A new regional initiative between NZME and an independent media production company has been announced to create more and better local content in the North Island.

The initiative's working title is Local Focus and it has been awarded $400,000 this week by NZ On Air's Regional Media fund.

Local Focus will extend NZME's video news by deploying a network of video journalists devoted to covering local content.

Video journalists will be working in NZME offices throughout the mid-lower North Island, the company announced today.


New Zealand Herald managing editor Shayne Currie and NZME video manager Cameron Death will be spearheading Local Focus from the NZME side of the operation.

Mr Death said he was excited about the project and the funding.

"In the changing media landscape it is becoming increasingly important to develop innovative ways of creating and sharing content. Regional stories are just as important as the goings-on in the cities and we're creating new ways for those stories to be told via innovative video and large-scale distribution. Thanks to the financial support from NZ On Air, this project will allow us to showcase what is happening outside city boundaries."

NZ On Air said the regional media fund aimed to provide coverage of local issues and events not otherwise covered by national media.

It hoped new audiences would be reached through digital platforms with good quality audio-visual story-telling.

The partnership between NZME and multi-media production company Very Nice Productions was just as important as the funding, Mr Death said.

"Very Nice Productions, under the leadership of Alistair Wilkinson, one of New Zealand's most experienced broadcast journalists and news managers, and Myles Thomas on the operations and business side, is an independent multi-media production company, and has an outstanding reputation for producing quality video content.

"We can't wait to work with them to champion local stories about the regions, for the regions."

Mr Wilkinson agreed, calling the partnership a "win for journalism in the regions".

"Working in partnership with our newsroom colleagues from NZME, we're looking forward to uncovering stories that deserve to be told in regional New Zealand."