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April 11, 2011 | by  | in News |
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On Wednesday last week, national news agency New Zealand Press Association announced that they would be shutting down operations after 132 years.

NZPA Chairman Michael Muir attributed the decision to the withdrawal of Fairfax, a major shareholder, from the organisation.

He said the association’s 40 journalists and staff members had been advised, and would be consulted before any final decisions were made.

“Whatever the outcome there will be new opportunities and in some cases more competition.”

Fairfax Media, whose operations include publications such as The Dominion Post, justified their decision by saying “we’d been looking at the value of the service to us for a long time.

“As we have invested more in our own resources and our bureaus in particular… the amount of duplication between our Fairfax content driven by our journalists and what NZPA provides has grown.”

NZPA has shown considerable support to student media in the past, and has given many budding journalists their first opportunity in the field.

Former NZPA employee and Salient 2007 News Editor Laura McQuillan was disappointed to hear about the closure.

“Like a lot of other journalists, I think this is extremely sad. I worked there for about five years in various roles, learnt a lot and got a great understanding of what NZPA contributes to the news in New Zealand.

“They have a great team and do a fantastic job, and it’s very sad.”

Many have expressed concern at the duopoly of Fairfax and APN News & Media in New Zealand’s news industry.

“In future, the news that people see will be from a few large organisations, all of which have some reliance on paid advertising,” journalist Kent Atkinson told The Dominion Post.

Muir said NZPA would continue operating as usual until the official closure, which is rumoured to be in December.

Salient is planning to publish a full-length feature on the closure and its impact later in Trimester One.

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