Isaac Hindin Miller [L], Jordan Rondel and Bryanboy @ NZ Fashion Week, Sep 16/bryanboy
Three days after word leaked from within ACP Media that the Auckland-based company was about to shutter websites, starting with the high profile fashion site Runway Reporter, the online home of Fashion Quarterly magazine, The New Zealand Herald reports today that the company has retrenched “8-10” staff and is shuttering three sites, Runway Reporter, metrolive.co.nz and yourhomeandgarden.co.nz - with cleo.co.nz and taste.co.nz to be outsourced to JV partner, msn.com. The websites of the “Trader” division, which includes the titles Auto Trader, Deals on Wheels, Motorcyle Trader and News, Trade-a-Boat and Buy, Sell & Exchange remain unaffected. The report comes two days after Dykzeul told Fairfax NZ news portal stuff.co.nz that the claims, as reported on NZ blog Isaac Likes, were “defamatory and incorrect”. In an interesting twist to the saga, 24 year-old Isaac Likes blogger Isaac Hindin Miller now finds himself out of a job. That is, out of a day job. Hindin Miller, who has been working as market editor for the AGM Publishing-owned Urbis magazine, was summarily dismissed yesterday with zero benefits and marched to the door by publisher Parul Sheopuri. Coincidentally, yesterday’s incident - which sounds like the kind of treatment that is usually meted out to high powered execs privy to sensitive company data - unfolded a matter of hours before Hindin Miller’s own redundancy consultation was due to take place.
On Monday, Hindin Miller was informed that his own position was being made redundant.
Frockwriter contacted AGM Publishing and was told by Parul Sheopuri that Hindin Miller's contractual arrangement with the company came to an end yesterday because he "posted comments about a competitor of AGM, during business hours".
Convenient, of course, that AGM Publishing does now not have to give Hindin Miller severance pay.
Unfortunately, just as frockwriter was attempting to ask one last question - specifically about the redundancy - Sheopuri hung up.
It should be noted that AGM Publishing was well aware of Hindin Miller’s blog, as it has been active for eight months.
The blog has covered several other media stories in recent months, including a discussion of media ethics.
As for the NZ Herald’s coverage today, it is interesting to note that the ACP Media story was neither a news story, nor even the lead story of the paper's ‘Tsars in their eyes’ media column penned by John Drinnan.
The ACP Media story is placed towards the end of the column, with the reference to ACP Media having “pulled the red carpet from under its fashion website runwayreporter.co.nz" buried at the very end of the piece, almost as an afterthought.
Frockwriter can’t help thinking that it might have been a different matter had the NZ Herald had the story first.
Three mainstream New Zealand media outlets picked this story up the minute it broke: stuff.co.nz, Computerworld and The National Business Review.
It is not clear whether, at time of filing, the NZ Herald had a copy of today's ACP Media press release.
Beyond choosing to run the Runway Reporter information towards the end of the article, the newspaper also quotes Paul Dykzeul as saying that Runway Reporter is being "largely disassembled".
And yet the lead paragraph of the NZ Herald story stated:
"ACP New Zealand has pulled back from its digital strategy, scrapping metrolive.co.nz and yourhomeandgarden.co.nz from next month".
In the ACP Media press release, Paul Dykzeul is quoted as saying:
"The websites runwayreporter.co.nz, metrolive.co.nz and yourhomeandgarden.co.nz would not continue in their present format beyond mid January".
The press release also states that:
"[Sydney-based] ACP Magazines and MSN New Zealand will jointly develop new opportunities in the Fashion and Home and Garden areas, to be delivered as part of MSN's expanding Lifestyle channel".
Frockwriter understands that at least one NZ media outlet is interested in Hindin Miller's story.