By Sarah-Jane O'Connor 02/04/2020 1


Today has felt surreal.

I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately.

The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But when I realised it was everything – The Listener, North & South, Metro – I wanted to vomit. Or cry. Maybe both.

It’s not like it was entirely unexpected. The night before last I relistened to Duncan Greive’s latest podcast on possible impacts on media during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. When I first listened last week I couldn’t quite comprehend the scale Duncan was pointing to. Then Radio Sport shut down. Media outlets have been cancelling their paid columnists. There is talk of redundancies. I went back to relisten because I realised the breadth of the impact Duncan was talking about.

I spent half of today feeling sick and anxious. My heart was racing, my hands shaking, I was on the verge of tears that I tried to stave off for hours. And I’m not directly affected, I can’t begin to imagine how it feels for the many excellent journalists who abruptly found out they were redundant at the time their country most needs them.

Where will our long analyses be from the likes of Donna Chisholm and Jo Wane? What about psychologist Marc Wilson’s regular Listener column, or the delightful Nerd Nation columns from North & South’s Jenny Nicholls? Where will Mike White write his award-winning investigative features digging into New Zealand’s justice system?

My conversations with non-media colleagues today has reminded me that not everyone has a good insight into how the media works or why these changes are happening. So I’m going to return to that later, maybe tomorrow if my hands stop shaking long enough to think clearly.

In the meantime, here are some useful links on what’s happening with the media, plus some of the excellent science-related coverage from Bauer Media’s stable – please comment with any other links to your favourite coverage from these outlets.

Why did Bauer blow up the business so soon? – Colin Peacock, RNZ Mediawatch

Bauer Media closures: So many livelihoods, so much devastation – Joanne Black, Listener deputy editor

Covid-19 is smashing NZ’s media just when we need it most – Duncan Greive, The Spinoff

A few highlights from Listener and North & South staff

Joanna Wane

How genetic tests are tearing families apart – and bringing others together – Nov 2019

Safe as houses? The biggest risk to your greatest asset – Jan 2019

‘P’ is for Panic: Meth contamination testing blown out of proportion – April 2018

Fight for life: Beating Huntington’s at its own game – May 2017

Donna Chisholm

‘That was the way it was’: Inside New Zealand’s shocking medical history – Aug 2019

Memory check: NZ’s first big study of memory loss reveals good news – Jan 2019

How the use of DNA in criminal investigations could violate your human rights – July 2018

Memory check-up: The clinics helping pre-dementia sufferers – Nov 2017

Rebecca Macfie

NZ needs to plant more trees to combat climate change – but what kind and where? – May 2018

The legacy of NZ’s departing environmental watchdog Jan Wright – Oct 2017

What’s in our water? The new threats to New Zealand’s drinking water – Sept 2016

South Dunedin’s flood fiasco – June 2016

Lecretia Seales, 1973-2015 – June 2015

Mike White

Kea face every threat imaginable – can they make a comeback? – Feb 2016

Too many tourists: Should we limit visitor numbers to NZ? – Aug 2019

Saving Manapōuri: The campaign that changed a nation – Jan 2019

On yer bike: How the Island Bay cycleway split a community – Sept 2017

Great white fight: The battle over shark cage-diving – Dec 2016

Jenny Nicholls

A new type of New Year Honours list – Jan 2020

How a remarkable native insect is being saved – April 2019

‘The gender thing’: Barriers to health for trans New Zealanders – Oct 2018

Is science in New Zealand too white and too male? – May 2018

Where have all the postdocs gone? The blockage in our science ‘talent pipe’ – Oct 2017


One Response to “Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting”

  • Thank you Sarah-Jane. Like you my family and I are worried by the vacuum in fine investigative journalism this move has created and will be ready to subscribe to N& S as we have for years. I hope the supposed sale of the Listener goes okay and that N&S will be resurrected too. Surely something can rise from the ashes; if the good folk at NZ Geographic want to pick up N&S I will back it long term.