New Zealand me­dia earns pat on the back

Weekend Herald - - Viewpoints -

It has been a big two days for the New Zealand me­dia in­dus­try. Last night, win­ners of the Voy­ager Me­dia Awards were an­nounced, and the NZ Ra­dio Awards were pre­sented on Thurs­day.

The award cat­e­gories re­flected the scope of mod­ern me­dia and showed how the in­dus­try has adapted to com­mer­cial pres­sures and cul­tural de­mands.

There was recog­ni­tion for the bedrock tasks of jour­nal­ism — re­port­ing, fea­ture writ­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, sub­bing, edit­ing and pub­lish­ing. But there were awards, too, for web­sites and apps, cam­paigns and projects, videog­ra­phy and dig­i­tal sto­ry­telling.

What the fi­nal­ists all shared was a com­mit­ment to the es­sen­tial role of pro­vid­ing cred­i­ble and trust­wor­thy news, anal­y­sis and im­agery.

The past two decades have not been com­fort­able for the in­dus­try. Its for­tunes have been hit by dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion and the col­lapse of tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing.

Many mast­heads have dis­ap­peared and com­pe­ti­tion for the time of news con­sumers has come from al­ter­na­tives such as Face­book and Twit­ter. The rep­u­ta­tion of tra­di­tional news sources has been chal­lenged with cries of fake news and the of­fer of al­ter­na­tive facts.

Jour­nal­ists in New Zealand are bound to seek and re­port the truth, to be ac­count­able, trans­par­ent and in­de­pen­dent. These are the eth­i­cal stan­dards the main­stream me­dia ac­cepts and up­holds.

The rules are re­in­forced by laws of con­tempt and defama­tion and prin­ci­ples adopted by the NZ Press Coun­cil.

The New Zealand me­dia re­mains a re­li­able and de­pend­able source of news. The awards be­stowed this week con­firm that the fourth es­tate here is do­ing the job de­manded of it.

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