Editorial: Wednesday, November 13, 1963

This editorial originally appeared in print edition of the New Zealand Herald on Wednesday, November 13, 1963.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip driving along Cameron Road during their visit, 1963.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip driving along Cameron Road during their visit, 1963.

One Hundred Years of News

On its 100th birthday the Herald today takes a very special pride in saluting its readers. Four generations of them have accepted the paper as their own. On Friday November 13, 1863, possibly 2000 people in a garrison town bought copies of the first issue. Today more than 220,000 copies of the Centennial issue will roll from giant presses and find their swift way into the vast majority of homes over the peaceful length and breadth of the Auckland Province.

A newspaper cannot endure for 100 years, going from strength to strength with each passing decade, unless it identifies itself in a very real and intimate fashion with the community which it serves. Its content, its presentation, its tone, the wrongs that it exposes and the causes that it upholds must reflect as well as animate the public conscience.

From its earliest days the Herald has consistently and conscientiously sought to make itself and keep itself a paper of quality. Its early proprietors and editors set high standards.

Today visitors from overseas do the Herald the honour of classing it among the great newspapers in the English language. Yet as a newspaper of quality it still commands a mass circulation in its own territory. It holds, in fact, about a quarter of the combined circulation of all newspapers published daily in New Zealand.

Such a mark of public esteem confirms the traditional belief of the Herald that it must cater for readers who are highly literate, responsible in their attitude to affairs, discerning in their interests and eager to be well informed.

Pride in the Past

So it is that when the Herald looks back with pride today on a century of progress its thoughts turn not only to its founder and to the two great newspaper families who were for so long its sole proprietors, but also to the thousands upon thousands of people who have given the paper their loyalty, their respect and their affection.

The Herald has announced this morning its Centennial gift of £10,000 to establish and equip a cancer registry for the Auckland Province. With a full sense of gratitude it associates its readers with the gift. Their support over the years has made it possible; it is in their service that the registry will function as a repository of knowledge for the relief of human suffering.

The Herald also publishes this morning messages of congratulations on its Centenary. Her Majesty the Queen has graciously marked the occasion and men of eminence have paid tribute to the role of the newspaper in the community. Here, too, the Herald shares with is readers its pride and pleasure that the paper which serves them should be held not unworthy of praise.

The history of the Herald from its earliest days is surveyed briefly in the Centennial Record published this morning. A wider survey covers the 100 years of news that the Herald has recorded, for it is news that makes a newspaper.

Integrity of News

Word and picture revive the work of our generations of journalists who have chronicled the history of New Zealand as it has unfolded. Among them have been writers of distinction and specialists and authorities in many spheres; among them, too, have been men who were proud to serve as reporters, seeking the news with unflagging zeal, writing it as simply, as clearly and as accurately as human fallibility permits and establishing that reputation for integrity without which no newspaper can command respect.

Editorially over the years the Herald has championed many causes and espoused many policies. The public has been free to accept or reject editorial opinion, and often enough has rejected it. But it has never had occasion to question the sincerity of the opinion, because the news, the information, the facts on which opinion is based are freely and objectively stated so that on them the public can form its own opinion.

That is what makes the Centennial Record a contribution to New Zealand history. It reports and illustrates events as they happened, and in the idiom of their day and age.

Every issue of a daily newspaper represents history in the making. A chronological selection of news from 100 years of unbroken publication may not satisfy the academic historian, but for the man in the street it tells the story of the land he loves as it was written for the men who made the land.

Loyalty and Devotion

William Chisholm Wilson who founded the Herald was a journalist and a craftsman. His descendants and the descendants of AG Horton who joined him in partnership have seen to it that the Herald has been served for a century by journalists and printers, by management and staff, united in a family loyalty to a paper which has become to all of them a living thing, with a voice, a character and a spirit of its own.

The Herald marches on into its second century, wearing the arms which are the gift to it from the staff in all departments. In format, in typography, in design, in volume and in variety of content, in speed and method of production, in the prodigious demand for advertising space, it is vastly different from the paper of Friday. November 13, 1863. Other changes will occur as the years roll on and as engineering genious perfects the machines and techniques to speed the news.

Men will still tend the machines, and men will still report and record, describe and interpret the continuing pageant of history. The will be no fundamental difference between them and the men who served under William Chisholm Wilson. The will be newspaper men; they will be Herald men; the will ask nothing better than to stand in the regard of future generations of readers as high as the men whose "work continueth, great beyond their knowing."

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