Best of both worlds

New Zealanders with experience on a world stage are a formidable force. 

It’s good news that two of them are filling key vacancies in our news media organisations.

Washington Post correspondent Anna Fifield took up her role as editor of the Dominion Post yesterday. By the end of the year Al Jazeera and Bloomberg news executive Paul Yurisich will be in place as TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs.

Both bring to their respective roles the knowledge and experience garnered from years working in the most challenging news environments. Crucially, it is married with their innate understanding of what makes their fellow New Zealanders tick – the social, cultural and historical contexts that colour our view of the world and of ourselves.

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That existential crisis again

A Zoom presentation by Dr Gavin Ellis delivered to the Ponsonby U3A on 12 June 2020

The bad news is that journalism has taken a body blow during the Covid-19 crisis. And, like so many in my age group, the damage has been caused not so much because it tested positive to Covid-19 but because it has underlying health issues.

Since the announcement that the country would move into lockdown, close to 600 people employed in the news media have lost their jobs: 237 when Bauer closed down its entire New Zealand magazine operation, 200 from NZME including the closedown of Radio Sport, and 130 from the beleaguered MediaWorks (but not from  TV3, because MediaWorks was trying to flog it off). AGM closed three architectural magazines. There will be others that passed without notice.

Blame for the layoffs and shutdowns was laid at the feet – probably more appropriately the spike protein – of Covid-19. And it undoubtedly played a part. Media company cashflow during the lockdown declined by up to 70 per cent. But it was by no means the complete story.  Continue reading “That existential crisis again”

NZ media must rise from Covid blitz

TUESDAY COMMENTARY

‘Post-war’ reconstruction

This week New Zealand media organisations are participating in a series of workshops that aim to help them through the commercial turmoil of the Covid-19 lockdown. It is an invaluable initiative by the Ministry for  Culture and Heritage that should provide some immediate relief, but no-one should expect it to be the long-term answer to their plight.

If our private sector media are to remain standing when the nation recovers from the aftermath of the pandemic, virtual workshops need to be followed by their own version of the Bretton Woods Conference that reset world financial systems after the Second World War. Continue reading “NZ media must rise from Covid blitz”