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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Radio New Zealand Charts Path Ahead

Following an increase in funding and the scrapping of a merger with TVNZ, Radio New Zealand says it has been “… busy planning for the future.”

The RNZ Board recently approved the organisation’s new Statement of Intent for the next four years, formalising its vision, purpose, attitudes and strategic objectives. An independent report into RNZ’s editorial procedures was also recently released, and work has already begun on the implementation of the report’s recommendations.

In its Statement of Intent, RNZ has outlined ten “challenges and opportunities” for its operating environment. They include:

  1. A revival of a Charter review side-lined during the now-abandoned merger process with TVNZ. According to RNZ, “If revived this presents an opportunity to reflect some of the good work done on the project and the original select committee process; to modernise and make the Charter more relevant.”
  2. Climate Change, which the organisations says “… stands out as the most significant factor in future planning due to its potential to affect all spheres of human activity. One of RNZ’s key roles is to be a lifeline utility – we provide trusted information which helps keep people safe. The increasing intensity of weather events has thrown this into stark relief. Traditional forms of delivery like AM have shone but it is expensive to maintain and requires long-term investment. Moreover, we have a key journalistic role to play in detailing climate change’s impact on society.” The broadcast says it aims to maintain ‘always on’ services with AM, FM, shortwave and rnz.co.nz available 99% of the time.
  3. Trust in Media – According to RNZ, “Public trust in media organisations and political institutions is declining around the world. It is crucial that RNZ prizes and demonstrably upholds editorial independence and freedom from partisan influences so we can deliver
    trusted, accurate, and independent news and current affairs.”
  4. Audience Shifts – The NZ public broadcaster says, “Live radio listening is weakening in line with international trends, especially with younger people. Audiences expect content to be delivered across multiple platforms. In addition, our population mix continues to  change.” To address this challenge, RNZ says it needs to “… strike the right investment balance” to maximise the benefit of both traditional and digital platforms.
  5. Changing Media Landscape – with digital disruption and multi-national platforms driving contraction and consolidation, and commercial media organisations finding it increasingly difficult to fund local content, RNZ says its “… independent, non-commercial and inherently local focus” means it can maintain partnerships to produce and share content, ensuring more “diverse and valued local content.”
  6. RNZ says it will look to embed Te Tiriti O Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) within the organisation through the development of a new Rautaki Māori (Māori strategy).
  7. Retaining, Supporting and Developing Kaimahi (staff).
  8. Funding – the taxpayer funded broadcaster says with the recent boost it can look to the future with more certainty, but will continue to focus on managing costs. RNZ says its aim is a positive Ebitda with cost efficiencies to result in 85% or more of expenditure incurred through production and distribution of content.
  9. Technological Developments – According to RNZ, “Over the coming decade, new technology will again disrupt media production, distribution, discovery and consumption. AI, for example, is already raising difficult questions, not only for traditional outlets, and it could create dramatic changes in the world of search and advertising. It makes it more important that RNZ invests in understanding audiences and providing trusted content. Misinformation and disinformation need strong foes.”
  10. Collaboration – In response to “forces at play in the wider market” RNZ says collobaration will become more important. “We have an opportunity to work closely, where it makes sense, with other media outlets, creators and funders to ensure our media system is strong and reflective of Aotearoa.”

RNZ’s Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief Paul Thompson says while there is a large programme of work to be delivered, RNZ is in a strong position for the future.

“The increased funding is already making a difference to our day-to-day operations as we have projects underway to improve areas of our organisation that had been under-resourced, such as technology,” he said. “We know that with more funding, comes increased expectations and our new vision and strategy documents mirror that. We’ll be working to better understand the diverse audiences of Aotearoa and how to serve them.”

In line with this aim, RNZ’s Asia Unit recently launched RNZ Chinese and IndoNZ – new sections of the RNZ website with news for and about the Chinese and Indian communities in New Zealand, written by journalists from those communities. The unit is funded in the first year by NZ On Air, and RNZ in the second year.

Visit https://www.rnz.co.nz/

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