Dr. Maria Armoudian

Dr. Maria Armoudian is a senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland. She is an author, host/founding producer of The Scholars’ Circle radio programme, and the founding director of the Project for Media in the Public Interest (parent of The Big Q). Her books include 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.

For six years, Dr. Armoudian served as a commissioner in the City of Los Angeles and for eight years, she worked in the California State legislature on issues ranging from environmental sustainability to good government and corporate reform. In addition to her academic publications, her articles have been published by the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times Syndicate, The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The New Zealand Herald, The Los Angeles Daily News, The Progressive,, Truthout, Alternet, Inc., Daily Variety and Billboard. Maria is also a song-writer & musician. Her CD is titled Life in the New World.

Isabel Emerson 

Isabel holds a degree in Geography from the University of Sheffield, UK. She has experience working within communication and marketing, most notably at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London. Alongside her role with the Big Q, Isabel is the social media coordinator for an expedition mapping company. She is also a keen runner and surfer and enjoys exploring New Zealand’s coastlines.

Mike Hurst

Mike Hurst has an extensive background in broadcast media and audio production. He is currently working at the University of Auckland in the Faculty of Arts as an eLearning Technology Specialist. Mike is also a published landscape photographer and sometimes writer.

Tim Page

Tim Page comes from a background in commercial television post-production, and now works as a digital media specialist for the faculties of Arts and Law at the University of Auckland. Tim is a musician and composer, and collaborates with the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre. He has a Bachelor of Theology degree, and is married to Dr Susan Page, a clinical psychologist.

James Robins 

James Robins is a freelance journalist, critic, and historian based in Auckland. His work regularly appears in the New Zealand Listener, and the Weekend Herald. He has previously worked for the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB. His forthcoming book is titled When We Dead Awake: Anzac and the Armenian Genocide.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith is a master’s graduate in political studies from the University of Auckland. Alongside the Project for Public Interest Media, Sam is a freelance music journalist and broadcaster at 95bFM radio. He also runs a music blog Nowhere Bros.