An Open Letter to the NZ Media

An Open Letter to the NZ Media

You need to change if you hope to regain our trust

Dear Stuff Media, NewsHub, RNZ, NZ Herald, and TVNZ,

I would hope that there is alarm in your newsrooms and boardrooms following the release of the most recent ‘Trust in News in Aotearoa New Zealand’ Study which shows that public confidence in you has plunged to just 33% – placing you now amongst the least trusted media in the world.

The report also notes that:

▶️75% of kiwis ACTIVELY avoid viewing, reading or listening to your news content – more than any other nation in the developed world.

▶️87% of kiwis think that your news content is biased and not balanced.

▶️82% of kiwis think that your news content reflects the political leanings of your journalists or newsrooms.

▶️59% think you were in the pocket of the previous Government (since the report covers 2023).

This is not about international trends or the impact of social media. Trust in you is significantly lower than trust in media in Australia and Canada – and social media has been around for about twenty years, long before your slide into public contempt started in 2020.

No, this is squarely about you and what you’ve done to destroy the trust that the kiwi public once had in you.

You are seen as biased, partisan, unbalanced and condescending – and kiwis have had enough.

Whether you can repair the enormous damage that you have done to your reputation is hard to say – but the process for doing so is not complicated.

Here’s some free advice:

▶️Purge your news coverage of your own opinions and the opinions of your journalists – kiwis want their news to be a presentation of independent opinions and facts, not your interpretation of them. This includes partisan headlines.

▶️Provide balance. Present strong voices on BOTH sides of important issues – not just the ones that you happen to agree with. You may not like those other voices – but kiwis aren’t stupid, and we want to make up our own minds based on good debate and the contest of ideas.

▶️Outside of your news coverage, there’s nothing wrong with Journalists having strong opinions – but make a clear separation between ‘opinion pieces’ and news rather than mixing them together.

▶️Stop the ‘gotcha’ journalism that has become SO obvious since the election of the new Government. Your desperate attempts to find non-existent scandals are childish and smug and risk losing the outrage of the public if or when a real scandal comes along.

▶️Also, the contrast between the way you treat the new government and the aura of near sainthood you applied to the previous government is transparently obvious to us all. Please stop it.

Believe it or not – we all want you to prosper. We just want it to happen within a balanced environment where we can trust what you say and broadcast.

Right now, that trust doesn’t exist.

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