UPDATED: Rachel Glucina quits Herald for MediaWorks

Gossip columnist one of three high profile signings, as senior news producer's position is put under review.   Campbell Gibson and Nick Grant talk about the implications of Rachel Glucina leaving the NZ Herald for MediaWorks on NBR Radio and on demand via MyNBR Radio.

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See also: There’s always more room at the bottom of the barrel

UPDATE

Although MediaWorks has yet to clarify the matter, it’s now understood what NBR earlier reported as a review of the entire Mediaworks newsroom is actually just focused on two positions, including that of John Hale, the most senior producer of TV3’s 6pm bulletin.

EARLIER

Rachel Glucina, a gossip columnist for the New Zealand Herald for the past 10 years, has announced via Twitter that she is leaving NZME for MediaWorks.

“I’ve resigned,” her first tweet says. “MediaWorks has headhunted me for a joint-venture partnership to create, run and co-own a new digital entertainment platform.”

Her follow-up: “I’m sad to leave the Herald after nearly 10 years with the company but I’m really excited to be moving to a new challenge.”

What that new challenge will actually entail is detailed in a media release that’s posted on the company website but wasn’t actually sent to media. (According to MediaWorks communications staff, “We only press release information it's essential for media to have.”)

In the release chief executive Mark Weldon is quoted as saying he’s “very pleased to be developing a brand new digital-only brand with Rachel Glucina.” 

“Digital entertainment brands featuring snackable, shareable content [especially video] are the fastest growing part of the media landscape, and there is a gap in the New Zealand market in this area,” Mr Weldon says.

“The new brand will extend our digital footprint and complement our existing radio and TV brands, adding value for audiences and advertisers. Our goal is to be the go-to website for local and international entertainment content, and Rachel is the leading local player in this space, uniquely placed to create and manage this exciting new project.”

The release also announces that MediaWorks has signed broadcasters Mark Richardson and Dominic Bowden “to permanent roles, working across the company’s multi-platform assets. “

Mr Richardson, described as “one of New Zealand’s leading sports-entertainment broadcasters” has previously hosted TV3 reality show The Block NZ. Despite his new role, Mr Richardson will also continue to front Prime’s The Crowd Goes Wild and provide cricket commentary for SKY Sport. His departure from NZME-owned Radio Sport was announced yesterday.

Mr Bowden, meanwhile, is currently hosting TV3’s Dancing With The Stars NZ, having previously hosted The X Factor NZ.

Nowhere in the release is it mentioned that MediaWorks staff were today surprised by an announcement that the newsroom operation is now officially under review.

Last week staff were reportedly given a stern talking to by the company’s HR manager about how imperative it is for them to stop leaking stories about MediaWorks’ internal ructions to other media.

Nevertheless, NBR understands newsroom staff were informed today they are now in the “consultation phase” of a review.

The timing of that announcement in conjunction with the one about the three new hires apparently hasn’t gone down well with staff.

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