Where are the journalists going?

There are continuing concerns about journalists being gradually culled from major media organisations. NZ herald is one of the latest to show some the door.

This exchange on Twitter commented on some of that and asked lamented the thinning ranks of journalists.

Deeply concerned about right tilt in media. Now Campbell, Rudman, Drinnan gone and Weldon running Mediaworks.

Campbell has gone to a better place and… my god you’re not suggesting Drinnan is a leftie?!

@DavidCunliffeMP

He is at least an independent and critical voice re media – how thin the critical media voices now are!

To an extent that is a concern, but a signs of rapidly changing times. However there was an interesting response.

Well, you should stop bloody poaching them. Ihaka, Faafoi, Moroney ..

Sarah Stuart, Phil Twyford, Danya Levy and a little bit of David Cohen….. you have quite the Press Room.

He was making the point that political parties poach quite a few journalists.This not only reduces media experience but it pits poached experience against the reporters.

Going through those names – these three are MPs:

Kris Faafoi:

Kris lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua and was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mana in November 2010 following more than a decade working as a journalist at both TVNZ and the BBC – giving him a strong commitment to public service broadcasting. – Labour website.

Sue Moroney:

Has been an MP since 2005. Sue is a mum, a former journalist and a proud Hamiltonian and so she is a champion for early intervention and strong regional development plans. – Labour website.

Phil Twyford:

New voices: Sam Lotu-Iiga, Phil Twyford and David Garrett

MP for Te Atatu. Formerly a journalist at the now defunct Auckland Star and Sunday Star, and a union organiser, before starting his career at Oxfam as its NZ division’s founding CEO.

And ex-journalists in the Labour staff:

Jodi Ihaka:

Ihaka takes up Senior Communications Advisor role

Putting Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forefront of important New Zealand politics is Jodi Ihaka’s plan, as she was recently appointed the Labour Party’s new Senior Communications Advisor (Māori).

“I’m really excited to use my communication skills in such an important Māori advisory capacity.  I have loved my time at Whakaata Māori (Māori Television) and have nothing but respect for the Māori journalists on Te Kāea and Native Affairs,” says Ihaka.

The position sees Ihaka take on a key advisory role to Labour leader, Andrew Little as well as Māori MPs including Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri, Nanaia Mahuta and Adrian Rurawhe.

Sarah Stuart:

Former Woman’s Weekly editor is Labour’s new chief spin doctor

Labour leader Andrew Little has appointed a former editor of the Woman’s Weekly Sarah Stuart as his chief press secretary and head of media and communications.

Stuart, whose other former roles include deputy editor of the Herald On Sunday and the Sunday Star Times and head of APN’s regional and daily community newspapers, has also worked in Sydney as a journalist.

Danya Levy:

Former political journo turned Labour Party press secretary. @danyalevy  (ex Dominion Post)

David Cohen is a freelance journalist who has done some work for Labour and Andrew Little:

Little under fire for unpaid workerFreelance journalist David Cohen was called into work on Mr Little’s campaign for the Labour leadership in October. His role was to distil Mr Little’s ideas

He did the job, sent an invoice, but nothing. So Mr Cohen complained in print in the latest National Business Review.

And David Cunliffe should know a bit about the journalist drift into politics.

Cunliffe appoints Cunliffe as chief press secretary

Labour leader David Cunliffe has appointed journalist Simon Cunliffe as his chief press secretary and media director.

Simon Cunliffe has been a deputy editor of the Otago Daily Times and a deputy editor of The Press in Christchurch.

That’s just for Labour.

National MP Paul Goldsmith may not have been a journalist but was a press secretary for and speech writer for Phil Goff (Labour), Simon Upton (National) and John Banks (National).

Does anyone know of any other ex journos in Parliament as MPs or working for parties?

Andrew Little’s leader’s office appointments

The leadership roles in Andrew Little’s office have been confirmed.

  • Chief of Staff: Matt McCarten
  • Political Director: Neale Jones
  • Director of Media and Communications: Sarah Stuart
  • Director of Research and Policy: Martin Taylor

McCarten’s background is well known, both political and union. His appointment by David Cunliffe last year raised a few eyebrows as he had close associations with Mana. His re-appointment by Little also surprised some.

Neale Jones also has a union background, he is ex comminucations manager for EPMU, the union Little used to head before switching to Parliament. Martyn Bradbury on Jones in 2013:

Cunliffe’s new head of communications is likely to be Neil Jones, currently doing a similar job for the Engineering, Publishing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU). Jones has been out of the country for the last few years, working on a contract basis for a number of progressive, campaigning NGOs. Also in his early 30s, he is highly thought of by his peers in the trade unions who describe him variously as “really on to it” and “an impressive guy”.

(Neale) Jones was appointed by Cunliffe as head of communications. This is a different role for him.

Last year Josie Pagani named Jones as a Labour staffer who blogged at The Standard but that hasn’t been confirmed (or specifically denied as far as I’m aware). It would be surprising if Little allowed staff to blog anonymously directly but it would be normaly for the communications directory to communicate with bloggers as well as journalists.

David Farrar on Sarah Stuart in Labour’s new chief press secretary.

Sarah is a former Deputy Editor of the Herald on Sunday, during its start up phase when it went from no customers to winning many awards. Since then she went on to be managing editor of the APN regional and community papers and then two years editing NZ Woman’s Weekly. She has a formidable media background, as both a journalist and an editor.

I think this is a strong appointment for Labour. Her background in both hard and soft news will be useful as they try to get Little’s brand set as a positive one. She should also be able to manage relations well with the press gallery. I’ve not had any dealings with Sarah for many years, but all my experiences has been she is very pleasant and likeable (which helps in dealing with a diverse caucus).

Social media may be a challenge for her, but that is what you have staff for.

On Martin Taylor from Hamish Rutherford at Stuff.

From time to time political parties are accused of giving plum jobs to party faithful, but it appears Labour has not done so in its appointment of new research director, Martin Taylor.

True, Taylor (according to Beehive people) used to work in the office of former Attorney-General and Labour Minister Margaret Wilson, but since then, Taylor has been been chief executive of the Aged Care Association. A carer of the elderly he may be, but he is not an obvious supporter of the union movement.

Check out this release from Taylor in 2011:

“The Labour Party’s Aged Care policy released today by Steve Chadwick has ignored the findings of a 2010 national review into the Aged Care sector and instead proposes policies they rejected themselves when in Government. The policy also mirrors the Nurses’ union ‘Aged Care Charter’ released to Parliament today and which also ignores the critical issues facing the sector.”

Weeks later Taylor wrote that both Labour and National were in a “state of denial” over the issues facing the aged care sector.

Last year the Aged Care Association issued a series of statements warning about the implications of the Kristine Bartlett vs. Terranova Homes and Care Ltd case (a test case for aged care workers fighting for higher wages.

“For the aged care sector it is a big concern. The majority of the sector is standalone SMEs or not-for-profit providers, and they will not be able to survive if caregiver wages increase by 15 per cent without a supporting increase in government funding,” Taylor said.

Admittedly, Taylor said in another statement on the case that the organisation acknowledged that “caregiver wages are too low” as it pushed for the government to increase the amount it paid aged care providers.

That’s an interesting appointment in an office with strong union representation.

Farrar on the team:

Little has also confirmed former EPMU staffer Neale Jones as the party’s political director in Parliament and Martin Taylor as their research director. A good staff team don’t win you an election (the leader does that), but a non performing team can stop you winning. Little’s picks are looking quite sound.