This presentation was delivered at the Auckland City Art Gallery on 12 May 2021 by my wife, Jenny Lynch, as a tribute to her mentor – fellow New Zealand Woman’s Weekly editor Jean Wishart

 She was a publishing icon. An editor whose magazine became the top selling womens publication per head of population in the world.

 She was also an astute businesswoman. She became the first woman in the country to sit on the board of a listed company– NZ News. And the first woman in its 124-year history to be elected to the council of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

 Above all she was someone who became a valued friend — I use that word advisably — to thousands upon thousands of New Zealand magazine readers during much of the latter part of last century.

Im talking about Miss Jean Wishart, New Zealand Womans Weekly editor from 1952 to 1985.


Two hundred candles on the cake

The Guardian has celebrated its 200th birthday and the London-based title is optimistic about its future. Can any New Zealand newspaper expect to reach that milestone?

Our oldest surviving masthead, the Whanganui Chronicle, has another 35 years – or more than 10,000 editions – before it can reach its double century. The Taranaki Daily News is a year behind and a further eight dailies – including four metropolitan papers – would celebrate it in the subsequent decade.

To meet that milestone, they must weather a perfect storm of technological, financial, and demographic challenges.

They will be in good company. Every news media outlet in the country faces those same storm fronts that threaten the bicentennial of some, the centennial or golden anniversary of others, and the ability of the remainder to move beyond their childhood or teenage years. Continue reading “Two hundred candles on the cake”

Journalists do not play piano in a brothel

A decade ago, a renowned Spanish editor wrote a book on the future of journalism. For its title he drew on a popular saying: “Don’t tell my mother I’m a journalist. She thinks I play piano at the whorehouse”.

In The Piano Player in the Brothel, Juan Luis Cebrián (a former editor of El País) wrote of the restoration of democracy after Spain’s repressive fascism ended with the death of Franco, and journalism’s regression in the face of ambiguities that are part and parcel of the globalised Digital Age. After a long life in the trade, he concluded: “Although I have stated that our profession has low-life origins, it also aspires to a higher truth, where honesty and transparency play an essential role.”

The vast majority of journalists that I know aspire to that higher truth. Unfortunately, the public doesn’t seem to recognise that reality.

Instead, their view of New Zealand journalism is like plaque: A nasty build-up, caused by the things they shove down their throats, that only gets worse the longer they neglect to clean their teeth. Continue reading “Journalists do not play piano in a brothel”