• Posted: 14 Oct 2021
  • Location: New Plymouth
  • Work Type: Full Time
  • Classification: Marketing, media & communications
OPEN JUSTICE - TE PĀTĪTĪ : A new dawn for New Zealand journalism.

An open and transparent legal system is one of the hallmarks of a well-functioning democracy. Court reporting is an integral part of this – court reporters are the eyes and ears of the wider public.

It’s a highly specialised and time-consuming discipline, and that’s made it hard to resource amid well-documented challenges facing the global news industry.

NZME is delighted to address this with a grant from the Public Interest Journalism Fund, administered by New Zealand on Air.

We are seeking 12 fulltime journalists to create a new dawn for coverage of court and legal affairs in Aotearoa.

Our groundbreaking Open Justice - Te Pātītī (Clearing A Path) programme will allow an unprecedented scaling up of multimedia reporting. As well as covering specific cases, the national initiative will investigate how the legal system is working, tackling key issues such as name suppression, delays in cases coming to court and access to legal representation.

Launching early next year it will:

Cover Aotearoa’s full range of courts and tribunals: civil and criminal; employment and environment; human rights and immigration, and many more;
Operate in areas - both subject and geographic - that currently receive little or no in-depth coverage;
Produce agenda-setting journalism that explains the “why” as much as the “what”;
Hold law-makers to account;
Champion the rights of everyone involved in the system.

Journalists will produce multimedia content (text, video and audio) for New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB digital and print platforms, NZME’s five daily regional and 15 community mastheads and formal programme partners - Radio New Zealand and Top South Media. Content will also be shared with NZME’s pre-existing partners, including Maori Television and Allied Press.

For all journalists, outcomes will be a mix of stories for multiple news cycles - shorter daily stories (including breaking news and coverage of hearings), features and long-term investigations.

Successful applicants will have a track record in identifying stories of significant public interest and telling them in an engaging and innovative way. They will have a good working knowledge of ever-evolving legal issues and the ability to converse with experts in a complex field. They will be able to develop contacts, navigate the complexities of gathering information from the judicial system and be confident arguing for reporting rights in a courtroom environment.

While basic knowledge of audio and video editing techniques would be an advantage, training is available.

Journalists are required in: Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.

Each would have responsibility for covering matters heard in a number of courts in and around their base location.


NZME is committed to the ongoing development of journalists working in this specialised area. We're particularly passionate about devolving knowledge and skills to regional hubs.

Open Justice staff will join our ongoing legal training sessions led by external and in-house counsel and newsroom leaders. Further sessions on more specialist matters will be arranged as required.

NZME provides a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment. We are committed to developing our understanding of the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitingi and embedding them in all aspects of our work.

Induction for successful applicants will include a powhiri and noho marae to build a core bond of whanaungatanga - within the programme and to each other.

A copy of our Diversity Policy is here:

Applications close at 5pm on Friday, October 22.

Please apply by sending your CV, covering letter, your preferred location and links to relevant work.

Applicants must have eligibility to work in New Zealand.