NZME proposes cutting regional news roles

The Commerce Commission has declined a merger which would have created New Zealand’s biggest news media company
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NZME, NZ Herald.

Media company NZME is proposing removing some roles in its regional and community newsrooms.

Through meetings on Thursday, staff were informed the company planned to remove 10 to 12 roles, some of which were vacant, and reinvest into new editorial roles across the country.

In a statement on Thursday, NZME publishing chief content officer Murray Kirkness said the move was not a cost-cutting measure and would take their digital transformation strategy to the “next level”.

“The proposed changes would ensure we continue to serve regional online audiences while ensuring newsrooms have the resources and freedom to deliver excellent local content for print subscribers.”

NZME owns the New Zealand Herald, Newstalk ZB, and a host of other newspapers and radio stations. It recently acquired the Gisborne Herald – after holding a 49 percent stake since 1987 – and Tauranga-based SunMedia.

The Gisborne Herald employs 54 people, publishes a newspaper Tuesday to Saturday, and has a paywalled digital news site. SunMedia is the owner of the SunLive website and publisher of the Weekend Sun, Coast & Country News and New Farm Dairies publications.

In May, the Wairoa Star paper – which NZME had a 63 percent stake in – shut down.

Earnings report highlighted digital and print outlook

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs highlighted its vision for a 2026 digital growth strategy and its print outlook in February, when it reported its full-year net profit had gone down 48 percent.

It blamed the result on a challenging year, with high inflation and interest rates hitting advertising revenue.

At the time, Boggs spoke of how “NZME’s relentless focus on being digital-led, whilst also maximising print revenues” would continue to provide substantial earnings.

“We are growing share and our print business is a really big contributor and we expect that to continue for many many years ahead,” he said in February.

Media cuts and losses

The media landscape has seen other proposals for cuts recently.

In March, TVNZ announced plans to axe 68 jobs and several programmes, including the midday bulletin, Fair Go and Sunday, and the late night news bulletins. The Re: News team will also downsized.

Earlier this week, the state-owned broadcaster said it expected an underlying loss of between $28 million and $33m in the 2024 financial year.

Meanwhile, Newshub’s owners Warner Brothers Discovery announced earlier this year the closure of Newshub to curb losses it described as unsustainable, with nearly 300 jobs being lost.

WBD later said it had made a deal with Stuff to create a replacement 6pm news bulletin.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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