There seems to be something wildly illogical about the New Zealand Herald’s decision to slash the space it devotes to letters to the editor.
Just when media are striving to find ways to engage with their audiences, the largest newspaper in the country devalues one of the few ways readers can engage with the print publication.
From November 20, the space given over to letters was reduced almost by half in the Monday-Friday editions, with the co-opted space given over to a pretty, but pretty forgettable, image labelled ‘Photo of the day’. What has not been lost in the change is the cross promotion for NewstalkZB’s Kerre Woodham. It remains a fixture on the page, taking up space that would have accommodated another letter.
The photograph is a cheap way of diminishing the call on the reduced resources now devoted to the print publication under NZME’s new ‘digital first’ strategy. The cost of a photo from the Herald’s existing Associated Press syndication deal is negligible compared with the extra time an editor would have to spend processing letters to fill the same space.
No doubt NZME has a carefully crafted piece of obfuscation to explain the change, but the fact remains that public discourse has been reduced by the move. Continue reading “Dear Sir, where have the letters gone?”