One Plus One Equals Three: Edition Twenty Seven

Dear readers,

Today’s edition explores the decreased trust in New Zealand’s traditional media; our dire media landscape and what this means for New Zealand’s democracy; its implications on journalism and PR; and lastly, a tribute to the late Fa’anānā Efeso Collins.

But first, we’re extremely grateful to be PRINZ Awards finalists for the Large Agency of the Year and Young Practitioner of the Year categories (two years running 😎), and a finalist in the Financial Communications & Investor Relations category – so keep an eye out for the results later this month

We’re incredibly proud of the work we produce and the relationships we’ve formed with our clients, colleagues, and partners. Thank you to PRINZ for the acknowledgement and to our clients – both past and present – for trusting us to walk alongside you as your trusted comms and PR agency.


Image: JMAD

Declining public trust in the Fourth Estate

By now, everyone has caught wind of the significant upheaval of our media landscape. From Warner Bros. Discovery shutting down all Newshub operations (with a swift rescue from Stuff) to TVNZ axing long-standing programs like Sunday and Fair Go, it poses the question: Where does this leave our fourth estate?

The significant changes and losses to our broadcast news, signal a grave concern for media and democracy. AUT senior journalism lecturer Dr Greg Treadwell argues that fewer voices and less diversity in the news spells division for New Zealand society, particularly as our media market is already concentrated. Treadwell insists the media crisis is more than just an industry problem, but a societal issue that needs addressing – and fast.

AUT’s recent Journalism, Media, and Democracy Centre (JMAD) survey has revealed another fall in New Zealander’s trust in the news. In 2020, 53% of New Zealanders said they felt a general trust in the news. In 2024, that number dropped to 33%. Co-authors Treadwell and Dr Merja Myllylahti argue there is no one specific reason for the 20% decline. However, there are certainly contributing factors: a perceived political bias, social media, negativity, and its impact on mental health.

For those of us within the media ecosystem, declining public trust in traditional news media does implicate how we do PR. Journalism is pivotal in adding credibility to our campaigns and projects, and we’ve observed this through our work with the New Zealand Food Network and its bi-annual Food Security Snapshot Survey. Good, robust, and balanced journalism elevates our clients’ work and positions them as reliable sources within their respective industries.

In this context, it’s important for everyone in the media ecosystem to work together to rebuild the trust that has waned. The research conducted by JMAD, the pressure being placed on the Government to act and conversations like those chaired by our Managing Director Kelly Bennett for PRINZ, all play a role in looking for solutions at a tough time for our fourth estate.




Same style, different font

While Stuff’s takeover of Three’s 6pm news bulletin is a positive move for all concerned, it does make you wonder how it will come to fruition. While Stuff and TV3’s bosses dubbed the new deal a win for democracy, Newsroom’s Mark Jennings (former Bureau Chief at Newshub for two decades) called it “another step in the rationalisation of New Zealand’s media.”

While we’re optimistic for our associates and friends, Jennings raised a valid point about how Stuff and Three will maintain their balanced reporting when it will be the same questions asked by reporters for the respective outlets. It also begs the question: Is this a win for democracy, or will we be getting the same stories but presented differently? That is, one is online and the other is broadcast.

As a publication that is predominantly accessed via its online platform and with some staff available to produce its Stuff Short Stories, the company has a mammoth job ahead to produce a live, slick broadcast segment, alongside organising the details of the new bulletin, staffing, resourcing, and a name.


Pictured above: ‘One Good Text’ exchange between Damien and NZ Herald’s Shayne Currie for his regular Media Insider column.


Is this the end of journalism?

The short answer is no, it isn’t. In the words of our senior account director Damien Venuto: “You need only look at the work of Madison Reidy, Guyon Espiner, and Seamus and Steve from Between 2 Beers to be reminded that long-form journalism still has an audience and an impact – that will never change.”

Journalism isn’t dead, but it is changing, and we’re feeling the ripple effects within our own industry.

What does this mean for the PR industry?

Although it feels selfish to say, “What about me?”, it’s still important to consider its implications in our industry.

Earned media relations are our bread and butter; we learn the client’s story, develop that into a media release with a newsworthy hook, and we (hopefully) land something through tailored pitching to journalists and producers. Long story short, we try to channel Bob Hoffman’s infamous three-word brief: Make Us Famous.

But what happens when there are dwindling newsrooms, even fewer journalists, and a consistent decline in public trust in the news? It’s an open-ended question we don’t have the answer to yet. But it does mean having to be creative with grabbing people’s eyeballs, whether through traditional news media, social media, or an activation.

On a positive note, media experts and veterans are pushing to find a solution – or in Treadwell’s words: “A way to restore the balance in the news environment.” This lends itself to both the newsroom and PR. Our Managing Director Kelly Bennett recently moderated an insightful panel discussion about the future of our fourth estate, the challenges facing journalistic practices, and the best ways forward.



Sons of Samoa – Fa’anānā Efeso Collins

Last, but certainly not least, we leave the final words of this instalment to Grace Ulu, Senior Account Executive at One Plus One, who writes…

“Fa’anānā Efeso Collins left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of Pasifika communities and beyond. From his humble beginnings in Ōtara to his impactful career as a politician, Collins was a man of integrity with a steadfast commitment to fairness and equality. He fearlessly advocated for marginalised groups and used his platform to “give voice to the voiceless”, even going so far as to hold his own community leaders to account.

Collins’ legacy is one of courage, integrity, fairness, and equality. He was someone who challenged the status quo, confronted systemic injustices, and fought tirelessly for a more inclusive society where everyone, regardless of background, could thrive. While it’s been three months since his passing, we see Collins’ legacy live on through the likes of the Pacific Climate Warriors, Doron Semu, and FAFSWAG.

Ia manuia lau malaga, Fa’anānā Efeso Collins. You were the true embodiment of the Samoan proverb, ‘o le ala i le pule o le tautua’, where the pathway to leadership is through service.”