Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 11. 1965.
NZ Press Inept
NZ Press Inept
Sirs,—M. von Dadelszen claims that we have in New Zealand "only a mediocre press," and he's right. But he seems to think that it is in spite of NZPA. which he has praised without really considering its adverse effects. It's not just, a question of a small paper being rapped over the knuckles for showing initiative, it's also a question of Journalistic opportunity.
Mr. von Dadelszen believes that the NZ press, though it may "lack thoroughness, penetration, and the initiative to look beneath surface announcements," is at least preferable to those like the American or Australian, "where there is extreme competition." Preferable to whom, Mr. Dadelszen?
Presumably to the politicians, because it certainly isn't to the journalists, and the public, heaven help it, doesn't know any better. The truth is that, although the American and Australian papers are highly competitive, they do produce good journalists and columnists, and, what is more important, they keep them.
New Zealand produces some good journalists, but it doesn't keep them. And why? Because there is virtually no opportunity. How many New Zealand papers have permanent overseas correspondents? Very few, because NZPA squashes the need for them, and in so doing it shuts the door in the face of a journalist who wants to make a name for himself.
And that's only one aspect of it. If the New Zealand press is to improve, it must create better opportunities for its journalists and it must pay them better wages. Few good journalists are going to stay here if they can get more money and better opportunities elsewhere, as the number of New Zealanders working on Sydney and Melbourne papers demonstrates.
The New Zealand press needs competition and it will get it if Rupert Murdoch ever goes into high gear. When that happens there are good chances that our newspapers will improve—if only because our ex-patriate journalists will come home to take advantage of the new opportunities.