Tuesday, 13 April 2010

farewell bryce johns

a bit of a belated post to say farewell to bryce johns, ex-editor of the waikato times, who is moving on to greener pastures as editor of the herald on sunday.

while i can't say that i'm a fan of the times, i do have a certain respect for mr johns. i've found him to be personally approachable and rarely had problems getting opinion pieces published in the paper. he has also been willing to front up to any public forum where there is a discussion on the media, knowing that some of them are going to be rather hostile. he was kind enough to accept my invitation to speak and answer questions at the 4th national interfaith forum a few years ago, and he certainly got some tough questions that day!

that he has been a successful editor is not in doubt. he managed to increase circulation at a time when other major papers have been on a downward trend. the paper has won quite a few media awards under his term as editor, including the qantas media award for nz's best daily newspaper.

all in all, it's impossible to dispute that he has done his job extremely well, and that he will be missed in the waikato. i do wish him well in his next job, though i'll have to say that i won't be reading that paper any time soon. but i'm sure he'll do well there in spite of that!


Emeritus Professor Bruce Babington said...

Bryce Johns is a disgrace to journalism. Given clear evidence of corrupt actions at Waikato University which if revealed would have resulted in the forced resignation of the Vice Chancellor, Roy Crawford, two Chancellors, much of the senior administration and the whole of the University Council, he temporized by twice appointing junior reporters to investigate the case but then prevented them from even approaching the accused parties or demanding access to hidden Council business. As a direct result of his placing journalistic priorities below fear of offending powerful people, matters of intense public interest, have been successfully hidden by the university authorities, challenging the popular belief that corruption is alien to New Zealand. Bryce Johns's leaving the Times is a good thing, but his appointment as editor of The Herald on Sunday is a disaster for New Zealand journalism.

stargazer said...

those are some pretty serious allegations, and i'm certainly not in any position to verify or refute them. generally i don't allow such accusations on blogs i moderate, and i'm making an exception in this case. in terms of my post, i speak of my own dealings with mr johns which have generally been positive. no doubt other people have different experiences.

Anonymous said...

Stargazer, I think you should at least let Mr Johns know that these comments have been posted. As you say, they are serious allegations.

stargazer said...

well, i've contacted mr johns & this is what he has to say:

Mr Babbington never produced any provable evidence of wrongdoing; if he had, why didn’t authorities act? Unfortunately, he’s another sad fantasist.

so i guess people can make up their own minds.