Brian Edwards Media

Archive for March, 2012

Missing in Action: The Wisdom of Crowds in New Zealand

Missing in Action: The Wisdom of Crowds in New Zealand

by Alan Wilkinson 

Are New Zealanders well served by our mainstream print media websites?  The two major ones are APN News & Media’s NZ Herald and Fairfax Media’s Stuff.  

As the Internet brings the world to our screens at the click of a mouse, we have access to worldwide news from any international source we choose. So it is inevitable that the role of local media websites is changing from the print versions.  Rather than try to compete with the major international news gatherers or simply relay world news from them, our local media have to add value by selecting items of particular interest and relevance to New Zealand.  A cursory scan of the world news on either the Herald or Stuff websites shows the impact of this localisation and loss of general coverage in favour of human interest trivia with a scattering of regional and NZ interest stories.

At the national and local level, the coverage is much more detailed, competitive and complete.  The Herald website is more directly accessible, while most of Stuff’s coverage is buried deeper in regional or sectional web pages.  Obviously print journalism everywhere is under financial pressure as readers switch to online sources rather than buying paper versions, and as advertisers follow suit.  Furthermore, the Internet provides direct access to the best expertise on specialist subjects. General journalists cannot hope to compete at that level, nor can their newspapers generally afford such expertise.  In consequence, where local news stories require specialist input or insight our media are generally limited to what can be obtained readily and for free. So it is patchy in both coverage and quality.  Read the rest of this entry »


Publish your own posts on Brian Edwards Media


Now that Judy and I are travelling free on the buses and the Waiheke Ferry, thanks to Winston’s wonderful Supergold Card, and our joints are afflicted by arthritis, and Alzheimer’s is just around the corner, we feel it’s time to let you do some of the work while we sit back in our rocking chairs sipping champagne.

So things are going to change at Brian Edwards Media. While we’ll continue to contribute our opinions, we want to open up the site to you, our esteemed audience.

In short, we intend to become publishers as well as bloggers. So we’re inviting you to submit original posts on any topic under the sun for publication on the site. You’ve got a readymade audience who can comment on what you’ve written in exactly the same way that they comment now.

Your post will remain at the top of our Home Page for as long as it continues to inspire comment from visitors to the site, or a more interesting or topical post comes along.

Your post can be as short as you like, but with a maximum length – unless we think it’s absolutely brilliant – of 750 words.

If you can supply copyright free photographs or other illustrations to go with your post, that would be good. If not, we’ll look for them ourselves.

The post will, of course, appear under your by-line.

As publishers, we reserve the right to edit, to accept or decline your post, and to remove any material which we consider offensive or defamatory.   

You should send your post by email to, including your name, address and telephone number.

Over to you.  Brian Edwards Media awaits your pearls of wisdom.


The Urewera Six – the new face of terrorism.

Image created by Alison Withers


I find myself wondering…

I find myself wondering whether I want to be bothered with the Labour Party any more. Increasingly, it seems to me, the Greens reflect the philosophical and moral values to which I subscribe more accurately than the Labour Party whose philosophical and moral values are now so ill-defined as to be beyond definition.

I’m a socialist at heart and, whatever it is, New Zealand Labour is not a socialist party. It wasn’t just Rogernomics that scotched that idea; Tony Blair’s ‘third way’, a significant influence on the Fifth Labour Government, was really just a watered down version of Douglas’s ‘trickle-down’ economics. The ‘third way’ was, by definition, a ‘middle-way’, neither one thing nor the other and ill-suited to political idealism of any stripe – a Clayton’s political philosophy.  

I read that Labour’s new leader, David Shearer, wants to move the party to that ideological no-man’s-land that is ‘the centre’. National already occupies that space but, as the distinctions between Key and Shearer lose focus – both promising to deliver ‘a brighter future’ and the Labour leader ditching policies specifically directed at putting more money into the pockets of the poor – I’ve no doubt that an accommodation can be reached between centre-right and centre-left. The centre is a wide church.  Read the rest of this entry »


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Critics rave over brilliant new TV comedy series coming to our screens soon!!!


Coming to your TV screen soon!!!

 In the wake of The Artist, New Zealand’s first SILENT television programme - The Politically Incorrect Meaning of Life Show, starring Mr Bean as a hilarious  Kiwi clinical psychologist with absolutely nothing to say.  



Side-splitting!!!  New Zealand Herald

I ALMOST WET MYSELF!!! Michelle Hewitson








Radio New Zealand responds to my post on Gerry Brownlee’s appearance on ‘Afternoons’ and I look for the full story.

This morning I received the following email from Radio New Zealand Communications Manager John Barr:

Hi Brian

Your latest blog post re political interference at Radio New Zealand appears to be based on John Drinnan’s Media column in Friday’s Herald. Radio New Zealand has requested a retraction from the Herald and John Drinnan.

Radio New Zealand provided the following written response to a question from John Drinnan on February 16th in relation to this story. The response was ignored and Drinnan’s subsequent piece suggests political interference in Radio New Zealand programming decisions. This implication is repeated in your blog post. Any suggestion that Radio New Zealand CEO Peter Cavanagh instructed anyone to interview Mr Brownlee is wrong.

I would appreciate it if you could correct this perception.

Radio New Zealand Response to John Drinnan Question of February 16th
Re The Panel and Mr Brownlee

As I understand it Gerry Brownlee was listening to The Panel segment discussing the Christchurch recovery effort and phoned in to contribute to the discussion. He wasn’t immediately able to get through to the programme producers however and was subsequently put through to the CEO via Reception. I can confirm that all communication to the programme was via Reception.

After a brief conversation with Mr Brownlee, the CEO spoke to the manager responsible for the programme and let him know that the Minister was available and keen to make some comments in relation to the Panel discussion but had been unable to speak with any of the production staff. The manager spoke to one the programme’s producers who advised they would be happy to have a chat with Mr. Brownlee before the programme finished.
It is absolutely clear that at no time was there any instruction from the CEO to anyone that Mr. Brownlee should be interviewed. Mr Cavanagh did not arrange for him to be put on the programme.


John Barr

It is clear that this version of events is entirely at odds with Drinnan’s version in last Friday’s Business Herald on which I relied for my post.  So which version is correct?   Read the rest of this entry »


‘Unlikely Things…’ an occasional diversion.

From the hilarious BBC satire Mock the Week: Unlikely Things to read on a Valentine’s Day Card.

1 Comment , , , , ,

Political Interference in Radio New Zealand: It won’t do, Mr Brownlee; It won’t do, Mr Cavanagh.

Good heavens, the idea that Cabinet Ministers could ring up the Director General  of the NZBC, as it then was, and throw their weight around, was already pretty well gone when I was an interviewer on the current affairs show Gallery in the late sixties and early seventies. If the Minister of Broadcasting himself wanted to issue a direction to the Corporation, he had to table the fact in Parliament. And it happened rarely.

One might have thought that 43 years later, the notion that it was OK for government ministers to interfere in the editorial affairs of public radio or television would be considered laughable. But apparently not.

Gerry Brownlee evidently  thought that his status as a Cabinet Minister entitled him to ring up Radio New Zealand and demand a right of reply to comments made on Jim Mora’s Afternoons programme some weeks ago by Christchurch MP Lianne Dalziel. The topic under discussion was of course the Government’s handling of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes and Dalziel was predictably unimpressed. Brownlee is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister and seems to have considered that his portfolio gave him the right to demand an instant right of reply on the programme.

The production team disagreed. As a regular contributor on the show, I can tell you that Afternoons is a tightly scheduled programme. It isn’t easy to slot in an additional item. More importantly, Afternoons would almost certainly have been  conscious of the significance of acceding to what amounted to a demand from a Government minister for immediate air time during a live broadcast. Brownlee was told that the programme could not fit him in.  Read the rest of this entry »


Why Fair Go must never be afraid to bite the hand that feeds it.

I probably should have commented on this story earlier, but the repossession of Q and Livy’s car, sold to them by an unlicensed dealer on Trade Me with a $7,000 debt owing to Pacific Dawn Finance, rather took precedence over everything else.

But this story is important. It strongly suggests improper editorial interference by TVNZ management in its high-profile consumer protection programme Fair Go.

The issue was brought to light by Labour Broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran when TVNZ management appeared before Parliament’s Commerce Committee.

Curran asked: ‘How can you explain reports that TVNZ’s Head of Programming called a meeting of Fair Go staff, including all reporters, together in the last couple of weeks and instructed them not to produce programmes that would upset advertisers?’

TV1 and TV2 head, Jeff Latch, said he had been invited ‘as a guest’ to the meeting. He went on:

‘The key points I made at that meeting were the fact that the heart of Fair Go for the last 20 plus years that it’s been on New Zealand television, is that it represents the underdog and the small guy and stands up for them and that’s what’s made it a special programme for New Zealanders for a large period of time.

‘I also made the observation that we operate in a commercial environment and that Fair Go like all our programs needed to exercise care in terms of the way they handle stories, they need to make sure they’re always balanced because in a commercial environment a story that is not balanced could be something that we would not want to run on this network.”

‘It wasn’t an instruction per se. I asked them to contemplate and think about when you’re looking at stories it’s very important that they’re balanced and we actually show both sides of the story and I think Fair Go does.’

This is a fascinating reply. Read the rest of this entry »


Our kids buy a car on Trade Me and get ripped off in a big way.

On 8 July of last year, our son Q and his wife Liv bought a 1998 Toyota Caldina from a seller on Trade Me for $3,600. They were satisfied with the sale and the car and Q gave this positive feedback to the seller: ‘The car was exactly as described in the ad.  All sorted out in good time. Great trade. Thanks.’

Yesterday a repo man from Pacific Dawn Finance (formerly a division of South Canterbury Finance) arrived at the kids’ house to repossess the car. Q was out of town and Liv was alone in the house with our small grandson and our granddaughter, who is one year old today.

The repo man was extremely kind and helpful. He explained that around $7,000 was owed on the vehicle by a previous owner. He knew how upsetting this must be and offered to make Liv a cup of tea.

Liv rang Judy and me in great distress. I spoke to the repo man and asked if it would be possible to defer the repossession for 24 hours, so that Liv could at least make arrangements to borrow another vehicle to take our grandson to kindy and generally get around. He reluctantly agreed.

I think the details of this case should be known.  Read the rest of this entry »