2 Dec 2012

Leading journalist Marcia Russell dies

2:30 pm on 2 December 2012

Noted journalist and broadcaster Marcia Russell died on Saturday after a short illness.

Ms Russell became the first woman reporter to cover daily news for the New Zealand Herald in 1959 and later as the founding editor of Thursday magazine from 1968, she campaigned for abortion law reform and the introduction of the domestic purposes benefit.

In 1975, she joined South Pacific Television where she presented the magazine show Speakeasy, before becoming the editor of the News at 10.

In 1986, she help win a warrant for the private third channel, TV3, and became chief of TV3 News from 1987 to 1990.

She was also an award-winning documentary-maker, working on projects such as Landmarks in 1978, and The New Zealand Wars in 1996, for which she won an award for scriptwriting.

Her four part series, Revolution in 1997, about the reforms of the fourth Labour Government, won an award for best factual series.

Ms Russell was awarded an OBE for her services to journalism in 1996 and became the first recipient of the Academy of Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Recently she completed a Master of Literature thesis at Auckland University on the Australian-based poet and journalist Elizabeth Riddell.

Marcia Russell is survived by her partner, Tom Finlayson, and her daughter Kate.