Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'New Zealand Herald'

Unseemly and unhelpful speculation from the Herald on balloonists’ last moments


It is entirely appropriate that every possible effort should be made over the coming months to determine what exactly led to the ballooning accident that claimed 11 lives on Saturday. That knowledge may make a similar accident less likely in the future.

Less appropriate is ghoulish speculation on the victims’ last moments alive – were they electrocuted, incinerated or killed when they plummeted to earth? The events are simply too raw for the relatives and friends of those who died to see such horrific scenarios canvassed in the media.

The Herald, however, had no such qualms, sending its reporter Amelia Wade off to interview a clinical psychologist, one Barry Kirker, on what might have been going through the minds of the eleven people as they faced certain death.  

Mr Kirker of course doesn’t know the answer to that question. No one does. But he was willing to speculate at length not merely on what would have been going through the victims’ minds, but on how their friends and loved ones must be feeling as well.

Mr Kirker’s speculations, the Herald tells us, included the observation that “the scenario was similar to that of the 9/11 victims, and the terror attacks might have put the thought to jump in Chrisjan Jordaan’s and Alexis Still’s  minds.

“A bit like the people who jumped from the Twin Towers in New York, they might have thought, ‘What the heck, we’ve got nothing to lose – if we don’t jump, we’re definitely going to die.’”

And he had another fascinating piece of psychological ephemera to offer:

“Mr Kirker said it would usually be the man who would take the lead in that situation and would suggest jumping from the basket to the woman.”

Mr Kirker doesn’t actually know who told whom to jump or indeed whether  any “telling” was involved, but his  theory will certainly give the couple’s parents pause for thought.  Read the rest of this entry »


One law for top sportsmen, another for an ordinary mum. The injustice of it makes my blood boil!

There are only two stories on the front page of this morning’s Herald. One, headed Secrecy over ex-All Black’s child assault, occupies the left hand side of the page. The other, headed Attacked girl’s mum faces court, occupies the right hand side.

To be strictly accurate, the right hand story consists  of nine  column inches of text and a 10 x 6 inch photograph of Melissa Anderson, the mother of the attacked girl, appearing in the Waitakere District Court to face a charge of assault. Ms Anderson had slapped one of two girls who had attacked her 13-year-old daughter Summer, leaving her with a black eye, a welt on the side of her face and cuts to her eyelid.

The left hand side story begins:

Name suppression for a former All Black who yesterday pleaded guilty to child assault flies in the face of Parliament’s aims, says a legal expert.

The former rugby star is the latest in a long line of top sportsmen who have appeared in criminal courts and been allowed to keep their identities secret.

The justification for the name suppression is given later in the story:

He was reportedly given name suppression because of his standing in sporting circles and in the community as well as to protect the identity of the complainant.

Another former high-profile All Black appeared in a Wellington court last week and he, too, was given name suppression.

In that case, the 45-year-old was charged with assaulting his partner… resisting police and possession of cannabis.

The Herald goes on to list eight cases since 2002 in which prominent sportsmen were granted name suppression. The cases involved a range of offences from spousal and child assault to rape, abduction and sexual violation.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Curious Case of Close Up’s Controversial Cloning

Have a look at this:

There’s very little, well, actually no doubt at all that this Close Up item on how many things in an average New Zealand home are actually Kiwi made, is an almost exact facsimile of an ABC America story on how many items in an average US home are actually made there. The idea is the same, the storyline is the same, the direction is the same, the graphics are the same, the commentary is the same. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Close Up version is a clone of the American story.

Plagiarism? Well, it depends.   Read the rest of this entry »


A Curious Omission by the New Zealand Herald

Last Friday the Herald published its latest DigiPoll survey. The poll brought good news for Labour. It was up 2.4% since the previous poll, while National was down 3.2%. The gap between the two had narrowed by 5.6%. The Herald’s headline “Poll: Labour gains, but Nats would still govern alone” fairly represented the situation.

At 70.6%, John Key’s rating as preferred Prime Minister had gone through the roof, the result, a sceptic might suggest, of more photo-ops in the press and on television than I have seen in more than 40 years of politician watching.

And Phil Goff? Still languishing in single figures? Another depressing 6 or 7 percent? Well, and this really is curious, that was the one figure from its DigiPoll that the Herald didn’t give us. So I had to find out for myself.

In the latest Herald DigiPoll, the Leader of the Opposition scores 12.4%, an increase on the previous poll, which in turn was an increase on the poll before that. And yes, it isn’t huge but it’s a lot higher than Helen Clark was polling at the same time in 1996, the year she would have become Prime Minister, were it not for the treachery of Winston Peters. 

What pollsters always tell us is that what matters is the general trend rather than any individual poll. Well, both Labour and Goff are trending up with almost 5 months to go before the election. So I wouldn’t write them off quite yet.

In the meantime, I’d really like to know why the Herald didn’t publish Goff’s rating which would have brought a degree of comfort to him and his supporters.  

Probably just an oversight, eh?


What actually happened on Jetstar flight JQ262 and should Martin Devlin have been taken off the flight by police? I investigate.

At 2.01pm on  Tuesday 24 May this year the New Zealand Herald ran a story on its website headlined “Martin Devlin Escorted off plane”.

At 5.48pm it updated the earlier report with a longer story headlined “Devlin says cabin staff ‘overreacted’”.

A front-page story in the next morning’s paper was headlined: “Air Rage: Evicted Devlin speaks out”. Its billboard that day read, “Air Rage – TV Star Speaks Out”.

All 3 stories claimed that “witnesses said Devlin was ‘making a scene’ and being ‘abusive’ toward crew.”

Wednesday’s front page story reported that sports broadcaster Martin Devlin had been removed by police from Jetstar flight JQ262 which had left Wellington the previous morning destined for Auckland, but, after circling for an hour,  had been forced to return to Wellington because of fog at Auckland airport. The plane eventually landed in Wellington at midday. It had been in the air for approximately three and a half hours.

According to the Herald:

“Witnesses said he [Devlin] made a scene and was abusive after it was diverted back to Wellington.

“A Jetstar spokeswoman said there was ‘just the one’ passenger who had caused trouble.

“A person who was on the plane said that when passengers were later let back on the plane, Devlin did not return. On the diverted flight Devlin had been abusive and making a scene, the passenger said.

“Police said no charges had been laid.”

The Herald story went on to remind readers that, “In December, Devlin was charged after an incident on Quay Street, Auckland, in which he jumped on the bonnet on his wife’s car.”

The Herald’s claim that “witnesses said” Devlin had been making  a scene and was abusive to cabin crew was subsequently reported by One News (on its website), 3 News, Newstalk ZB, The Otago Daily Times and Stuff whose network includes ten newspapers, including the Dominion Post and The Press. All mentioned the earlier event when Devlin had jumped on his wife’s car.

It is true that Devlin was escorted off the plane by police when it landed in Wellington. They did so in response to an in-flight call from the captain who (I am assuming) had received a complaint from one of his cabin crew.

It is almost certainly not true that Devlin had “made a scene” or “been abusive to cabin crew”.   Read the rest of this entry »


The Herald offers the inside story on Darren Hughes’ ‘fateful night’. Read it and be there!


Andrew Gorrie/Dom Post

Here are the known facts about the Darren Hughes matter:

On March 2, after taking part in a humorous debate, MP and Labour Party Chief Whip, Darren Hughes, went with a dozen or so students to the Matterhorn bar and restaurant in Wellington’s Cuba Street. Mr Hughes was next seen with a group of people at The Establishment in Courtenay Place. The President of the Victoria University Debating Club, who saw him there, described him as ‘just having a chat to people around him, being a good guy. He wasn’t particularly drunk. He seemed fine.’

Mr Hughes left the Establishment Club with an 18-year old male student. The two went to Annette King’s home where Mr Hughes boards. Mrs King was in bed asleep at the time. The student left some time later and is reported to have ‘run into a police car’. He then made a complaint to the police about Mr Hughes. The complaint has been widely reported in the media as being ‘of a sexual nature’.

Police are reported to have  questioned Mr Hughes and to have  visited  Ms King’s house and taken items away. They confirm that they are investigating a complaint against an MP.

Mr Hughes, who yesterday volunteered that he was the MP concerned,  has been given leave by Labour Party Leader Phil Goff and has voluntarily stood down as Chief Whip and Education spokesman.

Mr Hughes is adamant that he has ‘done nothing wrong’.

[That explanation took 231 words.]

The New Zealand Herald devoted the greater part of its front page and all of Page Two  to what it called the ‘LABOUR MP SAGA’.

Its front page headline (and its billboard) read ‘Inside Accused MP’s fateful night’.   Read the rest of this entry »


Extra! Extra! Read all about it – Newpaper editor sets out to prove blogger right!


Some of you may have thought I was overstating the descent of the New Zealand Herald from quality broadsheet to trash tabloid in yesterday’s post. If so, today’s front page might just give you pause for thought. The style of the Hotchin headline – provocative quote from bad guy, screamer fonts, cut-through red for the damning evidence – combined with a photograph of Hotchin looking like someone you might expect to see on America’s Most Wanted and body copy which essentially says, ‘Filthy rich bastard wants even more!’ – all of this would sit perfectly comfortably on the front pages of the News of the World or The Sun.

There is  just a slight problem with the headline  which is clearly intended to convey the idea that the words ‘I need $7000 a week’  are a quote, that they were actually spoken by Hotchin. But there’s nothing in the story to support that at all. Indeed, the third para of the story reads: ‘But that’s not enough for Mr Hotchin and the Herald understands he has sought to increase that limit to between $6000 and $7000 so he can pay for rent, living costs, a hire car and private school fees for three children.’  Unless I’ve misunderstood the story, Hotchin didn’t speak the words in the headline at all.  Read the rest of this entry »


Shock! Horror! Front page Herald investigation reveals Mark Hotchin is wealthy man!!!!!

Herald/Brett Phibbs

The Herald devotes most of today’s front page to a story headlined ‘LUXURY HIDEAWAY – Mark Hotchin hot and bothered as Herald calls in’. There’s a large photo of Hotchin looking ‘hot and bothered’, a photo of the ‘luxury hideaway… overlooking the golden sands of Mermaid Beach’ on the Gold Coast and a sidebar reminding readers (How could they have forgotten?)  of other properties owned by Hotchin, including ‘the $30 million extravagant Paritai Dr home in Auckland’.

From this story you will learn that Mark Hotchin is a very rich man with lots of expensive real estate in nice places, whose assets have been frozen but who has been granted a $1,000 a week living allowance.

In other words, from this story you will learn absolutely zip, except perhaps that nothing delights journalists so much as the opportunity to climb on a bandwagon, even if that involves flogging the dead horse pulling it. (Sorry!)

But I did like the use of the term ‘calls in’ in the headline and, later in the story: ‘He’s unhappy that the Herald came calling on his multi-million-dollar Gold Coast property during the weekend.’ I had no idea that Hotchin and the Herald or its reporter Andrew Koubaridis were on such friendly terms that they could just ‘call in’ or ‘come calling’ on their old buddy Mark.  But it does make his angry reception of them all the more bewildering.

As with Tristram Clayton’s airport ambush of Hotchin on Campbell Live, the only sensible words spoken in the Herald story came from Hotchin himself: ‘Leave it to the courts, they’ll sort it out.’  Read the rest of this entry »


New Zealand’s Next Top Ratbag Newspaper


The Herald’s decision to publish the names of the final six contestants in TV3’s  New Zealand’s  Next Top Model  programme was petty, mean-spirited and unnecessary. The story had nothing newsworthy about it,  other perhaps  than in revealing a particularly nasty streak in the paper’s editorial staff.  Even that will barely be news to most people. 

At present there are still 12 hopefuls in the televised competition. Since we now know the names of the six finalists, we also know the names of the six who won’t make it.  What purpose was served by spoiling viewers’ enjoyment of the programme for the six weeks it will take the  outed losers to be sent home, is beyond me, except to allow Herald reporting staff to tee-hee behind their hands in the toilet.

They  will have spoiled things too for the outed girls, each of whose survival over the coming weeks can scarcely be celebrated by them or the viewers who now know that their hopes and dreams are bound to come to nothing.

Almost more cynical than publishing the names was to tease the story with a large photo of one of the six finalists top left on the front page with the text EXCLUSIVE PICTURES – Top Model final few revealed  A3 and a small diagonal banner bottom left with the words SPOILER ALERT. The sole purpose of that was of course to whet your appetite for what was on Page 3. Which meant, if you think about it, that if you didn’t want to know who were the ‘final few’, you couldn’t turn to Page 3 at all or probably even to Page 2 opposite.

All in all this was just a piece of gratuitous nastiness on the part of the Herald, which I happen to know [SPOILER ALERT]  is a shoo-in to win this year’s award as New Zealand’s Next Top Ratbag Newspaper.

Congratulations guys!