NZPA cuts threaten news quality
The New Zealand Press Association’s decision to cut seven of its fifty-five staff is a reckless move that will reduce news quality across our entire media and undermine the public’s right to be informed says the journalists’ union – the EPMU.
NZPA is responsible for the bulk of New Zealand’s syndicated news across print, broadcast and online media.
The proposed changes include cutting back the parliamentary bureau, cutting sports coverage, removing the organisation’s sole South Island reporter, reducing the finance desk to just two staff and removing one editor and one general news reporter.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says NZPA’s proposed cuts are hard to understand and in an election year can only reduce coverage of political events.
“The purpose of our news media is to provide New Zealanders with the basis to make informed decisions in our democracy but in making these cuts the NZPA is neglecting its public duty.
“This will affect the quality of news in every single media outlet in the country and the decision to cut the parliamentary bureau and reduce news staff in an election year shows NZPA’s disregard for the public’s right to be informed.
“By cutting its only South Island reporter the NZPA is abandoning news gathering capacity for a quarter of the country’s readership.”
Little says the EPMU will consult with the company regarding the shape of the restructuring.
“Though we would like to be able to stop this proposal the NZPA seems set on it. However we are determined that whatever the final outcome, our members will be treated fairly.”
The EPMU represents nearly 2000 New Zealand journalists and is currently undertaking a review of the country’s media.
[Corrected 4/7/08: Last night’s release on newsroom cuts at NZPA contained a factual error in paragraph three.
The release stated that the restructuring announced yesterday included a cut to NZPA’s overseas bureau. This is incorrect as those operations were cut back in previous restructurings.]