New Zealand Herald. Image courtesy of Pacific Media Centre.

MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch – Report by Victoria White.

Current New Zealand Herald newsrooms in the NZME building on Albert Street in Auckland will be moved into an integrated newsroom on Victoria Street West in the near future. Image: NZ Herald.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Item: 9303

Victoria White
AUCKLAND (Te Waha Nui/ Pacific Media Watch): The New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB will combine their Auckland newsrooms in November in a move that reflects the news industry’s continual progression toward converged media.

The integrated newsroom will be housed in new $190 million premises on Victoria Street West.

Under the new arrangement, journalists from the Herald and Newstalk ZB will have their distinct areas in the unified newsroom, but will share a centralised news desk that will direct the flow of news content through the day.

Herald editor Shayne Currie said he believed the unified newsroom would revolutionise how its journalists worked.

“It’s about bringing together all those different platforms, and making sure we’re all together as one.”

Currie said it was “not a cost-cutting exercise at all”.

But there would be efficiencies because of a new ability to better plan for stories, whether they were breaking news or a major project like a Rugby World Cup.

“So there’ll be a lot more planning around how we present our content and journalism across all those different platforms, and we’ll be working together very closely to ensure that our audiences get the best content possible.”

Major investment
Currie said the relocation was a “major investment in journalism and our journalists”, and reflected the massive change the media industry was experiencing through the digital revolution.

It recognised today’s journalists had to be “agile and versatile”, he said.

Part of the project would focus on “upskilling” Herald journalists to ensure they were proficient in at least two media platforms, whether that was print and digital, digital and radio, or radio and video.

It was important reporters had “the right tools and the right skills to be able to report the best stories”.

“It’ll be the best newsroom in the country by a long distance, and one of the best in the world,” Currie said.

The New Zealand and Media Entertainment (NZME) move echoes the increasing number of integrated newsrooms internationally, which reveal the growing role of multi-platform media in journalism.

Mediaworks
Meanwhile, TV3 owner Mediaworks announced the integration of its newsroom in December, a move which will unify 200 staff from different media platforms into one news team, and will also be operational later this year.

The bureau chief of 3 News, Keith Slater, said a strong emphasis of the newsroom will be on digital news.

Its journalists would also have to write for its online platforms and operate in the social media world as well.

“These are the things that are just going to become common practice.

“All of this is tied with convergence. If you get there first, you don’t shoot pictures of a train crash then jump back in your car and drive back [to the newsroom] and put them on air. You can’t do that anymore.”

Slater said news relied on consistency, accuracy and credibility, of which the most important, despite the pressures of the digital age, was still credibility.

‘Huge’ cultural shift
Massey University communications lecturer Dr Catherine Strong believes the role of convergent media has been growing internationally over the past 15 years.

It was “a huge shift in the culture of the newsroom” which would continue, she said.

Media commentator and former editor of the Herald Gavin Ellis said integrated media were indeed part of a trend.

“All media now deal in the written word, audio, video, so it makes sense to have a structure that reflects this new reality,” he said.

“The fact that journalism now involves production of news on multiple platforms means convergence is a natural progression.”

NZME currently has separate newsrooms for print and radio, on Albert and Cook streets, respectively.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.