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Government Pays Wages for 110 ‘Journalists’

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Did You Know?

Back in September of this year, NZ On Air, the agency that administers the government’s $55m Public Interest Journalism Fund, announced $18m of funding “for an additional 110 journalists* across Aotearoa with a specific mandate to produce stories that keep New Zealanders informed and engaged, and support a healthy democracy.”

[*This figure does include 16 Local Democracy Reporter roles that were funded for a fixed term originally out of one-off allocation.]

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Pay media organisations to produce content that is in the Public Interest.

Well, until you ask, who decides what is in the Public Interest.

Is it unreasonable to suspect that a journalist whose very wages are being paid by the government, may be at least wary of biting the had that feeds him or her?

Is it unreasonable to suspect that an editor whose own role may be funded or, as a result of this funding, has more reporters, may take care how he or she deploys those reporters and the stories they cover?

It is unreasonable to suspect that media boardrooms may be quite happy to have their wage bills paid by the taxpayer and be willing to influence the editorial policies of their organisations to ensure continued funding?

According to the Prime Minister, such suspicions would be entirely unreasonable, according to her statement to parliament during Question Time.

Perhaps I just have a suspicious nature? But I’m pretty sure I know a conflict of interest when I see one. And I’m looking at 110 of them, right now!

Role Funding Details

All roles are funded for two years unless otherwise stated.

 Recipient & RoleTotal FundingAverage Salary
Stuff
20 x Community and Pou Tiaki roles for Stuff publications
up to $2,789,240$69,731
RNZ
20 x Local Democracy Reporting roles for 26 publications/platforms
up to $3,554,000$88,850
NZME
15 x roles for Open Justice – Te Pātiti scheme for 11 publications
up to
$2,995,702
$99,856
Māori Television
7 x roles for Māori Television
up to $1,593,000$113,785
School Road Publishing
1 x role for Woman magazine
up to
$189,660
$94,830
SunPix
2 x roles for TP+
up to
$273,600
$68,400
Local Matters
1 x role for Local Matters
up to
$150,148
$75,074
Crux Publishing
1 x role for Crux
up to
$151,200
$75,600
The Spinoff
2 x roles for The Spinoff
up to
$427,800
$106,950
Ashburton Guardian
1 x role for the Ashburton Guardian
up to
$150,000
$75,000
Central App
1 x role for Central App, for one year
up to
$31,200
$31,200
North & South
1 x role for North & South Media
up to
$230,000
$115,000
Newsroom
4 x roles for Newsroom and 1 x shared role Newsroom and North & South
up to
$528,316
$52,831
Allied Press
4 x roles for Otago Daily Times and other Allied Press properties
up to
$711,797
$88,974
Valley Media
1 x role for The Valley Profile
up to
$127,096
$63,548
The Gisborne Herald
1 x role for The Gisborne Herald
up to
$183,240
$91,620
Metro Media Group
1 x part-time role for Metro Magazine
up to
$47,600
$23,800
Mana Trust
4 x roles for E-Tangata
up to
$650,000
$81,250
Kiwi Media Publishing
4 x roles for The Indian Weekender
up to
$705,000
$88,125
National Pacific Radio Trust
4 x roles for Pacific Media Network, for one year
up to
$275,000
$68,750
Television New Zealand
2 x roles for TVNZ News, for one year
up to
$206,000
$103,000
Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika
1 x role for Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika
up to
$176,200
$88,100
Very Nice Productions
1 x role for Local Focus, for one year
up to
$105,000
$105,000
UMA Broadcasting
6.5 x roles for Radio Waatea, for one year
up to
$774,000
$119,076
Discovery New Zealand
3 x roles for Newshub
up to
$695,560
$115,926
journalism fund

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