ERIKA WHITTOME AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3253
Council Meeting: APRIL 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Editorial Discretion / Freedom
Erika Whittome complained about a story published on the New Zealand Herald website on 30 March 2022 headed Covid-19 outbreak: Unvaccinated workers don’t have right to get their job back - govt advice. The story did not carry a by-line. Ms Whittome asked who had written the article and asked whether it was written by a person in a position paid for by the “public journalism” fund. Because the story did not have a by-line, “how does the reader know it is not paid advertising, an advertorial, misinformation or propaganda?”
The NZ Herald replied that the article was written by a reporter, was not sponsored content and it accurately reported the government’s announcements.
In the Media Council’s view, using a by-line stating who wrote a story is a matter of editorial discretion. The story was simply an overview of the government’s announcements and their guidance for employers on mandating vaccination. There is no substance to the suggestion this was paid advertising or an advertorial.
No principles were breached.
Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.