Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Poor newspaper proprietors, poor journalists

The Commerce Commission refused to allow the merger of NZME, owners of the NZ Herald, and Fairfax media, owners of the DominionPost. They, very reasonably, argued that the merger of the country's two major newspapers would create a monopoly that is bad for the country. The proprietors of the two media empires cried foul. They invested their money in these businesses, reaped large profits, now that the profits are drying up they want to squeeze a few more drops of juice from their investments. They lost sight of the purpose of newspapers, to disseminate news, not to create a vehicle for advertisers. There will be always news, and there will always be an appetite for well informed reporting and analysis. If the Herald and the DominionPost have to change the way they operate and work out a new, more appropriate business plan so be it. Now the vultures, investors out for a quick buck are circling these two wounded behemoths. It is likely that they would strip the assets of these businesses, cut their staff, but it is very unlikely that they would do much to improve the standards of journalism.