A woman who made a long and path-breaking contribution to print journalism and broadcasting, and known for her involvement with women's issues, has died this morning after a short illness.

Marcia Russell started as a cadet reporter at the New Zealand Herald in 1959, going on to found Thursday magazine in 1968.

She campaigned for the most important and controversial women's issues of the time, including abortion law reform and the introduction of the domestic purposes benefit.

Marcia Russell joined South Pacific Television in 1975, presenting the magazine show Speakeasy and reporting for News At 10.


It was in 1986 she was one of those involved with securing a warrant for a private channel, TV3, and became news chief there for three years.

Marcia Russell was an ward-winning documentary maker, working on Landmarks and The New Zealand Wars and her series Revolution, on the fourth Labour government reforms.

Marcia Russell's varied career included working as a talkback host and panelling on TV's Beauty and the Beast.

She was made an OBE for her services to journalism in 1996.

She is survived by her partner Tom Finlayson and her daughter Kate.