NZ Herald changes – For Real?





The following two reports were posted on Radio NZ’s website within a few hours of each other on Friday 18 September (ignore the date given on one item; Updated at 2:39 pm on 20 August 2015).

The first item reported that “APN [parent company of the NZ Herald] plans to begin registration of visitors to its New Zealand Herald website before the end of the year, as the company’s profits fall“.

The article went on to outline how “The Australian-based APN News and Media – parent company of NZME which owns the Herald – has indicated it wants to charge customers for online content“.


NZ Herald to start digital registration of readers

TDB Recommends


The next item reported that some of NZ Herald’s most experienced columnists were being dumped;


High-profile NZ Herald jobs under review


Now call me old-fashioned, but it strikes me as a rather bizarre business strategy that, on the one hand, the owners will shortly be raising a paywall on NZ Herald’s on-line content, and demanding payment to read material…

… whilst on the other, they are cutting some of their most experienced contributing writers?!

How does that work?

Actually, it doesn’t.

Expecting consumers to pay for a product that the company owners are busily gutting is an insane proposition. Reducing the content of the paper, written by some of the most insightful, respected columnists in this country,  is a self-defeating policy. It will only achieve one thing; a reduction in quality leading to an eventual  loss of readership.

In commercial-speak: No sound business model can succeed if consumers are presented with a lower standard of quality of product.

In plain english: gutting a newspaper is bad business, and harmful to the democratic process.

This is not a solution, this is an ill-considered panic-move. As usual, it is workers who will pay for bad management decisions that any fool can see will not work.





Radio NZ: High-profile NZ Herald jobs under review

Radio NZ: NZ Herald to start digital registration of readers

Previous related blogposts

Pay Walls – the last gasp of a failed media business-model?








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  1. Well the second they do that the Herald is gone from my bookmarks. The sadly ironic thing is, the Herald is currently providing more actual NZ “news” than Stuff is. eg, there’s more breaking news stories about actual events happening in Wellington to be found on the Herald site long before they make it (if ever) to the DomPost site or Stuff front page.

    Not that I rely on the Herald or Stuff to find out what’s going on- thank goodness for RNZ and Scoop. But I will miss doing the Herald Codecracker!

  2. Hi Frank,

    Is the Herald owned by Rupert Murdock?

    If so well that is the reason as he wants blood out of a stone so he can buy all the other remaining media moguls as he loves to own everything.

    He wants to rule the media and Governments with his empire.

    They should break him and his global evil media empire up into small self controlled local media coverage not run it like a business lobbyist.

  3. If The Herald stopped with the bullshit praise of John Key and started telling the truth not National propaganda bulletins they might find the reader and purchaser numbers of Herald might improve.So far anyone who tells the truth about the lies and corruption of Key government is dismissed.
    The Herald has Hoskins putting in his stupid “lefty loony” rubbish articles. the comments of his articles are mostly negative and very uncomplimentary,so why persist with his biased rubbish?
    Audry Young now and again shows some insight at start of article then deteriorates into Key is king talk .
    We all assume (know) that the herald is a propaganda tool for Key so don’t expect people to take too much notice of it enough to buy it.
    I will not even look at Herald online if there is a charge,i wont pay for propaganda whoever it favours.
    I expect genuine news not what the herald want to make us believe.
    One good thing about the downturn in readership is that people are on to them and no longer want to know what a marvel John Key and his party is. The tide has turned ,,hopefully the Herald and John Key are on the way out.

  4. Well that will save me some time. Since most of the stories are in overseas papers that I already read, I won’t be missing much without the Herald.

  5. The NZ Herald was always right of centre but for the most part it was subtle. But in recent years it has given up the pretence of balance, certainly in the last few months if not years and its now overtly the National Party’s rag.

    So pursue a business model that pisses off at least half the voting population and you are on to a loser. Because of this, in the least that it’s a dying publication with exemplars being Hosking, Bob Jones and other Nat toads writing . I note they have not shed John Roughan or Fran O’Sullivan or other Nat sympathisers so the cull looks precisely like an ideological based decision.

    They can pay wall it all they like, like the NBR they can preach to the converted, I certainly won’t be paying a cent to read their propaganda.

    And thumbs down to RNZ having that ghastly little creep David Farrar on “The Panel” yesterday espousing his opinions. Having one of THE key persons in Nationals misinformation machine as a guest somehow gives him credibility which he does not deserve. All it did was make me hit the tuner button to another station.

    • +100 to all of the above.

      Sad that it’s come to a stage here I enthusiastically look forward to the Herald’s total demise.

      Newspapers pushing political agendas may be tolerable or even desirable in environments such as the UK where the existence of other papers holding opposing viewpoints provide balance. But in NZ the Herald is the only game in town as far as those living in greater Auckland live, almost half the nation’s population.

      Being unbalanced without opposition, the Herald is undoubtedly harmful to an informed democracy.

      NZ Herald’s owners and management do, of course, blame their woes on the digital environment. But in reality, readership habits die hard. It takes a concerted effort to destroy the loyalty of those who grew up in an age where almost everybody subscribed to a newspaper. The Herald undoubtedly fueled the flight of their readership by dishing up increasingly obvious political campaigns that at times amounted to the publication of lies presented as journalism [Dong Liu affair and association of Herald staff with C Slater].

      • When my 75 year old mother, a life long subscriber to the Herald, cancels her subscription you know something is wrong.

    • Xray – well said.

      In late 2013, I had to spend some time in Dunedin on personal matters. During that time I bought and read the Otago Daily Times . It was money well spent.

      The paper is must-read and carries wide news of Dunedin and the surrounding regions. In less than a week, I was “up with the play” on what was happening in Otago.

      It is no coincidence that the ODT is one of New Zealand’s last independent newspapers and, in my ‘umble opinion, the best available.

      The good folk of Otago are lucky to have that newspaper available to them.

      The Herald and Dominion Post could both take lessons from the ODT on how to put together a newspaper.

  6. Yep, plain as day – a National party newsletter. So what’s going to happen when the Nats are ousted in the very near future? There won’t be anybody wanting to bother with it. Farewell NZ Herald, the sooner the better.

  7. I won’t miss the NZ Herald, as I only ever bought the Dominion Post.

    Another right-wing paper bites the dust because it can’t make money off only appealing to neo-liberal right wingers and bashing the left, like TV3 the right-wing media is hitting the hard times. They killed all their objectivity and embraced extreme right-wing views.

    If the Herald wants to keep in the green it should go more after Wired, the Economist, and the Huffington Post, rather than just write dry right wing propaganda that even Fox News wouldn’t force on its viewers, as it just so boring to read or listen to.

    More people should read stuff here instead.

  8. I wonder who the “other’s in the media group” are that its planning to merge newsrooms with? Women’s Weekly? Not knocking it in its own right, but can’t remember the last bit of hard-biting investigative journalism it published. Can’t imagine they’re all happy about that.

  9. Well this reader will be opting out of reading NZH, once this nonsense kicks in. Then it will be a case of the publication preaching to the already converted. They can drown themselves totally in FJK BS then!

    It will be bye bye NZH. No thanks!

  10. This makes good sense. Media standards have been on a long downward spiral which has trained most readers to accept crap without questioning.

    Those who will actually pay to read the Herald, for the most part, will be those who do not know better. Reader comments will more reliably echo the editorial/propaganda direction of the Herald. A self reinforcing loop is created.

    As we have seen with voting a sizable minority of people will simply opt out of the BS. Fine, good. The right will carry the day. Plutocracy will dominate and the messiness of democracy is avoided.

  11. No more Bromhead and his subversive column. Will be much missed. I cancelled my subscription after 20 odd years last month. Comment about Womans Weekly is spot on; that was how the paper felt with it’s obsession in news of celebs and rugby players. With merger with ZB newsroom look forward to more articles by Hoskins, Smalley, Leighton and crew. Shame about Bromhead though

  12. The Herald are getting desperate, I’ve had a call from them recently offering me x amount of weeks free reading (can’t remember now how many weeks it was) and I told them to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I cancelled at the last election – having Key shoved in my face on two days with full page length photography was the last straw.

    Periodically they phone me and ask my opinion about joining up again and I tell them to put some balance into their editorials and give all the political parties a fair share of the print and get their journalists to get off their backsides and do a proper day’s work for a change.

    Even the Listener is getting the axe when this sub runs out – its now a lifestyle rag full of health,food,movies/filmstars articles – absolutely everything but anything pertaining to our political system and how it is being managed. Just dumbing down absolute rubbish.

    Also the talk back at night on Radio Live is a dumbed down lot of magazine format subjects. We have so many serious issues happening in this country and they now want to chat about everything as above – health, food and other fluff stuff. I miss Andrew Fagan on at night, Karyn Hay now must be yawning all evening over what she is “directed” to chat about.

  13. There is simply no financially viable model for newsprint anymore. Its going the way of slide rules and sealing wax.

    Broadcast TV is going the same way, albeit more slowly.

    I do admit to having feelings of schadenfreude over this: No longer do I have to suffer the facile opinions of self-important ‘opinion formers’ with degrees in Media Studies from Victoria University.

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