Mark Jennings to leave MediaWorks

  • 24/02/2016
Mark Jennings to leave MediaWorks

MediaWorks has announced that Mark Jennings is to leave his role as Group Head of News and that Hal Crawford has been appointed as the new Chief News Officer.

After 27 years at MediaWorks and most recently overseeing the newsroom through the successful transition to becoming Newshub, the time is right for both him and for the company to move on.

Mark Weldon, Group CEO MediaWorks said:  "Over 25 years of leadership of TV3 news, Mark has made a major and lasting contribution to NZ journalism, and wider NZ society. I personally have greatly enjoyed working with Mark. I believe that the timing of his departure, coming as it does after the successful launch of Newshub, and at the beginning of a new digital-led phase, works best for the company and for Mark personally. His legacy of strong and fearless journalism will continue to reverberate through the Newshub – he is leaving with significant momentum in our news brands."

Mark Jennings said: "This company has become part of my DNA.  It has been a wonderful place to work and I am truly grateful for all the opportunities it has given me. The bulk of my career has been at TV3 and I have had fantastic jobs and a fantastic time doing them.  It is now time for me to move on and I am looking forward to throwing myself into my next project.  I still have tons of energy and a real passion for news journalism.  I want to thank all my loyal staff, they have made my job a total pleasure."

Mark will remain engaged in the near term in a mentoring capacity with the TV-led flagship brands.

Hal Crawford will join MediaWorks in the coming months as Chief News Officer.  Hal is currently Editor in Chief and Publisher of ninemsn in Australia where he has led substantial audience engagement and revenue growth over the past nine years. With 4.5m visitors per month and a broad range of content, ninemsn has the highest consumption of video (outside of YouTube and video platform companies) in the Australian market.

Hal began his career in newspapers and has worked in Australia and globally in print and broadcast media.  Hal has lectured in journalism at Melbourne's La Trobe University, founded a social media research company, Share Wars, and authored the book "All Your Friends Like This: How Social Networks Took Over News"(published HarperCollins Australia).  Hal also sits on the Australian Press Council where he signed up ninemsn as the first digital member with a full vote.

Mark Weldon said: "Hal has proven expertise in transforming editorial business models into the digital world.  He is a leading thinker in the digital news area with a number of publications and commercial exposure. We wanted a Chief News Officer with a very strong background in digital content and Hal ticks these boxes perfectly."

Hal Crawford said: "I am tremendously excited to join MediaWorks, and the Newshub team. The strategy of a fully converged TV, radio and digital brand, and a brand born outside the history of any particular platform is unique globally. This is an opportunity to move beyond the delivery method and focus on the stories and the audience. I am looking forward to meeting the team and working with everyone at MediaWorks -- senior leaders, producers, journalists -- to shape Newshub over the coming years."

In the interim period, until Hal's arrival, Richard Sutherland has been appointed Acting Chief News Officer, and will participate fully as a Group Executive member over that time.