Members of the ActionStation community have been coming together to call for improved public broadcasting and media since 2015 when we tried to save Campbell Live.

Following the campaign, ActionStation surveyed the people who had signed a 75,000 strong petition to ask: Should we continue working together to champion public interest journalism?

Of the 10,653 people who responded, almost 99% (10,527) were in favour of continuing to campaign on public interest journalism.

Here are some of the other topline results of that survey:

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Demographics of respondents

We also asked respondents to give some demographic information.

Gender:

  • 64% Female | 36% Male

Age:

Respondents represented all age brackets but skewed older. 18-24 year olds made up 4 per cent of respondents while 71+ were 12 per cent of respondents

Geographic location:

The majority of respondents (58 per cent) were from the main urban centres

  • 31% Auckland

  • 19% Wellington

  • 8% Christchurch

  • The remaining 42% of respondents were spread across New Zealand’s provinces, with the largest groups coming from Waikato, Canterbury, Northland and Bay of Plenty.

Full results of that survey are available online.

In this survey, we also asked about approaches we could take to a campaign to improve public broadcasting in New Zealand. ActionStation members chose to crowdfund a people-powered inquiry. The result is what you read here today.

Methodology

How we selected the panel

The panelists’ primary job was to listen to hundreds of people’s opinions, merge those with their own research and create a comprehensive report with recommendations for government.

Many factors were taken into account when choosing the six-person panel. They needed expertise in many areas:

  • industry experience

  • governance

  • broadcasting and media

  • social media

  • political influence

  • economics

  • independence from ActionStation, BPM and vested interests

We sought a variety of ethnicities, ages, genders, agendas and a balance of people from across the political spectrum.

In the end our panel of six, while it is by no means a representative sample of New Zealand, strikes a balance across all of these requirements. It is a non-partisan panel comprising a formidable level of intelligence, expertise, compassion and analytical skills.

Terms of Reference

The scope of the People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media included all public and privately-owned media, with particular focus on mainstream media and public broadcasting.

Many facets of media and broadcasting were within the scope, though are not necessarily required to be addressed in the final report:

  • Documentaries, current affairs and news on television, radio and online

  • Science, wildlife, arts and educational programmes on television, radio and online

  • Drama, comedy and factual on television, radio and online

  • Children’s content on television, radio and online

  • News coverage

  • New Zealand content online

  • Government and industry support of innovation in New Zealand media

  • Entertainment vs information

  • Journalism and the decline in its funding

  • The rise of “fake news” and "echo chambers" through social media

  • Māori Television, Iwi radio, Te Mangai Paho, Pasifika radio and NZ On Air

  • Live and freely available events of ‘National Significance’

  • Classifications and Censorship (R, PGR, GA etc)

  • Special interest media for minorities

  • hat does a modern 21st century media model look like?

  • The digital divide and UFB (ultra-fast broadband) availability

  • Media ownership across platforms, monopolies and foreign ownership

  • Tax and governance solutions

  • The impact of media on civics and democratic engagement

  • International examples and experiences

Outside of the scope:

  • Quality of TV reception

  • The loudness of TV advertisements

  • Opinions on individual journalists and broadcasters (from Kim Hill to Mike Hosking)

How we collected submissions

Submissions were received in person and online. In the workshops, experts were invited to present short oral submissions of five to ten minutes to the panelists and public.

We then encouraged public participation by breaking everyone out into small groups of five to ten people. Each led by a panelist or volunteer to workshop three questions:

  • Why is public broadcasting and media is important?

  • What are the challenges and barriers that hold back public broadcasting and media?

  • How can we get around those barriers, particularly in relation to platforms, content, governance and funding?

These group conversations were annotated onto sheets of paper and digitised in a public Google Document that is available in full online.

Submissions were also collected online via www.makeourmediabetter.org.nz. The website was promoted via the ActionStation and Better Public Media mailing lists totalling over 100,000 potential email recipients. There were also news articles, blogs and radio interviews that promoted meetings and the website.

We do not claim that this report is indicative of the views of all New Zealanders. Rather it is a reflection of the people ActionStation and Better Public Media were able to engage on minimal advertising spend. We therefore recommend that the Government could, and should, undertake a similar process of public participation to gauge the views of a wider range of New Zealanders on what can be done to ensure public media serves the largest number of people who live in this country.

How we funded the project

The entire project cost $22,200 and was funded by small donations from almost 1000 individuals in the ActionStation community, and a $5,000 contribution from Better Public Media. Chip in to support the project.

About ActionStation

ActionStation is an independent, crowdfunded community campaigning organisation representing over 170,000 New Zealanders acting together to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us - everyday people and the planet we love.

About the Better Public Media Trust

Formerly known as the Coalition for Better Broadcasting or CBB, the Better Public Media Trust is a charitable trust dedicated to supporting and promoting public media in New Zealand.