In a staff email sent out this afternoon MediaWorks confirmed that veteran Mark Jennings is moving on from the organisation after 25 years leading 3News.
“Mark [Jennings] has made a major, and lasting, contribution to MediaWorks, New Zealand journalism, and wider New Zealand society. His legacy in journalism will continue to reverberate through the Newshub in its future,” said MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon in the email.
Weldon confirmed Jennings, whose role was group head of news, would be replaced by Hal Crawford who would take up the role of chief news officer. Crawford is currently editor in chief and publisher of NineMSN in Australia.
Crawford would be starting in the coming months, Weldon said.
In the interim period Richard Sutherland would be acting chief news officer and participate as a group executive over the period. When Crawford took over Sutherland would be appointed to head of flagship brands and head of content.
“With respect to our flagship brands, Story, Paul Henry, and Newshub Live at 6pm, Mark [Jennings] will work closely with Richard [Sutherland] and the EPs in the near term to ensure the continual development of our product and audience offerings.”
The email didn’t confirm what Jennings' next move would be, and said the departure was amicable.
“I believe that the timing of his departure, coming as it does after the successful launch of Newshub, and at the beginning of a new, digital-led phase, has been managed by Mark to be timing that works best for the company and for Mark personally. He is leaving on an up, and with significant momentum in our news organisation,” said Weldon.
Several New Zealand journalists and media personalities took to Twitter to send well wishes and express their sadness over Jennings' departure.
A great head of news, a leading editor since forever and a top bloke. Go well Mark.— Tim Murphy (@tmurphyNZ) February 24, 2016
Jennings departs MediaWorks https://t.co/3FS2KsJVwa
i am personally really sad to see mark jennings leave tv3. just wanted to publicly say over my 10 or so years at mediaworks he was the man.— David Farrier (@davidfarrier) February 24, 2016
Sorry to hear Mark Jennings is leaving MediaWorks. To me he always stood as a beacon of competence and good judgement.— Vernon Small (@VernonSmall) February 24, 2016
Mark Jennings resigns from TV3...a brilliant news brain, the finest of managers and one of my all-time favourite people. Go well, Mark.— Rachel Smalley (@Rachel_Smalley) February 24, 2016
When Mark Jennings was my competition always had deepest respect for his judgment and drive. Sad to see another real news guy leave— lindaclark1 (@lindaclark1) February 24, 2016
Mark Jennings, best and most influential news manager of his generation, has left MediaWorks. That feels like more than the end of an era.— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) February 24, 2016
When I joined @TV3nz in 1989, Mark Jennings was already someone to aspire to. Feels like a punch in the guts. And I don’t even work for him.— Eric Young (@RealEricYoung) February 24, 2016