Media firm Stuff making changes in newsrooms

7:43 pm on 18 October 2022

By Sam Hurley of NZ Herald

The Commerce Commission has declined a merger which would have created New Zealand’s biggest news media company
Fairfax Media NZ,, 
NZME, NZ Herald.

Stuff is making changes, but won't say until after consultation with staff whether job losses are being considered. Photo: RNZ/ Brad White

Media firm Stuff is proposing changes to some of its newsrooms but has declined to say if it will result in job losses.

The Herald understands positions were under review in several regions where the company has a presence.

Stuff's stable of mastheads includes its namesake news website, The Dominion Post, The Press, and Sunday Star-Times. It also publishes regional and community newspapers, including The Manawatū Standard, Nelson Mail, Taranaki Daily News and Waikato Times.

In a statement after inquiries by the Herald today, Stuff's chief content officer Joanna Norris said the business was "proposing some changes in tasks and roles in our local newsrooms".

"The changes will strengthen our local news operations and ensure we continue to have journalists based right across New Zealand deeply connected to covering local issues and people," Norris said.

"This will allow our journalists with boots on the ground in our regional newsrooms to produce unique, enterprise journalism relevant to their readers and to engage regularly with our subscribers and future audiences."

Stuff declined to answer specific questions by the Herald about what roles, how many, and which publications might be affected by the changes.

"We are currently seeking feedback from staff affected by the proposal and will only be in a position to confirm our future plans once that process is completed," Norris said.

She said despite any changes, Stuff would continue to have more journalists in more locations than any other New Zealand news organisation.

Sinead Boucher

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has spoken out about a proposed public media merger creating 'unfair' terrain for private media companies. Photo: supplied

Earlier this month, Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher and other media bosses warned about the government's plan to merge TVNZ and RNZ into a single public media entity.

Boucher said private media was facing a "pincer movement" from the proposed organisation, which could use public funding to undercut competitors for advertising revenue and over pay when competing for talent and staff.

"In some cases the salary offers have been 30 percent above what we have been paying, and what we are paying is very much the market rate - not low paying," she said.

"So we are already starting to feel the effects of it and the entity is not even formed."

Boucher is the owner of Stuff Ltd after buying it from Australian media company Nine Entertainment for a nominal $1.

Former parent company Nine's board had been resolved to close Stuff's doors if a sale could not be concluded by the end of May 2020 - following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and an associated decline in Stuff's advertising revenues.

It ended years of speculation about the company's ownership and unsuccessful attempts by Herald publisher NZME to buy or merge with the firm, which were blocked by the Commerce Commission and the courts.

* This story originally appeared on NZ Herald.

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