In the same week, there was a much more significant event in NZ journalism, with the editor-in-chief of the NZ Herald Tim Murphy announcing he is stepping down. The question might well be asked why somebody in his prime (Murphy is just 51) is leaving what many in the trade believe is the top journalistic post in the country. While the John Campbell story got a front-page lead in the Weekend Herald with another full page devoted to it inside, the Murphy departure rated a single column on page three of the paper. Murphy, who took the helm at the Herald when he was 37, is the youngest person to edit the paper, the 18th editor in a publication 151 years old and for long enough with the largest circulation in the country.
I do think Tim Murphy leaving is a big blow to journalism, but hopefully he will pop up elsewhere in the media world.
Murphy is very very popular with the Herald staff, and under his reign the Herald has significantly boosted their investigative journalism capacity, and also expanded well into data journalism.
He’s also very approachable, and interacts well on Twitter, in a way few other major editors do.
He’s as impartial as any media figure I know. Couldn’t even guess how he votes. He took a principled stand to campaign against the Electoral Finance Act in 2007 and 2008, but has also not held back in holding this Government to account.
His departure is a loss, but also an opportunity for others to step up.