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
South Dunedin’s flood fiasco – June 2016
Lecretia Seales, 1973-2015 – June 2015
A new type of New Year Honours list – Jan 2020
How a remarkable native insect is being saved – April 2019