EDITORIAL:

Media the world over face more challenges than ever and these are key to the NZ Herald's shift to a premium digital strategy this week.

Where once the main competitor was a rival newspaper or television network, the NZ Herald of 2019 competes for content and audience with multinational social media organisations and other digital platforms based domestically and around the world. Advertisers too have more choice than ever to get their messages before the public.

The NZ Herald has always striven to compete in the media landscape, firstly, by being the best. Being judged best news brand in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific in 2018, as well as best news website at the Voyager Media Awards, attests to the success of our digital strategy so far.

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But it is not enough to be the best. In order to sustain a high level of journalism - be it investigative, political, business, sport or breaking news - it is no secret we need to supplement our revenue stream. It's the right thing to do to allow quality journalism the longevity to survive and thrive.

Charging a small price for our best digital journalism has the potential to provision the NZ Herald for another 150 years. We have signalled this move for many months in an attempt to engender a conversation around the strategy.

By now, we hope all of our audience is aware of our intention to draw a line in the sand, a line where we stand on the merits and the quality of our journalism.

Paying for news is as old as newspapers themselves. We have always been cognisant of the support from subscribers and those buying the NZ Herald over the counter. From today, we hope to extend that obligation to a growing premium digital audience.

The launch of New Zealand Herald digital subscriptions today – and the renewed focus on unique, exclusive journalism – is only one facet of our planning for a long, strong and sustained future.

Many of our articles will remain free; in a market the size of New Zealand, it is critical we continue to be a website accessible to everyone. We are well aware of the need to inform the wider nation to matters of overriding immediate and public interest.

We're backing ourselves. True, we've formed a "dream team" of foreign syndication media companies - The New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Telegraph (UK), The Times (UK), the Financial Times, the South China Morning Post and the Harvard Business Review - but our local and national editorial endeavours will remain our central focus.

It is up to our newsrooms in Auckland and around the country to provide content to a standard worthy of the "premium" descriptor. Ultimately, it will be up to you, our reader, to decide how well we have achieved.

Whether you're a reader, a subscriber, an advertiser, or a combination of all three, your loyalty is deeply appreciated. Your support sustains us.