Purpose, disruption and journalism – defining our own future

The NZ Herald's readership is up yet again - 472,000 people read the newspaper each day and a record 1.72 million Kiwis read the Herald's journalism across a typical week (Nielsen CMI Q3 18 to Q2 19. AP15+).

Here, New Zealand Media and Entertainment’s Managing Editor Shayne Currie talks about some of the secrets to that success.

To paraphrase the famous quote from Mark Twain, reports of newspapers' deaths have been greatly exaggerated. In an era of echo-chamber social media commentary, instant online outrage, and sugar-heavy reality-TV, readers are increasingly looking for safe havens. Places they can find the truth, rely on the facts, be informed and entertained and hear all sides of the story and debate.

Journalism is a wonderful craft - and profession. All of us are in it to make a difference. Across our NZ Herald and NZME newsrooms, we set out each day with a singular purpose - keeping Kiwis in the know.

This is a time when our guiding principles are needed more than ever before in our 156-year history: To speak truth to power and give a voice to those who need help. In this day and age, facts trump fiction.

In a period of local body elections, political scandals and an increasingly polarised debate, the NZ Herald makes a difference with hard-hitting exclusives, investigations and campaigns.

We’re here to make New Zealand a better place. It may be something as simple as pursuing a council on the quality of a local road, or as powerful as revealing secret political donations, or campaigning to reduce youth suicide.

Our readers and audiences are at the heart of our operation - why does this matter, why is it important, why should our readers care?

There is no question that the media industry faces challenging headwinds. It's there to see in media company balance sheets and in the recent commentary from our peers. We face those headwinds each day - at NZME we're focusing on finding our own solutions.

The fact is, our journalism has never been more accessible than it is today. Our readership is at record levels. The technology that has disrupted our industry has also empowered our journalists and journalism.

A reporter's toolkit in 2019 is incredible - we can tell stories across the airwaves, through video or a podcast, in print and on screens small and big.

We were immensely proud to launch NZ Herald Premium earlier this year - the first major media business in New Zealand to build a digital subscription service. We believe strongly in our quality, in-depth digital journalism, and we put a value on it, just as we have done with our newspapers for more than a century and a half. 

Our readers have embraced Premium - we are so grateful to them and the increasing number of subscribers signing up. 

We could have taken the easy road but we're in this for the long haul. Placing a value on our digital journalism now puts us in strong stead for the future. 

Our founders would have had little idea, 156 years ago, where the NZ Herald would be today. With our audience focus, we plan to be here well into the future.