Pundit turns one!

Reflecting on a year of great stories; French wine up for grabs; new partnership with tvnz.co.nz

Well, ice the cake and blow out the candle. We launched Pundit from a wee apartment in downtown Auckland a year ago. A full 770 posts and over 463,000 page impressions later we consider that we've made a good start.

Let us first say, thanks for popping by. We love having you. There's little point in us raising this website from infancy if you're not here to enjoy its first steps, so thank you. Please stick around and keep joining the conversation. And tell your friends to do the same. In fact, new members who sign up in the next week go in a draw to win a bottle of French wine from our friends at Lifestyle Wines. (See, we're not above bribery.)

In the past year, Pundit has achieved more recognition and support than we expected when we launched. Stories broken here have appeared across the country... on TVNZ, in the Herald, and we’ve even been mentioned in Parliament. We’ve been praised on other blogs from The Standard to Kiwiblog, and even had a kind word or three from the folks at National Radio and Newstalk ZB.

But we’re most proud that Pundit has offered consistently the best online coverage of New Zealand’s part in the Afghanistan war; arguably the best coverage in the New Zealand media. That is in most part down to the work of David Beatson, which can only be described as gallant. His critical and dogged reporting and research is an example to journalists nationwide.

One of our Beatson-inspired highlights of the year was the Sunday Star-Times splashing across their front page the story of the Afghani detainees handed over to the Americans by our SAS; a story that had been broken nine months earlier on Pundit. (Although to be fair, the SST did add to the story).

Not that we’re lacking in pride for our other regulars. Jane Young has offered her humourous, no-holds-barred view of the world since the very start, and David Lewis has been on hand with his astute political mind. Andrew Geddis has sparked wonderful legal and political debates that go on for days. Claire Browning is the punter who became a pundit, impressing us with her legal, environmental and gardening skill. Keith Ovenden offers some of the smartest art reviews around, Nicky Hager has taken time out from his next book to chip in, Toby Manhire has given us the Kiwi view from London and David Young has given us his from Copenhagan.

Early on we teamed up with Glassbooth in the US to design our hugely successful election quiz, which put us on the blogging map. Over 75,000 hits can’t be wrong. It was fun and informative and we hope to do it again (even though it was a phenomenal amount of work). The Council on Foreign Relations has been with us from the start, showing great faith and allowing us to offer a concise round-up of world news in double quick time.

We were delighted to be invited to join the Scoop publishing network, which administers the ads you see on the site and ensures that we get a few dollars (literally) for our efforts. More recently we’ve joined Scoop, Public Address, Kiwiblog and others in Ffunnell, a new kind of online media advertising network that reaches an audience of 1.3 million unique browsers a month and serves nearly a million pages a week.

And in the interests of ongoing online collegiality, today we are very happy to announce a new relationship between Pundit and TVNZ, making us their first independent blog partner. We can only talk about the first step for now, but as of today readers of tvnz.co.nz will be able to link through from the posts appearing there to Pundit, bringing our dedicated crew to a wider audience. Or, more precisely, bringing a wider audience here to read more by our dedicated crew.