Local journalism ‘lifeblood’ of community

Local journalism is key and the role of newspapers, such as The Ensign, is more important than ever.

That is the call from newly appointed Allied Press editor-in-chief Paul McIntyre. 

The Ensign is part of the stable of newspapers including the Otago Daily Times that is owned by Allied Press.

Mr McIntyre visited The Ensign office last week.

A paper such as The Ensign was the ‘‘lifeblood’’ of the community, he said.

‘‘We editors are merely caretakers.

‘‘It is your paper.

“I get a sense from the owners and managers they value journalism in the region.’’

He believed there was a place and thirst for quality journalism in New Zealand.

‘‘I fear it is being eroded in the relentless chase for audience numbers.

‘‘People think they know the story from social media properly, but they don’t.

‘‘The only way to navigate that is strong local journalism and holding organisations to account.’’

He was stepping back into the newsroom after a six-year hiatus from the industry.

‘‘It’s in the blood — both of my parents were journalists and working in terms of deadlines suits who I am.

‘‘I have a passion for news.’’

There were still boxes that needed unpacking as he settled into life in Dunedin.

Some of his friends questioned his move to a cooler climate.

‘‘The [farthest] south I have ever lived was in Oamaru where I moved to from England after following my girlfriend,’’ he said.

The move to New Zealand paid off and he married Michelle and had two children.

What also followed was a career across New Zealand media, including editor of the The Nelson Mail and Radio NZ Wellington bureau chief.

Allied Press has editorial staff at nine locations throughout the South Island.