This year’s Swug New Zealand Conference kicked off at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre in Auckland yesterday.

Swug chairman Ray Clarkson opened the conference, welcoming delegates and thanking the Swug sponsors without whom the conference could not take place.
The conference has attracted delegates from around the country; from across the Tasman; and from Fiji.
Getting underway with two cracking opening presentations from Bernard Hickey and Kellie Northwood, the conference takes delegates through two days of non-stop print oriented activities and seminars.
Hickey gave his take on the current state of the publishing industry and laid the blame for the public’s decreasing trust in the media squarely at the feet of the digital giants like Facebook and Google. He said, “You have heard people say that print is dead and I am here to tell you that is not true.”
Taking the audience on a journey from Gutenberg and Martin Luther using the printing press to begin the reformation to Macedonian teenagers using Facebook to subvert to US electoral process, Hickey has a strong belief that the major news organisation need to start charging for their content. He said, “We need to fight for the content, not give it away on line.”
Northwood’s presentation covered the ways we can inspire people back into print after they have used digital. She said, “When we upload our photographs to a web site, instead of printing them out, we surrender ownership of the content. We are our own worst enemies in the print sector. We need to find out where our customers are moving to.”
The first day also took delegates to site visits at Horton Media and Reclaim before attending the Swug Award night.

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