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RBNZ: Relationship with Media Changing

In financial markets early access to information can be a big advantage. In central banking carefully managing communication can also be a big advantage. Until recently our Reserve Bank judged that the risks of the former were worth it because of the gains from the latter. Now that calculation has changed. Sharechat has this article on the change. The quotes from the Deloitte report hint at how the decision was partly a response to the changing media environment.

In pre-internet times pre-announcement briefings increased fairness: they enabled everyone to get the same story at the same time and the bargain was that we all agreed to release the information at once.

Today an organisation can push a button and effectively distribute the report instantly, to everyone. So now lock-ins arguably increase unfairness, favouring those organisations with full-time employees in close physical proximity to the venue. They also allow for selection of organisations - we invite those people but not that one - and so on. Pre-releasing information is usually done on the basis that it cannot be discussed with others. That means that the stories written for immediate release end up being relatively uncritical because the journalist cannot take that pre-release information and discuss it with a third-party who may offer other viewpoints. 

I therefore applaud the RBNZ's decision to abandon the pre-release briefings, and argue that this should be the standard approach for all government departments. 

 

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