The Dim-Post

September 1, 2011

RIP NZPA

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 7:15 am

The New Zealand Press Association – source for much of our country’s non Next Top Model related news – closed yesterday after 131 years. TVNZ carries their final story:

Wellington, Aug 31 NZPA – This is the final message from the New Zealand Press Association.

Since 1880 there have been hundreds of thousands of stories and hundreds of millions of words recording our country’s development and daily doings.

We now sign off.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege.

ENDS

Alastair Bull, Allister Kilpatrick, Alice Courtney, Amber Fallow, Amelia Romanos, Chris Barclay, Cathy Walshe, Dave Williams, David Jones, Greg Tourelle, Hana Garrett-Walker, Hana Pau’u, Ian Stuart, John Zhuang, Jule Scherer, Kent Atkinson, Kevin Kane, Kevin Norquay, Laura Elliott, Maggie Tait, Martin Davidson, Matt Backhouse, Matt Theunissen, Max Lambert, Michael Daly, Mike Griffin, Pam Graham, Peter Martinez, Peter Wilson, Rachel Pinder, Rachel Wattie, Rebecca Quilliam, Reg Ponniah, Richard Patete, Robert Lowe, Roshan Wevita, Ross Setford, Sarah McDougall, Sean Martin, Sharon Lundy, Stephanie McKay, Tamar McKewen, Tim Pankhurst, Vaughan Elder, Wayne Drought.

My wife Maggie worked there so it’s sad for us to see the organisation close down. But it’s sadder in a wider sense. They say journalism is the first draft of history and NZPA produced news in that mold: they wrote about significant things that actually happened, not journalism in the increasingly popular commercial sense where stories are based on whatever is trending on twitter or google analytics, or a wild rumour a reporter heard from an anonymous source.

Almost every developed country has a national news service – it’s a pretty core part of the national identity, and nowadays most of them are commercial operations. NZPA didn’t get to go down that road because they were owned by the Australian media duopoly of Fairfax and APN and it wasn’t to either of their benefit for New Zealand to have its own independent news agency.

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13 Comments »

  1. But it would be wrong to look for a connection between NZers’ enthusiasm for public-sector solutions to problems and how poorly the country is served by its private sector, because… er, well, we just shouldn’t, OK?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 1, 2011 @ 8:31 am

  2. Another bit of New Zealand as something other than a rack-rented mall in a neglected part of Australia closes.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  3. This is bad for New Zealand.

    Comment by George D — September 1, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  4. I imagine the two chains will now increase their use of freelance reporters or stringers in the areas where they are not covered by their own publications, so there will still be national coverage of a sort available but it will not be contained in a single agency. The emergence of Newsroom and Scoop has also provided another aggregated layer of raw source material that simply wasn’t possible in the pre-internet days. This change may create opportunities for them and others, including the expansion of BusinessDesk, the business news agency. Parts of NZPA would also make viable independent businesses. RNZ may also fill some of the gap. While the organisation goes some of what it does will continue. The original wholly commercial reason for NZPA was to share news between lots of independent papers. With two chains – and newspapers not being as dominant – now covering most of the country that commercial reason is less apparent.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 1, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  5. PA, AFP, AP, ANSA are all non commercial. Many other national agencies are owned by the newspapers who use them, same as in NZ.

    There ARE other news services operating in NZ covering general or specialist sectors, some local, some international. They are carrying on. It’s sad to see the end of an institution. It is not the end of the news world.

    Comment by insider — September 1, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  6. NZPA’s strength was that it was a step apart from a specific media outlet or corporate owner of a media chain (albeit not entirely independent from them). Both the Fairfax and APN systems will take news feeds from international news associations, such as Reuters, but there won’t be an over-arching NZ news association doing the same (unless Scoop, Voxy et al bulk up beyond simply running the news releases they are provided).

    I’m sure Fairfax and APN will have oodles of stories and photos from NZ to share between their own media outlets – but all those items will lack that essence of independent news selection that I think is a necessary element of robust news provision.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 1, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  7. forget Phil Goff – this is bad for the Otago Daily Times

    Comment by Kahikatea — September 1, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  8. Very sad. I’d especially like to thank, if I may, two poeple on that sign-0ff list above, without whom I’d never have become a journalist. To Griff and Slug, I raise a glass and say thanks , and the very best of luck for the future.

    Comment by Don — September 1, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  9. One more small step for the duopoly, one giant leap for the Foxification of Aotearoa and total governance by tabloid.

    What do you think about our latest improvements to bring you the latest news at a far lower price in conjuction with John Key and the All Blacks?

    o Sounds great! Go the All Blacks!

    o I’m a whinging envious Australian communist with acne

    o Unsure

    Comment by ak — September 1, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  10. Doesn’t NZPA’s demise also affect the visibility of NZ news *outside* the country?

    Comment by Sacha — September 1, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  11. Doesn’t NZPA’s demise also affect the visibility of NZ news *outside* the country?

    That’s certainly my understanding.

    Comment by George D — September 1, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  12. Yes and no. It does, but NZ news visibility is trivial for the most part. Widest exposure would be the cross-publication from NZ Fairfax titles to Australian Fairfax titles.

    L

    Comment by Lew — September 1, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  13. It does, but NZ news visibility is trivial for the most part.

    Quite true. Even in Australia, New Zealand is almost invisible. Where I speculate that it does make a difference is in those events that occasionally make it on to the international news cycle. Most of these are unimportant things, trivia and minor disasters, but some of them are positive stories, and others promote NZ to the world. Marginal, but we’ll just have to cope with a slightly smaller fraction of marginal now – as Lew says, they’ll still be able to buy copy.

    Comment by George D — September 2, 2011 @ 12:06 am


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