New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), today announced plans for its print, digital and radio news teams to come together in one integrated, multi-platform, 24/7 operation.
The move comes ahead of the co-location of the teams later this year into one world-class, Auckland newsroom. The integrated newsroom will be led by Managing Editor Shayne Currie, whose role has been elevated to report directly to NZME CEO Jane Hastings.
Currie says the moves were driven by ever-changing audience demands and were the logical next step in the evolution of the newsroom.
"We already think digital-first, and this will make it fully operational, allowing us to better serve rapidly growing mobile audiences. We have engaged leading international newsroom consultants in addition to gaining first-hand experience of best practice newsrooms around the world to ensure we create a newsroom that can leverage NZME's unique mix of print, digital and radio.
"It's about being totally focused on our audience and delivering even better journalism and content wherever they are."
With the changes, NZME will be investing in new roles and training and development to ensure the delivery and format of journalism engages new and existing audiences.
Hastings says the new structure is designed to set NZME up for the future.
"It will strengthen the quality of our news and information products. We have spent time over the past 12 months testing the model and we are confident of the benefits it will deliver. The Herald was recently judged the Newspaper of the Year at the annual Pacific Area Newspapers Publishers' Association (PANPA) awards, which included all newspapers across New Zealand, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The judges' comments indicated that the Herald is leading the way in how it presents the news in print and online. The campaigns and stories they referred to are all part of our new strategy and direction, proving we are absolutely on the right track with our approach."
Journalists who until now have been assigned to the New Zealand Herald or the Herald on Sunday will in future be multi-skilled, working across all platforms. At the same time, fast-paced radio breaking news reporting will be embedded into the digital news stream.
"It will unlock the talent and energy of separated news teams to more efficiently contribute news reporting, feature writing, video, photography, design and production to wherever it is needed," said Hastings.
The initial focus will be on implementing an integrated, seven-day newsroom at the New Zealand Herald's current location in Albert Street. The integrated newsroom will not impact on individual brands which will retain their unique perspective and tone.
The operational alignment between journalists at Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport, the New Zealand Herald and Herald on Sunday, will be fully implemented when the two teams move into the purpose-built newsroom at NZME Central in Auckland, towards the end of the year.
The integration of the newsroom includes several new appointments. As well as Weekday Editor Murray Kirkness and Weekends Editor Miriyana Alexander, the General Manager of Talk Radio, Steve Kyte, will now report to Shayne Currie, as will the General Manager of Digital Innovation, Marcus Forbes, and recently appointed Digital Editor, Irene Chapple who will be joining NZME from CNN.com to lead all of the digital platforms.
NZME is also recruiting for the new roles of Head of Sport, to combine all radio and publishing resources into one powerful sports team, a new Creative Director for the digital team and a Planning Editor.