Mr Savage heads up NZME’s investigations team: a unit set up in January that is able to focus on driving quality content by being freed of the daily grind of the news cycle.
“If you’re not dedicating time and ring-fencing these teams, the temptation is always there to throw your best reporters in when a big story breaks,” Mr Savage says.
“There are times and places where that needs to happen, but with us having a ring-fenced team we’ve come up with some of the most agenda-setting journalism.”
Mr Savage believes it’s important to encourage collaboration across the newsroom, especially between what he describes as the “holy trinity”: data journalists, designers and “traditional” reporters.
However, news media companies also need to collaborate outside the newsroom and with other news outlets – diplomacy that can pay off as demonstrated by the recent Panama Papers investigation.
Mr Savage will explore the lessons learnt through the creation of the NZME investigations team in a presentation at this year’s Future Forum, the annual conference for news media professionals hosted by NewsMediaWorks.
He will also share insights from his recent study tour of the US – a tour funded by the $10,000 Hegarty Scholarship he was awarded last year.
The tour took Mr Savage to the newsrooms of The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Reuters and ProPublica.
Mr Savage said there appeared to be a mindset shift away from chasing clicks.
“There does seem to me to be a realisation that news organisations do need to still invest in investigative, public service journalism but it doesn’t have to be boring,” he said.
Mr Savage’s tour also took him to the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in New Orleans where more than 1500 journalists from across the US and the world gathered in June.
The Future Forum is an annual symposium for news media professionals that features masterclasses, the Newspaper of the Year Awards, as well as presentations from industry leaders that this year include Will Lewis, chief executive of Dow Jones, Trinity Mirror commercial director Blanche Sainsbury and Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke.
Check out highlights from speakers at the 2015 Future Forum using the playlist below
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