Eight journalists are being sought for a $1 million pilot scheme aimed at boosting the reporting of local democracy issues across New Zealand.

Two of the reporting roles are being offered at NZME newsrooms in Rotorua and Whangarei.

The jobs come as part of the Local Democracy Reporting pilot scheme, announced by the Newspaper Publishers' Association (NPA), Radio NZ and NZ On Air at the end of May.

The purpose of the pilot is to fill gaps in the reporting of local body issues and the work of publicly funded institutions, local councils, health boards and similar organisations - brought about by significant decreases in reporting numbers in traditional media.


NZME head of content (news) Murray Kirkness said the organisation was pleased to be part of the scheme.

"We fully support the principles of the project and hope the initiative will be a tremendous success.

"We're looking forward to attracting some top-notch candidates for the reporting roles."

The scheme was proposed by RNZ and the NPA as a way of strengthening public interest reporting.

It is modelled on a successful project in the UK launched by the BBC in collaboration with British publishers, under which 150 reporters have been hired across Britain to strengthen the reporting of local issues. The British scheme has been funded from the BBC's broadcasting licence fee.

Funding of $1 million will pay for eight reporters in locations identified as needing more coverage.

These locations include: Whangārei (NZME); South Auckland (Stuff); Tairāwhiti/Gisborne (Gisborne Herald/Wairoa Star); Rotorua (NZME); Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki, Kawerau (Beacon Media Group); Masterton, Carterton, South Wairarapa (Wairarapa Times-Age); Marlborough (Stuff); and West Coast (Greymouth Star).

While the reporters will be employed by newspaper companies, all the stories generated will be made available to RNZ and other qualifying media, including competitors.


The new local democracy reporters will report solely on publicly-funded local institutions including local councils, council committees, community boards, council-owned commercial enterprises, district health boards, local trusts, and publicly-owned ports.

The funding is guaranteed until the end of August 2020. Any funding beyond that will depend on the success of the pilot.

Anyone interested in the roles at Rotorua and Whangarei can find more information at: