Pressing On launched

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AUCKLAND, Today: Pressing On: the story of New Zealand newspapers, 1921-2000, Ian F. Grant’s second volume of NZ newspaper history, was launched at the National Library in Wellington on 30 May.

The book, jointly published by Fraser Books and the Alexander Turnbull Library, was launched by Sir Hugh Rennie, former chairman of National Business Review and the Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1920, when Lasting Impressions, the first volume in this newspaper history ended, the large number of newspapers in the country were the profitable, well-respected vehicles of nearly all the news from around the world and around the corner welcomed into households in the largest cities and smallest hamlets.

Newspapers were also the principal means by which manufacturers and merchants sold their products and services to people.  This strange amalgam – provision of a public service in an essentially commercial operation – worked, for the most part, very successfully.

All that changed over the next 80 years. There were ownership changes to what had been, both large and small, mainly family businesses. Radio, television and the Internet severely disrupted the press’s virtual monopoly of the news.

The commercial model that allowed newspapers to function successfully was severely disrupted.  Foreign owners, without the same commitment to New Zealand society, entered and began to dominate the local market.

By 2000, the New Zealand newspaper market had changed forever – and in ways that put its very survival at risk. Pressing On is the story of how and why this happened.

Author Ian F. Grant’s long career in the ‘word’ industry has encompassed periods in advertising, marketing and journalism, including 13 years as a founding editorial and marketing director of National Business Review. 

In 1984, with the publication of Sonja Davies’ Bread & Roses, he and wife Diane began Fraser Books which has published over 160 books, many about New Zealand history and politics.

In 1992, Ian Grant founded the NZ Cartoon Archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library and, among the 18 books he has written, several are devoted to editorial cartooning and its practitioners. He wrote his two- volume history of NZ newspapers while the Turnbull Library’s adjunct scholar.

Copies of Pressing On, $69.50 and 682 pages, can be ordered from

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