News Director Exits RNZ Amid Angst

RNZ news boss Brent Edwards is leaving amidst tension in the Wellington newsroom.  Edwards is the news director and head of newsgathering at RNZ. He was formerly political editor, working from parliament. And he has also been a key player in E tu journalist union.

Barry ended funding freeze

His resignation was announced yesterday and it will be effective after the election. The move has shocked new staff and comes at the same time as a contentious restructuring with key news roles moved from Wellington to Auckland. RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said Edwards’ resignation was a big loss. He did not know whether his news director role would stay in Wellington, or whether it will be moved to Auckland. RNZ has restructured the role of another senior executive Gael Woods.

RNZ CEO Paul Thompson

Her future is unclear. I am told Auckland chief executive Eileen Cameron is also stepping down soon. though this is not directly related to the restructuring. RNZ claims that a move to Auckland is necessary due to the high risk of an earthquake in Wellington. This view makes some sense. But staff said the implementation has been clumsy and harsh and appears to have “come from nowhere.”  Thompson had told staff that around 50 positions will move north over several years.

Richard Griffin: Journo turned RNZ chairman

Edwards did not return a call. But sources say that he – long with the director of news programmes – Mary Wilson –  questioned news restructuring plans. In the Budget the government rannounced an end to athe punishing funding freeze at RNZ. Negotiations were with Minister for Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry, a former presenter on RNZ Morning Report. The RNZ negotiator was Richard Griffin, a former RNZ political editor.


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4 thoughts on “News Director Exits RNZ Amid Angst”

  1. National Radio best stay in the National capital of New Zealand, Wellington. Earthquakes can strike anywhere in NZ. Not a plausible reason for change of location.

    Resist restructuring.

    Auckland has its own vibe. Auckland radio stations have niche markets. Please do not make New Zealand citizens listen to self absorbed Auckland based wannabe celebrities.

    I love RNZ. Stay where you are!

  2. How does Maggie Barry have a finger in so many pies?! The excuse for restructuring and moving operations to Wellington because of a possible earthquake in Wellington would appear to be skating on thin ice.

  3. Auckland not the only alternative in NZ – what about regional development, if RNZ news has to move at all?! Auckland is a mess why force people to move here.

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