Southern Cross: Fate of community, local language papers in the balance

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Southern Cross
PMC's weekly Southern Cross radio programme on 95bFM ... with Sri Krishnamurthi, James Tapp, Oscar Perress (not in photo) and the Pacific Media Watch team. Image: David Robie/PMC

Pacific Media Watch

During New Zealand’s national Covid-19 lockdown, educational institutions have been changing the way they function or have shut down during this period.

Auckland University (UOA) has moved its courses online as has neighbouring Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Many people are also working from home.

There has been a fair amount of discussion at the moment as to what constitutes  “essential workers”, particularly in the media.

LISTEN: Monday’s Southern Cross programme on 95bFM

95bFM radio station at UOA is still continuing, along with its Pacific Media Centre’s weekly Southern Cross programme as an essential service.

However, how is this affecting community newspapers? And other printed publications, specifically non-daily prints? Magazines?

“All community newspapers have been shut by decree of the government, but there have calls to reopen them because they serve an important function to keep the elderly informed,” said PMC’s Pacific Media Watch contributing editor Sri Krishnamurthi on the programme on Monday.

“As well as other print publications and magazines keep people informed and give people something to read and do in these times of lockdown.

“They play a vital role in keeping the community informed because in these times they might not be able to get The New Zealand Herald or the Dominion Post

“They can go online if they don’t print or use Facebook.”

Ironically, only a day later Prime Minister Jacinda Adern recanted and deemed them essential services for rural areas and far away communities, and also for communities where English is a second language.

However, that decision might have come too late for the Kaitaia-based three-day-a-week publication, The Northland Age which also announced yesterday it was to stop publication after publishing for 116 years.

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