Thursday, February 29, 2024

Happy birthday Times!

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Times’ founder Reay Neben with a lovely birthday cake marking the company’s 49th anniversary. Times photo Wayne Martin

Owner Reay Neben shares her thoughts on Times Media and reflects on the paper’s journey over near half a century

The Times turned 49 last week. I know it is a long time and in our industry it is amazing that the paper has remained privately owned.

Newspapers have seen a huge change and in the late ’90s the big media companies went on a spending spree and bought up most of the privately-owned papers.

This birthday is a reminder that we have recorded so much of the growth and development of this region.

Our boundaries for distribution have not changed but the households we deliver to has grown from 8000 in 1972 to 47,000 now.

A woman in business in the early days was really not a common thing and, as I was the first woman on the NZ Community Newspapers Association, board I flew to Wellington for my first board meeting.

At morning tea time the chairman asked me to make the teas and coffees. He didn’t ask me that again and I really enjoyed being part of the industry leadership.

Over the past 49 years, so many things have changed but with social media, the need for journalism – and particularly local journalism – has become a must.

During lockdown last year we continued to inform our people of what, if anything, was going on this we had to do digitally as the only print products that were allowed to publish were the big companies.

This east Auckland area has been my passion for all of these years and I have loved the opportunity of being involved as an employer and the recorder of our history and, with this, the opportunity to be the guest of Lord Howick in Northumberland UK.

That was indeed a thrill to actually visit the estate where our Fencibles are from and, of course, the home of the famous Earl Grey tea.

Our community has produced some incredible people and I have no idea how many delivery people have started their working life delivering the paper but it must be thousands.

I have enjoyed knowing well the people who make this community great and back in 1972 I don’t think I envisioned a lifetime of producing a local paper.

None of this could have happened without our loyal team and the wonderful support of our advertisers and readers.

It’s done and a big thank you to everyone who have helped us stay the course for 49 years.

Roll on next year when we turn 50 and Howick turns 175 years.

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