The New Zealand Press Association, owned by APN and Fairfax, has announced it is slashing its journalists from 55 to 48. In election year, they are reducing the parliamentary bureau from five to four. They are even sacking their only (yes, only) South Island reporter.
This is the problem with having our print media owned by two foreign multi-nationals. They’re not in it to produce quality journalism, they’re in it for profits. The way to boost returns is slash staff, cut pay, and have the remaining journos turn out more copy. So, they under-staff their papers and now they’re cutting NZPA. The result is a PR hack’s dream: overworked journos who will take the spin you give them and run it uncritically. It’s not the overworked, underpaid journalists’ fault, it’s the fault of the owners.
In a sane world most PR people would be journos; not people whose job it is to try and get journos to run their organisations’ spin. But we don’t live in a sane world. We live in a world where the owners of our media put profit first, opening the door for organisations to spin the news. And they all have to do it, because if they don’t their opposition’s spin will become fact.
So, we lose another seven journalists, APN and Fairfax’s return on capital improves again, and the role of the PR hack grows ever stronger.