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Thursday, 31 May 2018 09:55

Mainstream press muddies flow of farming info

Written by 
Elaine Fisher. Elaine Fisher.

The decision by Stuff to close its farming publications is bad news for New Zealand’s primary industries and the public, says Elaine Fisher, president of the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators.

“The closure of NZ Farmer and its four associated titles affects the jobs of 12 of NZ’s most experienced agricultural journalists,” says Fisher.

“It is concerning to read that Stuff considers its website news platforms to be more important than print media for the rural sector. Rural connectivity is so bad in some places people can’t even call 111, let alone read an online newspaper.

“I know farming publications are retained in households for days if not weeks and are read and discussed by several family and staff members.

“Farmers and growers need to be well-informed and they need journalists who know their industries to ask the hard questions of government and industry on their behalf, especially now with the issue of the disease Mycoplasma bovis in dairy cows and the threat of an invasion of the brown marmorated stink bugs hovering over horticulturalists.

“Farmers and growers also need journalists who can tell the good news stories of what’s happening on the land, presenting a more balanced picture of our primary industries to the urban public.”

However, locally owned Rural News Group says its newspapers will continue to serve the primary sector.

The company is not part of the closures and sell-offs announced this week by Fairfax and NZX.

Rural News Group publishes the leading national publications Rural News, Dairy News and NZ Winegrower and it posts daily news updates on “We are a strongly independent and New Zealand owned and are here to stay,” says Rural News Group general manager Adam Fricker.


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