Brian Edwards Media

I am offered but reject a six-figure-sum from several media outlets. The reasons why.

six-figure-sum broadcaster with (real) icon

 

Over the past week several media outlets have offered me a six-figure-sum. It’s not the first time they’ve done this. In fact it’s being going on for years. It won’t surprise you to know that they want me to keep quiet about this. But, as an iconic broadcaster and media commentator, I refuse to be muzzled. I intend to speak out. So here goes.

Ladies and gentlemen of the mass media, I reject your repeated offers of a six-figure-sum. They are tiresome and stupid. I will never accept them. And I invite you now to cease, desist and stop.  

Why? Because the term ‘six-figure-sum’ is effectively meaningless. It tells you absolutely nothing about how much sportsman X, pop diva Y or broadcaster Paul Z (take your pick) got paid last year. Their ‘six-figure-sum’ could be anywhere between $100,000 and $999,999, one dollar less than a million!

This is just lazy, thoughtless, sloppy journalism.

If you felt strongly about it, you could write to TVNZ or TV3 or Prime or any radio station or newspaper and explain to them that constantly using a meaningless term in their reports seems at odds with good journalistic practice. But they wouldn’t listen. They’d just go on saying that it was ‘understood that so-and-so had been offered a six-figure-sum’, just as they go on describing every well-known place, person or thing as ‘iconic’ and making total asses of themselves by insisting on saying ‘an historic, an horrific, an hotel’ etc when no one in real life ever says that and it’s a language nonsense since the ‘h’ in all of these words is sounded . ‘An honour’ yes; ‘an horrific’ no.

So if you see an ad in the paper for a job offering ‘a six-figure-sum’, it might be a good idea, before you submit your application, to ring and find out whether this means a hundred thousand dollars or one dollar short of a million.

Your pick of other journalistic atrocities welcome.

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27 Comments:

  1. Sports and business journos use pre-packaged phrases a lot too; “market heavyweight Telecom”, and so on. All meaningless padding.

  2. Stuff website is my favorite. Screaming headline “building permits surge” then the article tells you they have actually fallen. The disconnect between headline and story on Stuff is just brilliant.

  3. Formulaic (and patronising) group descriptors “mum and dad investors”, “boffins”

  4. This is just lazy, thoughtless, sloppy journalism.

    In New Zealand – Gasp!

  5. Yes Sean, and they win awards for it. Mainstream media in NZ has really reached some new lows by not sacking some real 3rd rate Journos like Paul Holmes and Garth grumble guts George to name but a few. It seems we can only rely on Media Watch to expose these hacks for what they are.

  6. Lazy journalism? Don’t get me started.

    A recent lead story in the Herald seemed to suggest that squillions of Kiwi travellers are dying overseas because they don’t get the right ‘jabs’ before leaving home. The story’s supporting numbers were loose to say the least.

    However, even a modicum of desk research would have told the writer that two-thirds of NZ travellers who die overseas do so from cardiovascular disorders. And, in the great majority of cases, the travellers are aware of their condition before they leave home.

    Research would have also revealed that about 32 percent of deaths are caused by accidents, with traffic accidents making up the majority of these. Accidental drowning, sports accidents, and accidental poisoning account for most of the rest.

    If stories of this type only got through once in a blue moon, one might put it down to too many editors taking their summer holidays at the same time. But it’s getting to the stage where there are one or two of these attention grabbing headlines supported by, well, next-to-nothing every day.

    Keep up the good work, Dr Edwards.

  7. To all the dudes and dudesses, who are flailing about, by bagging all journos. Bear in mind this:

    “Panning can be fun – you roll up your sleeves and head into the Augean stables. But it’s also show-offy and cheap – it isn’t sustaining. If you really like something, writing becomes humble and stirring. You give yourself to the work you’re describing. Writing about it intensifies your own pleasure”. (Pauline Kael)

  8. Taking things to “the next level”. C’mon, think of something new!

  9. Journalistic atrocities…

    How does Mark Sainsbury know when he’s in a “close-knit” community?

    Everyone tells him to “Fuck off”.

    Sorry, Brian.

  10. I’ve never offered a six figure but been advised to “go figure” several times!
    The fact is offers can also include huge sums of ‘incidentals’, the cars, the petrol allowances, picking up the home phone and mobile bills, the travel allowances, the accommodation, the hookers(sorry that should read videos surely?) and so on. In other words the dollar value on the contract may not come close to the unspoken reality anyway.

  11. “quantum leap” – especially as in Physics it means the opposite to how journalists use it

  12. Google searches posited to bolster a story:

    A search for x on Google produced y number of results; therefore x is important.

    Not necessarily: a search for almost anything on Google will produce a large number of hits, many of which will be irrelevant to the topic.

  13. Your regular readers will be grateful for this post. But does it mean the end of discussion, if that is the right word, to “I receive and respond to an email from Amanda Hotchin”?

    • Your regular readers will be grateful for this post. But does it mean the end of discussion, if that is the right word, to “I receive and respond to an email from Amanda Hotchin”?

      The debate is still open. We wait now with bated breath to see whether this Sunday’s SST comes up with the proof that Ms Hotchin said these things. If they don’t rebut the story, then something is very amiss.

  14. And another thing. Why is Wikipedia now the default pundit? According to Mr Vance, of “The Press” if it is in Wiki, its the Gospel.

  15. “The debate is still open. We wait now with bated breath to see whether this Sunday’s SST comes up with the proof that Ms Hotchin said these things. If they don’t rebut the story, then something is very amiss.”

    Especially with regard to the writer involved…

  16. Yes… pre-packed phrases (thanks G Ronald), also ambiguous headlines and intro’s, the segment “most read on our website” (who ducking cares), the assumption that media speaks on behalf of viewers and readers, but the worst – double entendre and puns! It is just lame.

  17. Since the term “a six-figure-sum” was coined to describe the bonuses being paid to bankers, it’s use is now being dropped. It is no longer fit for purpose. Consequently, it is being replaced by the term “a seven-figure-sum”. Not surprisingly, this is seen as a temporary measure.

  18. OK, grounding real world test here, if I was offered a “6 figure sum” I wouldn’t give a damn about where in the range that payment might be, because the minimum is so far above my current level, I would faint. If such a non-specific amount was offered, for a morally acceptable task, I would take it, sight unseen, whether 100,000 or 999,000 (or anywhere in between) was the actual amount. So far, my opportunities, when I think very carefully back over 50 years or so, to turn down that amount of money, offered on acceptable terms, amounts to exactly, um, NIL. If you have any rejected crumbs, Brian, that I could use, please feel free to steer them my way.

    • If you have any rejected crumbs, Brian, that I could use, please feel free to steer them my way.

      Crumbs? The mice in our house go out to eat!

  19. oh, I like, TisEye’s comment, yes I do.

  20. …and bad website photos like this one, which do NOT represent the actual place, as no hills are near the incident! “@TVNZnews Firefighters battle scrub fire in Rangiora http://bit.ly/erSqDf – the photo in this link is not of the location!

  21. I was offered a 6-figure salary for 6 months’ work at Countdown Supermarket — $9,707.86.

  22. “We wait now with bated breath to see whether this Sunday’s SST comes up with the proof that Ms Hotchin said these things. If they don’t rebut the story, then something is very amiss.”

    So it seems. But what does it mean? It is more than the topic of this thread (brilliant post by the way, Borstal Boy!) seeks to illustrate. The editor of the SST just ignores the debate that is raging round his ears. What is it that editor opinion-makers no longer have a committed position on the world and events and the matters on which they report and exist only to fill in the blanks around unsold advertising space? Is content now meaningless? If that is the case then, Brian, your blogs on the Hotchins are …. what?

  23. six figure sum makes sense to me – whether it’s 100k or 999k, it’s a lot of money to most people!

  24. Can we stop journalists on the overuse of the word “ICONIC” ?

    It is always “iconic” building or “iconic” tree or “iconic” that?

    BE: Can we stop them? Probably not. They are very poor listeners.