The debate over co-governance draws attention to the role of the $55m media fund in shutting down dissenting views. GRAHAM ADAMS writes…
The last cohort of winners from the contentious $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund will be announced on 17 April. However, it appears the programme’s death will be a drawn-out affair. NZ on Air has told The Common Room that the fund will have
“… a ‘long tail’… with a number of projects that won’t be delivered for some time after the fund itself closes, and roles that will run on for some time”.
Set up by the government to aid “at-risk” journalism, the fund started dispensing cash in 2021.
It has three principal aims: supporting approved journalism projects; directly paying for staff in newsrooms around the country; and funding “industry development” projects such as cadetships (with an emphasis on hiring Māori and “diverse” recruits).
Former MediaWorks news director Hal Crawford, who helped design the PIJF, was aware that the three-year project he was ushering into existence had its risks. He warned in a newsletter:
“There will inevitably be criticism of PIJ funding schemes from those who miss out on the money, or from critics who see them as props for failing businesses. The NZ government and its agencies will have to brace for that.”
Continue reading “Graham Adams: Has government money corrupted journalism?”