listening to support the proposal that Indigenous research ethics provide a concrete framework for improving media representations of Indigenous people and their access to news media. The university ethics process cannot replicate the understanding Koch has gained from 25 years of interacting with Indigenous people and their communities. However, this paper argues it provides a pathway along which journalism academics and their students can learn to engage with Indigenous people, navigate Indigenous public spheres and produce high-quality reporting that reflects Indigenous people’s aspirations. Journalists within the academy, who are not subject to the commercial or organizational pressures of the news industry, are especially well placed to collaborate with Indigenous people to deliver new ways of conducting research and telling stories that privilege their perspectives. Koch’s newsgathering practice demonstrates that many principals of this progressive approach are also achievable in mainstream journalism.
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