Welcome to the September newsletter for The Policy Observatory. This month we invite you to the launch of a Policy Observatory report by Merja Myllylahti on the effect of Google and Facebook on New Zealand’s news media. We also preview the upcoming launch of Jess Berentson-Shaw’s report on framing child poverty. We present our new research page on archives policy developed in response to the current review, and link to the latest Briefing Paper on the free speech debate.

Invitation to report launch 6 September: New Media, News Media

Thursday this week sees the release and launch of Merja Myllylahti’s new report, Google, Facebook and New Zealand news media: The problem of platform dependency. In the wake of claims about the power of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, and their impact on news media, AUT researcher Merja Myllylahti has looked closely into the relationship between platforms and traditional media. She has analysed data on traffic numbers and the way that news media companies are using new media. She confirms some common assumptions, but her research also reveals some less obvious results. Merja surveys the policy responses from governments and regulators around the Western world.

The report will be launched at AUT on Thursday 6th September, in conjunction with the Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) conference. Note: you do not need to attend the conference to attend the report launch.

Report launch: Google, Facebook and New Zealand news media: The problem of platform dependency. By Merja Myllylahti

Level 7 foyer, WF building, 42 Wakefield Street Auckland CBD, 5.45pm-6.30pm Thursday 6 September

Rsvp report launch to policyobservatory@aut.ac.nz

JMAD conference details including registrations are here

Merja’s report will be on The Policy Observatory website’s reports and projects page from Thursday morning.

New report on child poverty with the workshop

Researcher Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw of The Workshop has written a report for The Policy Observatory on how best to promote narratives about child poverty that will lead to positive policy change. Her report explores the role of feelings, values and beliefs in people’s understanding of issues such as poverty, and recommends that narratives need to convey the message that family poverty occurs in the context of a complex ecosystem. While a lot of research goes into finding solutions for child poverty, Jess argues that we also need to consider how to communicate effectively the reality of poverty to the public, as this will increase the likelihood that solutions are supported by politicians.

Jess’s report will be launched in September and she will be speaking about it at the Child Poverty Action Group’s Welfare Summit in Wellington on September 12th. Information about that event, including registrations, can be found on the CPAG website.

The report will be published on The Policy Observatory website’s reports and projects page on the day of the launch.

New page: The reform of archives New Zealand

A review is currently underway into future organisational arrangements for Archives New Zealand, the National Library and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. The outcome of this review for Archives New Zealand has implications for the functioning of New Zealand’s democracy. Archives New Zealand regulates record-keeping practises across more than 3000 agencies in the public sector, and has custody of older records deemed to have ongoing value. The creation and retention of records enables the government to be held to account for its decision-making and activities. These records do not just contain information, they contain evidence of the work of the state.

The Policy Observatory’s Julienne Molineaux has researched and written extensively on machinery of government issues for the nation’s official archive. A new page has been created to capture this work, including her submission to the current review:


Briefing paper: Free speech and responsibilities

In the ongoing public debate about free speech, appeals are sometimes made to long-dead philosophers such as Edmund Burke, Voltaire and John Stuart Mill. But are their ideas being thoughtfully applied to contemporary issues – or are they being cherry-picked? What can we learn from these philosophers – not just about freedom, but also responsibility? David Hall discusses:


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