Hottest editor: Miriyana Alexander
Nominees: Naomi Larkin, Murray Kirkness, Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy
People’s choice: Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy
Having guided the NZ Herald through the launch of its premium offer, Miriyana Alexander has a well- rounded view of journalism as a practice and product. Now, she takes us back to the beginning of her career to see where her interest in putting pen to paper began.
Where did your career begin – how did you get here?
It began as a teenager at school, growing up in Twizel, where the local reporter on our free weekly community the High Country Herald let me le stories – for free of course. Thirty years later I’ve had more than a dozen jobs in journalism and the thrill and the privilege of telling New Zealand’s stories is still with me.
What does your role as premium content editor for NZ Herald entail?
In the first instance, I ran the premium project team to get us to launch – which included customer, technology, editorial, data and marketing. Now we’ve launched, I will spend less time running the project, and more time working with our stellar newsroom to deliver the premium first-class journalism that our audience deserves. Working on stories is my happy place.
What attracted you to becoming a journalist?
I’ve always been curious. My parents would tell you I was a nosey kid, always hanging around the grown-ups at parties, asking impertinent questions and wanting to know what was going on. And I loved writing stories, so combining the two seemed ideal. I also love that no two days are alike – you never know what the day will bring when you wake.
When you started as a journalist, could you foresee we’d be moving into a digital world?
I can’t recall that it was ever on my mind, no. Back then, I was more focused on finding my next front-page lead – and getting to the pub so I could talk shop with my colleagues.
What was your biggest learning from your time in Cambridge University last year?
That no matter how crazy-busy life gets, you must always make time for reading and thinking. And that a Pimms in the summer sun is one of life’s great pleasures.
What’s your proudest moment from your career – so far?
I’ve been so fortunate – journalism has been really kind to me. I’ve travelled the world, told some important stories, met some amazing people and had the incredible fortune of studying the craft at Oxford and Cambridge. But it would have to be our bold, brave launch of premium digital subscriptions. Anyone with half an eye on the industry knows the financial pressures journalism faces, so to do something so significant to help sustain it into the future is a great feeling.
Why is journalism so important to you?
You’ve heard the cliches – about holding power to account or shining a light in dark corners, and they are all true – but to me, it is giving a voice to those who don’t have one which is one of the most important things we do. We have the power to effect great change, and doing that for people who have been poorly treated, or wronged, is such an incredible thing. And we have a responsibility to tell New Zealand’s stories – when big news is breaking, like the Christchurch terror attack, people depend on us to nd out what is happening.