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Newshub closure: News outlet reports its own demise on 6pm bulletin

Editor Written by Editor · 4 min read >


Newshub has reported on its own demise during its 6pm bulletin tonight, airing heartfelt coverage and comments from some of its journalists, and shock at today’s “devastating” announcement.

Up to 300 jobs are expected to be lost at one of New Zealand’s biggest commercial media company’s newsrooms, which is set to close at the end of June.

Presenter Mike McRoberts introduced the story: “Going, going, not quite gone. The future’s looking bleak for Newshub.”

It then reported comments from Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive Glen Kyne, journalist Patrick Gower, and McRoberts’ description of news of the closure as a “bombshell”.

STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG

STORY CONTINUES

McRoberts said: “We’ve had cuts and survived cuts in the past, but to lose the whole news operation and entity so entwined in the fabric of our society here in Aotearoa, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

Senior Newshub journalist Michael Morrah covered news of the closure, saying the announcement this morning was “completely out of the blue and utterly devastating for myself and all of my colleagues”.

Senior Newshub journalist Michael Morrah reported on the proposed closure of his own organisation. Photo / Dean Purcell
Senior Newshub journalist Michael Morrah reported on the proposed closure of his own organisation. Photo / Dean Purcell

Morrah said: “Many of us have worked together for decades. Management said there would be an opportunity for feedback on the proposal, although most I’ve spoken to don’t believe that will change anything.”

Presenter Samantha Hayes said: “This is not the story we thought we would be covering today. We’re all feeling it.”

Morrah said the news was still “sinking in”.

“The most difficult part of all of this is that we’re all mates here at Three. We’re like a family. So to get this news today is just devastating.

“We’re all proud of the news service we provide and we’re passionate about news and journalism. And so today, with this announcement, it was pretty shocking. You had messages to myself and colleagues from family and friends, as well as our colleagues in other news media outlets like Stuff, the Herald, RNZ, so it is reverberating around the media landscape.

“This will change the entire landscape of journalism in the country.”

Former MediaWorks chief Mark Jennings said he was shocked by the closure and scale of the change.

“I thought there would be some trimming … but to shut the whole news operation – boy that’s big and it’s a big blow to the country.”

News First at 5.30 presenter Eric Young said the Newshub operation and its predecessors were “part of my DNA. I’ve been in this building since 1989.”

PM spoke with Newshub bosses before announcement

After the announcement, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said it was “shocking and saddening”.

Speaking to reporters in Wellington today, Luxon acknowledged it was a “pretty tough day” for the more than 250 families of those working at Newshub, including dozens of high-profile presenters and journalists such as 6pm news presenters Mike McRoberts and Samantha Hayes.

He said consumers were choosing to get their news through a variety of mediums and outlets and was confident a “plurality of voices” in New Zealand would continue.

Luxon said he had spoken to Newshub bosses before the announcement was made at an all-staff meeting at 11am.

He said he had wanted to understand why the decision was made and what that meant for the staff.

“What was quite obvious to me is that Warner Bros. Discovery is one of the largest global media companies in the world, $20 billion [market capital] I think, is what it’s worth, and as a result, they couldn’t make that business model work and so they’re having to face up to declining advertising revenues, also changing consumer habits, and that’s why they’ve come to the decision they have.”

Luxon said his discussion with Warner Bros. Discovery had led him to believe there was nothing the Government could have done to change its decision.

Winston Peters: Newshub closure ‘disaster for democracy’

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told journalists Newshub’s closure was a “disaster for this country’s democracy”.

Peters said he had personally considered whether Government changes were required for the media industry but he wouldn’t give his thoughts without the backing of his Government coalition partners.

David Seymour: NZ needs competitive fourth estate

Act leader and Minister of Regulation David Seymour said it was a sad day for the local media industry and democracy, which needed a competitive fourth estate.

He said he had asked for advice around whether it was a level playing field between TVNZ and other broadcasters. Seymour added it might require TVNZ having to pay a dividend as other companies were expected to do.

Melissa Lee: Digital news bill wouldn’t have made a ‘single bit of difference’

Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee also said she’d spoken with Warner Bros. Discovery NZ boss Glen Kyne last night, who had informed her of the announcement.

She said Kyne told her the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill – which proposed to compel social media companies such as Facebook to pay for the local news content it used on its platform – wouldn’t have made a “single bit of difference”.

“There was nothing that could’ve actually helped,” Lee said, adding the failure came due to a lack of advertising revenue.

Lee later clarified that Newshub hadn’t specifically asked for financial aid.

Newshub presenters Mike McRoberts and Ryan Bridge leave the Auckland newsroom today. Photo / Dean Purcell
Newshub presenters Mike McRoberts and Ryan Bridge leave the Auckland newsroom today. Photo / Dean Purcell

Chris Hipkins: ‘A sad day for news media’

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said today’s announcement was a “dramatic change” and “a sad day for news media and a sad day for democracy in New Zealand”.

“Democracy in New Zealand does rely on informed debate and having a diversity of media sources is actually really important to that,” Hipkins added.

“Newshub is a very large player in the New Zealand media sector and in the New Zealand journalism space. This is bad news for the overall heart and health of our democracy.”

Hipkins said it is “problematic” that New Zealand will now only have one TV news producer, the state-owned but commercially funded TVNZ.

“I think it is problematic that we will effectively now only have one television broadcast news producer, and you know that is that is a real tragedy.”

Willie Jackson: It’s a shock for everyone

Former Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson said pressures on media companies required innovative ways of supporting the industry where needed.

“They certainly made their impact and stamped their mark in terms of media and news in this country. It’s a shock for everyone,” Jackson said.

Newshub’s owners had earlier briefed him of its situation but had not asked for funding.

“I didn’t expect them to be announcing things were closing a few months later.”

Sam Hurley is the Herald’s news director and joined in 2017 after previously working for 1News and Hawke’s Bay Today.

Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.

Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.



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