Media firm Stuff is proposing changes to some of its newsrooms but has declined to say if it will result in job losses.
The Herald understands positions are under review in several regions where the company has a presence.
Stuff’s stable of mastheads includes its namesake news website, The Dominion Post, The Press, and Sunday Star-Times. It also publishes several regional and community newspapers, including The Manawatu Standard, The Nelson Mail, Taranaki Daily News and Waikato Times.
In a statement after Herald inquiries today, Stuff’s chief content officer Joanna Norris said the business is “proposing some changes in tasks and roles in our local newsrooms”.
"The changes will strengthen our local news operations and ensure we continue to have journalists based right across New Zealand, deeply connected to covering local issues and people," she said.
"This will allow our journalists with boots on the ground in our regional newsrooms to produce unique, enterprise journalism relevant to their readers and to engage regularly with our subscribers and future audiences."
Stuff declined to answer specific questions by the Herald about what roles, how many, and which publications might be affected by the changes.
"We are currently seeking feedback from staff affected by the proposal and will only be in a position to confirm our future plans once that process is completed," Norris said.
She said despite any changes, Stuff will continue to have more journalists in more locations than any other New Zealand news organisation.
Earlier this month, Stuff's chief executive Sinead Boucher and other media bosses warned about the Government's plan to merge TVNZ and Radio NZ into a single public media entity.
Boucher said private media was facing a "pincer movement" from the proposed organisation, which could use public funding to undercut competitors for advertising revenue and overpay when competing for talent and staff.
"In some cases the salary offers have been 30 per cent above what we have been paying and what we are paying is very much the market rate - not low paying, so we are already starting to feel the effects of it and the entity is not even formed," she said.
Boucher is the owner of Stuff Ltd after buying it from Australian media company Nine Entertainment for a nominal $1.
Nine's board had been resolved to close Stuff's doors if a sale couldn't be concluded by the end of May 2020 - following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and an associated decline in Stuff's advertising revenues.
It ended years of speculation about the company’s ownership and unsuccessful attempts by Herald publisher NZME to buy or merge with the firm, which were blocked by the Commerce Commission and the courts.