Fairfax Media New Zealand’s group executive editor Sinead Boucher contacted Press Gazette this week to say she was keen to find talented British journalists willing to relocate down under. We asked her to explain more about why she thinks the prospects are so good for journalists in her part of the world
Barely a week goes by without the mention of job cuts in the media industry, and I am sure you'll agree, the UK is no exception. Downsizing, streamlining, tightening of belts, whatever the phrase, I’ve read a lot of gloomy headlines on the topic in the last few years.
In New Zealand, Fairfax Media is in a fortunate position, having come through the tough times and reshaped our business, we are now moving into a growth phase. As a result, we’re on a recruitment drive for talent across the board. From editorial to tech, video to sales and beyond, a cohort of our senior executives is coming to discover the talent the UK has to offer.
With innovation at the forefront of our business goals, Fairfax has taken some bold and prescient steps over years. These were, and still are, perhaps at odds with the approaches of some other media organisations, yet they’ve placed us in a strong position.
An example of doing things differently was our purchase of Trade Me. When the rivers of classified gold began to walk out the door to online starts-ups, we saw an opportunity to buy Trade Me, the leading online marketplace in New Zealand. This was sold last year for a very significant return on investment. Likewise, our digital ventures arm has built lucrative and solid digital businesses in real estate, online dating and motoring across Australia and we have a lot of exciting new revenue streams in the works.
In New Zealand, that includes Stuff.co.nz, the country’s number online news destination both regionally and nationally, which has been much awarded for its journalism and digital innovation. In addition we own two national newspapers, three metropolitan newspapers, nine regional dailies and dozens of community titles. This is complemented by our magazine business with titles that range from Cuisine and NZ House and Garden, through to much more niche titles for trucking and boating enthusiasts. We are totally dominant in the New Zealand market, in every region, community and in every vertical.
In Australia, our portfolio is even larger and includes the likes of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne, as well as hundreds of other titles.
If I had to differentiate our approach to others, I would say it is a very deliberate focus on audience and community. Digitally, we are a market leader with a unique membership approach via Stuff Nation, a large and flourishing community that shapes and contributes to our news content as well as consumes it.
Needless to say, the lifestyle New Zealand offers is second to none. From white sandy beaches in the north, to rolling countryside and mountainous ranges in the south, the opportunities to explore our and discover our magnificent landscape and relaxed Kiwi culture are endless.
It may seem bizarre that we are hiring at a time of so much change and cost-cutting in the media industry. The truth is that we have been through an intensive period of transformation, and some painful cost-cutting of our own, over the last few years. Much of the transformation has been aimed at moving firmly from a newspaper company to a news company, and now from a news company to a multimedia company with a firm focus on our audience. This means bringing a lot of new skills and roles into our business, across editorial, sales, information technology, new product development – you name it.
The New Zealand economy is strong, and growing. This puts us in an enviable position.
Personally, I am looking for senior editors with digital nous and loads of ideas, young journalists who want to make a mark, developers, statisticians or data geeks who want to work in the most innovative newsrooms in the New Zealand.
Stuff is the biggest producer of digital news video in New Zealand and we’re also after experts in this medium. In addition we’ve launched a great data and interactive team to build new editorial products that advance our journalism.
As a wider business, we have a lot of exciting technology and product plans this year, so java developers, social media experts and sales gurus are all in the mix.