Whanganui has a new reporter on the beat this morning.

Sieska Verdonk is the local face for NZ Herald Local Focus, an innovative partnership between New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Very Nice Productions and NZ On Air.

NZME is also the owner of the Wanganui Chronicle.

NZ Herald Local Focus will shed light on stories across the North Island, sharing regional content on a national platform.


On average, the team will produce eight regional news videos each week, housed on nzherald.co.nz and across the wider NZME network, including wanganuichronicle.co.nz.

Funded by a $400,000 grant by NZ On Air, NZ Herald Local Focus brings together two of New Zealand's most experienced television and broadcast news professionals as well as a team of video-journalists based in regional New Zealand.

Alistair Wilkinson is the executive producer. A broadcast journalist and newsroom leader with more than 20 years in the industry, Alistair is one of the most experienced managers of the video-journalism model in the country.

NZME has partnered with Very Nice Productions to bring the initiative to life.

Myles Thomas, managing director of Very Nice Productions has 25 years of experience in the television business.

Hunter Calder (Waikato), Kaysha Brownlie (Hawke's Bay) and Ingrid Jellick (Bay of Plenty) are the other reporters in the NZ Herald Local Focus team. The journalists will be embedded in these communities, bringing the stories that matter in their regions to the mainstream media.

NZ Herald Local Focus is an extension of the NZ Herald Focus brand, presented by Laura McGoldrick and Tristram Clayton, which launched in April this year.

Executive producer Belinda Henley, executive producer of NZ Herald Focus said: "This is a win for journalism in the regions.

"Herald Focus has shown that this video model is engaging and relevant and we're excited to bring it to the regions is association with Very Nice Productions and NZ on Air. Working in partnership with their newsroom colleagues from NZME, the strong, experienced NZ Herald Local Focus team are looking forward to uncovering stories that deserve to be told in regional New Zealand."

Watch the first NZ Herald Local Focus video here.