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The BulletinDecember 21, 2018

The best NZ journalism of 2018, as chosen by you

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Over the month of December, we’ve been taking suggestions from readers of The Bulletin on what you reckon the best NZ journalism has been. We also took the suggestion to put them all in one place.

It’s not really the done thing to say this at the start of a best of list, but this was really quite easy to put together.

There has been a flood of suggestions from Bulletin readers about what should be included, and why. The only difficult choices were about what there was enough space for. And that was basically the point of the exercise. It’s all too easy to drown in the news about the financial state of the media, and let’s be honest, that’s often pretty bad news.

But the quality of the journalism being done can still reach incredible heights. Pretty much every newsroom is under strain right now, and they’re still finding ways to give journalists enough rope to chase big and difficult stories. Looking at the front pages of some of those big news sites, that might sometimes be hard to see. But enough of it has been there to fill a Bulletin every single weekday for almost a year, and there’s still another layer of stories so good you wanted them recognised.

For the journalists recognised here, there’s no prizes to give away, no scholarships to be awarded. We definitely don’t have money for them. The stories might get some clicks, which in this economy is great. But having a story in this listicle also means that someone read your work and appreciated it a lot. Honestly, what could be sweeter?

So, here’s the full list of the best local journalism of 2018, gathered over the past few weeks, and a sentence or two about the stories. If you want to see the reasons why it was in or who nominated it, hit the links on the dates – that’ll all be just below the 2nd picture.

3 December:

Radio NZ’s series on the minimum wage, led by Kathleen Winter. It’s topical in light of the recent rise.

4 December:

Stuff’s New Zealand Made/Nā Niu Tīreni interactive. A brilliant use of visuals to tell the story of Treaty settlements.

5 December:

Radio NZ’s Phil Pennington’s work on NZTA, a long grind of a story that kept unfolding over months.

6 December:

NZ Herald data journalist Keith Ng’s interactive on Operation Burnham. This one is worth following through right to the end.

7 December:

A reader wanted to nominate the whole of North and South magazine, but narrowed it down to one searing piece from Aaron Smale.

10 December:

Newsroom’s Melanie Reid and Sasha Borissenko initial expose on Russel McVeagh set in motion a year of reckoning for the legal fraternity.

11 December:

The NZ Herald’s Kirsty Johnston wrote that rather than being engines of meritocracy, the stats showed universities entrenched advantages.

12 December:

Newshub’s Tova O’Brien, with the story that set the horror show of leaks and recriminations within the National party in motion.

13 December:

Freelancer Jessica McAllen for her work on mental health – there’s a lot more links in the main Bulletin.

14 December:

The newly launched LockerRoom generally got a nod, and Abby Wilson’s story for One News about accusations in cycling was there too.

17 December:

Stuff’s Henry Cooke, with a story that humanised the impact meth testing was having on Housing NZ tenants.

18 December:

Adam Goodall writing for the Pantograph Punch about the rise and fall of the PACE artist benefit.

19 December:

Toby Morris’s work with The Side Eye on The Spinoff, and a feature by the NZ Herald’s Greg Bruce on the change in cartooning culture in New Zealand. Actually, I didn’t remember to mention it at the time, but Greg Bruce’s feature writing is generally magnificent.

20 December:

Duncan Greive of The Spinoff, getting completely carried away with the stories by other people from across the industry that he wanted to feature. Seriously, there’s a lot.

21 December:

Toby Manhire, also of The Spinoff, getting similarly carried away by the work our journalists have done this year.

Keep going!