Broadcasting icon Paul Norris dies

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 10:25 14/02/2014
Paul Norris
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BROADCASTING ICON: Paul Norris

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Respected media commentator Paul Norris has died.

Norris was a former head of the New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) in Christchurch.

He was also a former head of news at Television New Zealand.

Norris retired due to illness last year. His career was celebrated in an event for staff and students co-organised by NZBS tutor Ruth Zanker.

"It was extraordinary that as soon as word got out, we were contacted by former colleagues from the BBC, SBS Australia and TVNZ," Zanker said.

Judy Bailey and Jim Hickey were among the journalists, presenters and researchers who offered tributes via video and in person.

Newstalk ZB mornings host Chris Lynch said this morning that Norris was "a true gentleman" who had encouraged him at broadcasting school.

"He was well liked and a respected man and he'll be missed.

"Paul was the man who kickstarted [Paul] Holmes' television career and looked after TVNZ news in the good days of television of Judy and Richard [Long] and the team," he said.

Norris, originally from Timaru, completed an MA in history at the University of Canterbury before reading philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.

In England, he worked at Fleet Street paper the Sunday Express before getting a foot in the door at the BBC.

Well respected at the BBC he eventually became a founding member of news and current affairs programme Newsnight.

Norris returned to New Zealand in 1987 to become director of news and current affairs at TVNZ, where he paired Bailey with Long - a partnership that would last 15 years.

Norris then became head of the NZBS, ran media seminars in Christchurch and contributed to industry debates around media ethics before ill health forced his retirement.

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