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Three pillar approach to funding for at risk public interest journalism

News: 8 April 2021

NZ On Air media release.

NZ On Air has agreed to create three funding streams to address at risk public interest journalism, following sector consultation.

In February the Minister of Broadcasting and Media, Hon Kris Faafoi announced Cabinet had agreed to a $55m allocation to provide targeted, short to medium-term support for public interest journalism. NZ On Air is to administer the funds.

NZ On Air engaged media consultant Hal Crawford to conduct targeted sector consultation to inform the funding framework design. The agency is now able to reveal the high-level characteristics of the fund with ongoing sector consultation likely to shape further details of the funding programme.

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland says the agency has agreed to a ‘three pillar’ approach, as recommended in the sector consultation. “This approach will ensure the funding is spread across a range of public interest journalism that meets audience needs at local, regional and national level, in a broad range of media, and reaching diverse New Zealand audiences,” he said.

The three pillars of the Public Interest Journalism funding programme will be:

  • Project funding – for tightly defined projects delivered to a deadline, similar to those funded via the NZ Media Fund Factual stream
  • Role funding – supporting newsrooms for the employment of reporters, clearly tied to content outcomes
  • Industry development funding – including cross-industry cadetships, and targeted upskilling initiatives

The Public Interest Journalism funding programme will be a ring-fenced stream within the NZ Media Fund, but with its own eligibility criteria, assessment criteria and application guidelines.

The first funding round will open at the end of April and will call for Projects and Industry Development applications. Role funding will follow once further sector consultation has been completed. NZ On Air has engaged Te Amokura Consultants to engage with the Māori media sector, with that input informing the ongoing design of the funding programme.

“This new funding is a significant widening of our remit. For this reason we are being careful to listen to a wide variety of sector needs, and we are bringing in specialist resources to assist with running and overseeing the funding stream,” Mr Harland continued. “That said, we have significant experience in the media funding space, and a firm position enshrined in our legislation and internal processes of no editorial interference.”

NZ On Air’s Public Interest Journalism Overview sets out decisions made to date on the design of the funding programme.

The Stakeholder Consultation Report: Public Interest Journalism Fund is a summary of the stakeholder interviews and recommendations produced by consultant Hal Crawford.

Guidelines for the first funding round, eligibility criteria and assessment criteria will be released on 30 April.

Updated on 8th April 2021