Public broadcasting is facing major difficulties as it tries to fend off the competition posed by the explosion of social media and the rise of online news sources. No longer the only source for news, our public broadcasters and journalists now have to fight for space in a global media environment and market themselves to a changing audience. The media has evolved and we can see this in the move away from fact-based journalism to argument-based opinion pieces. An opinion piece can be a valuable piece of information when it contains the view of an expert on a topic of their expertise. However, sometimes these articles are just the personal views of someone who has appointed themselves ‘expert’. The move from journalism to more opinion pieces means that New Zealanders are potentially getting one point of view rather than balanced news. This calls into doubt the independence of the relevant media outlet. In light of the proposed TVNZ-RNZ merger, this newly merged entity would engulf the media landscape in New Zealand leading to less competition and potentially less independent thought.
The recent RNZ Concert fiasco shows that the public isn’t on board with the Government’s vision for the future and that New Zealand isn’t ready to let go of traditional broadcasting just yet. Once again, Labour showed that they are a Government that need an outcry to act. The future for public broadcasting and public interest journalism is at a tipping point as we face a potentially monopolistic media structure that relies on opinions rather than fact. The key to facing these challenges as we move forward is strong and smart leadership from the Government about the direction for state broadcasting in future. What we need is a return to true journalism where both sides of an issue are canvassed. The reader then can make an informed decision on the stance they wish to take on an issue.