Big holes in fourth estate


Bauer Media has announced it’s closing:

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of Bauer Media, bringing an end to decades of media.

Bauer Media publishes multiple popular Kiwi magazines including NZ Listener, Woman’s Day, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, North and South and Next. . .

I subscribed to North and South when it first launched and was proud that it accepted some of my freelance contributions.

I’ve subscribed to the Listener for several years and bought it every week before that.

Both have always had high standards of journalism and will leave a big hole in the fourth estate.

They, like much of the mainstream media will have been struggling and the dearth of advertising in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown will have been the last straw.

How many will follow, including perhaps daily papers?

MediaWorks has asked all staff to take pay cuts as it fights for its survival.

Most of us get most of our news and views online now, some of which is of a high standard, some of which is anything but.

The higher the standard the greater the cost of producing it, and too few are willing to pay for quality even though we need a strong fourth estate more than ever now governments all over the world have imposed draconian restrictions on us.

Next Woman of Year nominations open


Next Magazine is advertising for nominations for its third annual Woman of the Year awards.

Prizes will be awarded in six categories:

Arts and Culture: This award celebrates a woman who challenges boundaries and is a creative inspiration to others. She will have distinctive flair and originality. Working in arts or culture, her unique vision will have driven her to achieve a project that has touched the hearts and minds of New Zealanders.

Business and Innovation: This award acknowledges a great commercial and creative thinker. This woman has an entrepreneurial spirit and the confidence to challenge boundaries and conventional ideas balanced by a sense of professional responsibility. Via strategic thinking and leadership, she will have grown a business or developed a product or idea to achieve economic success. She will have created opportunity by both thinking outside the square and playing to her own strengths.

Community: Our society is founded on community-minded individuals who give of themselves to make a difference. This award celebrates one such woman who has contributed to a caring project in an outstanding way by championing a cause and addressing a social need. She will be a woman who has selflessly used her energy to empower others to reach their full potential.

Education: This award celebrates a woman who has made significant contributions to the learning and betterment of others. She will be a creative innovator who is ground breaking in her approach and committed to following her vision of helping people achieve and exceed their full potential.

Health and Science: This is an award for a great innovator in the area of health or science. She will be making ground breaking steps in an arena she is passionate about. She will have used her intellect and vision to discover or implement a new development that benefits the human race.

And Sport: This award pays tribute to a successful coach, sportswoman or administrator who has reached a notable physical goal or milestone. She will have been an inspiration for others along the way, showing mental conviction, physical strength and determination to excel in her chosen field. She will have displayed consistent sportsmanship and have a competitive spirit.

Women who excel in any of these areas are indeed worthy of recognition and they will be inspirational role models.

Last year’s winners were:

Arts and Culture: Jill Marshall, author and publisher
Business: Mai Chen, lawyer
Health and Science: Sue Johnson, Christchurch coroner
Sport: Jayne Parsons, Paralympian
Community: Lesley Elliott, founder of the Sophie Elliott Foundation who was also winner of overall Woman of the Year title.

Thanks Next


Many years ago my mother in-law gave me some money for my birthday. Shortly afterwards a new magazine, More, was launched and I used the birthday money to buy a subscription.

I kept renewing it and then when Next was launched by the founding editor of More, Lindsey Dawson, I subscribed to that too.

Each subscriber went into a draw for $5,000 worth of goods from Smiths City and I won.

The first few hundred dollars went on a dog tucker freezer – guess who decided that?. The rest bought a stereo (this was 20 years ago when we still had tapes and LPs and CDs were pretty new) and carepetted the house.

The win bought my loyalty, I’ve kept on subscribing and yesterday I got another reward – a bottle of perfume turned up in the mail with a note from the editor telling me I’d won a subscriber gift.

Thanks Next for the perfume and for providing the excuse to sit down and dip into a magazine every month.

How far have we come?



The chairman of a large Kiwi agricultural company is asked why there aren’t any women on his corportate board.

“There’s no place for sheilas in this conservative, provincial boardroom, apart from making the tea,” is his gobsmacking response.

That’s the introduction to a piece on women in business in the April issue of Next.

It wouldn’t have surprised me if the comment had been made early to mid last century but the magazine dates it as 2002.

Given we had our second female Prime Minsiter by then and other women in prominent public roles, I’d have hoped that outdated attitude to a woman’s place might have been consigned to history more than seven years ago.

Stats show that women are still under represented in the upper echelons of business but I’m not so concerned by the numbers as the attitude.

Whether women are sitting at board tables isn’t as important to me as whether they could be – both by having the skills and abilities required, and because gender isn’t an issue in elections and appointments.

But the two are related and the low numbers do suggest that regardless of qualifications and experience, having a y chromosome makes some candidates for directorships and management more equal than others.

However, the news isn’t all bad. A friend employs a lot of people and more than 80 percent are women. That’s partly a reflection on the nature of his business, but he said it’s also because they’ve found women in senior roles perform at least as well as if not better than men.

His explanation for that was that, having had to work harder and smarter to prove themselves, women continued to work that way.

But if that’s the case, does that mean it it’s still harder for women to get to and stay at the top? If it does, then the attitude to women hasn’t moved nearly far enough from the one illustrated by the opening quote.

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