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MediaMarch 11, 2016

Media Quiz: Which CEO did it? Jane Hastings or Mark Weldon

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How well do you know your New Zealand media? Take this difficult quiz to find out!

On Wednesday NZME CEO Jane Hastings announced her resignation – an event sharply predicted by Scout in what was a legit scoop and probably the finest piece of journalism in the site’s short history.

The moment is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Hastings resigned without a new gig to go to, and her replacement has been named as company CFO Michael Boggs. Industry sources suggest that both NZME and Hastings will view that as a less-than-ideal outcome. Additionally, Hastings’ tenure, up until very recently, had seemed like it had a buoyancy absent from that of most other current media industry CEOs.

Personally, I’d watched with admiration at the way she’d comported herself through an incredibly difficult period for pivoting media brands. NZME is publisher of the New Zealand Herald, owner of the former Radio Network stations (ZB, ZM, Radio Sport etc), along with the local iheartradio franchise and various other print and digital assets.

People I knew at NZME who worked with Hastings mostly spoke fondly of her, and the public perception of the company seemed to be that it was evolving in a more orderly and coherent fashion than its competitors. (Full disclosure: The Spinoff has a commercial relationship with NZME as a supplier, so that must be kept in mind when choosing how heavily to weigh my opinions, and those of this organisation.) In particular she empowered staff to start and run new divisions, most notably Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath, who debuted both the Alternative Commentary Collective and WatchMe under her stewardship.

She was not universally admired, however. From the newsroom, particularly, we have heard private complaints about the pace of change and further erosion of the division between the editorial and commercial sides of the operation.

But as I and others at The Spinoff assessed her legacy, it was impossible to avoid comparing her to another local media CEO. One who started within months of her appointment, and had a very similar job to do, in terms of both size and degree of difficulty. And while Mark Weldon’s time at the helm has been marked by a degree of turmoil and public animus (much of which we’ve covered in detail) almost entirely absent from Hastings’ reign, it’s surprising how much their actual deeds have in common.

To help you readers compare the two, my colleague Hayden Donnell – a former employee of both NZME and MediaWorks – and I have put together this handy quiz to help measure the CEOs against one another. Good luck to them both – and to you with completing this difficult examination.

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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