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Year in Review: Carolyn Luey of NZME

Each year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. Brought to you by NZME in 2021, we’re shaking things up a bit by chatting to some of the biggest change makers of the year. Those individuals who’ve made brave moves, impactful work and ultimately disrupted the market – because what was 2021 without a little disruption!


Next up is Carolyn Luey, Chief Digital and Publishing Officer at NZME. New Zealand Media and Entertainment has had a big year in the digital space, with nzherald.co.nz in July celebrating a full year as the country’s number one digital news website with a unique audience of 1.865 million. Luey joined the Executive Leadership team back in August, and has been tasked with delivering strategies that connect even more New Zealanders with the media company’s diverse content akin to the much hyped 90% project.

2021 has been…

Certainly a rollercoaster, especially for those in Auckland. It did show the value of media and the important role that it plays both on a national level and in local communities to provide a credible source of information and news, in times where there is a lot of uncertainty and confusion.

A personal achievement I’m most proud of this year…  

With the borders shut I have gone and explored parts of New Zealand that I had always wanted to experience and never got the chance to; Ben Lomond in Queenstown, Tongariro Crossing, Hauraki Rail Trail and even parts of Auckland I had never visited – we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world so it has been great to get out and explore even more of it.

The past year has been a big one for news media – what sets NZME’s offering apart from others?

We have an incredibly engaged audience across the country, and we’re a truly integrated digital platform that acts as a hub for everything Kiwis need to know – whether it’s the latest news, expert opinions or premium, in-depth investigative stories. Our print publications have loyal readers while we continue to grow our digital audience.

How does this translate to more opportunities for brands to align with your news offerings?

Combining radio, digital and print we reach over 3.5 million Kiwis every week. The depth and breadth of our audience means brands can get in front of a mass audience, or tune in with a niche or local market – we offer multiple ways for clients to connect with Kiwis that is both authentic and meaningful.

What was your message to clients as they navigated the challenges of 2021?

We’re here for you. We worked closely with clients to make sure they were reaching the right audiences, at the right time, in the right way. There was a lot of last minute changes and alert levels changes and new information was released, but clients appreciated the support we could offer them through the uncertainty.

How have you navigated the challenges presented by the likes of Google and Facebook and the use of your journalism on their channels?

We use Google and Facebook to complement our own channels and platforms, our focus has been on delivering high quality distinctive journalism for Herald Premium while still delivering the best free breaking and local stories of interest – many of these are pushed on Facebook and Google to reach audiences that we may not otherwise reach.

How do publishers continue to successfully monetise their offerings into the future as new tech and digital trends continue to emerge?

They don’t have to be mutually exclusive; new tech can work alongside print publications to create entirely new offerings or engage with existing audiences in a new way, presenting new opportunities for publications and brands alike.

In 2021 we’ve seen more fake news, inconsistency in news reporting and instances of media being called out by the public – what has NZME done to invest more in quality journalism?

NZME has always prioritised a strong, talented team in the newsroom. Whether it’s initiatives like Our Green Future, a content hub pulling together our sustainability and environmental content from across our leading lifestyle brands, the 90% project to set the target on vaccination and help educate Kiwis on the importance of getting vaccinated or our focus on community journalism through our local mastheads, we constantly have New Zealanders as our focus.

What of radio in 2021?

Radio has always played an important role in Kiwis’ lives, and this has never been more true than the past two years. Our radio teams stepped up to the challenge of being the constant companion to New Zealanders through multiple lockdowns, not only bringing them news and updates, but laughs and comfort too.

In 2022 I’m looking forward to…

Finding new ways of working to embrace the best of what we have learnt over the last two Covid-19 impacted years and keep accelerating forward the digital experiences we deliver for our employees, audiences, customers and advertisers. Kiwis are embracing digital more than ever with working from home, contactless delivery and streaming so I’m excited to see what digital experiences will come next.

Quick fire 10

  1. Favourite local campaign: Mercury Kiss Oil Goodbye
  2. Least favourite campaign: Anything that leaves me confused rather than inspiring or educated
  3. Favourite radio spot: Ministry of Health – Two Shots for Summer
  4. News story of the year: Lisa Carrington’s Olympic Glory
  5. The most underreported news event/story of the year: Climate Change
  6. Change maker of 2021: Naomi Osaka
  7. Most impactful brand of 2021: Sharesies
  8. A learning from lockdown: Mode switching is now what we do
  9. 2021 trend I won’t miss in 2022: Lock downs
  10. Most awkward video meeting moment: Not wearing the same colour as everyone else on the call, did I miss the memo?

For more Year in Review 2021 brought to you by NZME, click here.

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