FEBRUARY 2022 InTouch | 3 Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to become a journalist. It started when I was around eight years old and my friend and I made a radio show about a girl and her imaginary pet dragon. We made up stories about them going on adventures and getting in trouble with their parents. It was a fun little game we played, but for me, it turned into a love of storytelling. As I got older and headed into my teenage years, I became more aware of the negative stereotypes we see in the media about disabled people. I read a lot of books and watched TV shows, but the portrayal of disabled people was never something I could relate to. The stories about disabled people were always focused on triumph, tragedy and trauma. Triumph over the fact we can live full lives as disabled people, but the low expectations that are often put on us. Good stuff! Olivia Shivas tells us about her new role as a journalist covering disability issues and what she’s bringing to Stuff. Changing journalism, one article at a time MDANZ Annual General Meeting The MDANZ Annual General Meeting will be held online via Zoom on Friday 29th April 2022 at 7.00pm. Details will be sent to all members with voting rights in due course. NEWS ROUNDUP Save the date! Tragedy over our impairments, but not looking at the disabling environments around us. And trauma due to a life-changing accident that’s always seen as a negative thing, and not about how disabled people adapt and learn to live successfully after an accident. But as disabled people, our lives are so much more significant than these negative stereotypes. This year I’ve started a new job as a journalist covering disability issues at Stuff. And this role comes in perfect timing with the Government also announcing the new Ministry for Disabled People and it being rolled out in 2022. In the stories I want to write about disability issues, it’s really important that the voice and perspective of disabled people comes through. I’ve read way too many stories on disability issues but a disabled person isn’t even interviewed for a story! I’ve been in the role for a few weeks now, and it’s made me realise how important it is that mainstream media outlets have journalists who cover underrepresented groups. It’s about creating space to tell these important stories that might not usually have the resources to cover. The main piece of feedback I’ve had so far in the past few weeks has surprised me; it hasn’t so much been about the actual stories I’ve written (which are important) or the people I’ve talked to (they’ve been amazing!), but the fact a major news outlet has a dedicated reporter focusing on disability issues. While I’ve still got a lot to learn and I know there are many disability issues that need highlighting this year, it’s an exciting space to be in and hopefully we can create a more inclusive Aotearoa with storytelling and changing perceptions. Olivia Shivas.