Editors say they want the merger

The Herald reports:

Thirty-three of New Zealand’s most senior editors have urged the to rethink its plan to reject the NZME-Fairfax merger. They are at loggerheads with a group of 11 former editors who say the Commerce Commission got it right.

The current editors, all in senior roles at both companies, say the commission has misinterpreted the state of New Zealand journalism and believe a merger is the best option to sustain quality journalism.

They say that editorial independence would not be lost under a merger: It is “at the core of what we do”.

Hmmn they claim editorial independence would not be lost yet they all have signed a letter presumably written for them by management.

“We believe – no, we know – that the rapid dismantling of local newsrooms and journalism at scale in this country is inevitable if this merger does not proceed.”

They may be right about that. The status quo is not attractive.

Yesterday, a group of 11 former daily and Sunday newspaper editors said they backed the commission’s preliminary view that a merger should not go ahead.

“Though we acknowledge that such a merger is seen by some of us as a pragmatic response to the singular challenges that newspapers face, we all accept that the destruction of great mastheads and all that they have stood for at the heart of our communities since New Zealand settlement cannot possibly enhance content – it can only diminish it,” said the former editors, including Gavin Ellis, Tim Pankhurst, Suzanne Carty and Suzanne Chetwin.

You tend to think the former editors who are not free agents are saying what they really think, while the current editors have to toe the party line.

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