The New Zealand Press Association, our only national news agency, will close today after 131 years supplying news stories to media outlets throughout the country.
Writing in April about the proposed closure Karl du Fresne called it a seriously retrograde step:
NZPA has fulfilled an historically significant role – one that remains valid even in the digital era. When it was launched in 1880, NZPA had the effect of bringing New Zealand together. For the first time, via the telegraph, New Zealanders had ready access to news and information from beyond their own regions. Historians have credited this with creating a sense of national cohesion in place of the narrow, regional parochialism that previously prevailed. At its peak, 74 member newspapers subscribed to the NZPA service, which gave them access to news of importance supplied by other member papers from all over the country.
Competition between APN and Fairfax which own most of our newspapers will determine how much we lose or gain from NZPA’s demise.