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Posts Tagged 'NZ Herald'

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 »


An addendum to “Oh dear, Paul, were you drunk when you penned this racist diatribe?”


In this morning’s Herald Paul Holmes offered a reply to the criticism of his column on Waitangi Day. It read:

‘Not that I’ve felt too much respite this week. But if you dish it out, I’ve always said, then you’ve got to be able to take it. But, my gosh. How dare I suggest there is anything negative about the way we commemorate Waitangi Day or suggest that the annual agitation there is putting many people off caring two hoots about it. From the reaction of some you’d think I’d called for the annihilation of a people.

‘But let me tell you this. While the objections to what I said have been strident, so has the support for what I wrote been immense. I’ve never had such reaction to a column nor had so much unsought support or affirmation. And I would suggest that what I wrote is what most people think but don’t dare say.’

There’s a degree of revisionism in the sentence: ‘How dare I suggest there is anything negative about the way we commemorate Waitangi Day or suggest that the annual agitation there is putting many people off caring two hoots about it.’ This implies some esoteric quibble with ‘the way we commemorate Waitangi Day.’ But the original was rather more strident:

‘Waitangi Day produced its usual hatred, rudeness, and violence against a clearly elected Prime Minister from a group of hateful, hate-fuelled weirdos who seem to exist in a perfect world of benefit provision. This enables them to blissfully continue to believe that New Zealand is the centre of the world, no one has to have a job and the Treaty is all that matters…

‘Well, it’s a bullshit day, Waitangi. It’s a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day. It’s a day when everything is addressed, except the real stuff. Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it’s all the Pakeha’s fault. It’s all about hating whitey. Believe me, that’s what it looked like the other day…

‘No, if Maori want Waitangi Day for themselves, let them have it. Let them go and raid a bit more kai moana than they need for the big, and feed themselves silly, speak of the injustices heaped upon them by the greedy Pakeha and work out new ways of bamboozling the Pakeha to come up with a few more millions.’  Read the rest of this entry »


Shock! Horror! Labour Luvvie spurned by David Shearer!

David Shearer shuns Labour Luvvie. I spotted this intriguing headline in this morning’s Herald. What could it mean? Who was ‘Labour luvvie’ and why had David Shearer shunned him or her: I just had to read on:

‘David Shearer needs media help and he’s getting it – but not from former Labour love Brian Edwards.

‘Edwards was paid to media-train Helen Clark and her ministers, and even got the SOS call from Phil Goff during the election after a couple of years in the wilderness.

‘However, he’s been left out in the cold by the dynamic new Labour leader and his chief of staff, Stuart Nash. Sources tell me Sean Plunket was considered for media advice, but Nash told The Diary there will be “no external media training”.’

OMG, imagine my consternation! I was ‘Labour Luvvie’. I am ‘Labour luvvie’. And I have been ‘shunned’ by David Shearer – ‘shunned’ by a man I didn’t even know I was dating. ‘Left out in the cold’ by the ‘dynamic new Labour leader’ and his chief of staff, Stuart Nash.

Can you understand the humiliation? To be ‘left out in the cold’ by someone you spoke to once outside a cafe in Herne Bay, without even the chance to mail a billet doux or plight your troth.

And the ultimate insult – to learn that he’s getting what he needs, but not from you!

Could this all really be true? Of course, it was in the Herald. And the writer was not just some anonymous hack, but tabloid intellectual and rapier wit Rachel Glucina whom I’ve long since forgiven for calling me ‘irrelevant’.

Still, I refuse to give up hope. Someone else is bound to come along yearning for a luvvie. I may not even have long to wait.


Milk and Honey off the menu


Photo: Dorothea Lange

Today  the Herald published a story lamenting the extra cost of local, free-range and organic foods, the very foods we’re being encouraged to buy and eat.  They estimate that the clean, green Kiwi options cost us on average 25% more. For people on a limited budget, that isn’t an option at all.

The Taranaki Daily News got closer to the heart of the problem with a story headlined ‘Free food draws poor kids to class’.  It quotes principals from Taranaki schools who say that some of their students rely on their school to provide breakfast and even lunch, just to survive.

Poverty in New Zealand is a problem we often conveniently ignore, preferring to see our country as a land of milk and honey.  Unfortunately, milk and honey are off the menu for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. More than 200,000 of our kids are living below the poverty line; over 48,000 of them go to school without breakfast.  

This is a disgrace. No child in this country should go hungry. No New Zealand child should be cold or ill-clothed or living in an unhealthy or overcrowded house.  No child should be denied an education just because learning is too hard when you arrive at school cold, wet and hungry – if you get there at all. Read the rest of this entry »


I receive and respond to an email from Amanda Hotchin

I have written four posts on Mark Hotchin. The first Reflections on not caring in Hawaii was highly critical of Hotchin’s and his wife Amanda’s seeming inability to comprehend why New Zealanders were offended by the contrast between the Hotchins’ current lifestyles and the current lifestyles of the thousands of Hanover investors who had lost not merely huge sums of money but their happiness and peace of mind as a result of Hotchin’s and Eric Watson’s greed and, by the most generous interpretation, mismanagement of the their investments.  

My comments had been largely triggered by a front-page report in the Sunday Star Times headlined Inside Hotchin’s Hawaiian Hideaway, in which Amanda was quoted as having said, “We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says.”  

I concluded:  

It really is quite an extraordinary statement, exemplifying as it does all the characteristics of Level 1 moral development – absolute selfishness, lack of conscience and indifference to the welfare of others. I don’t doubt for a moment that these people love their children and are kind to animals. But the misery which their actions have brought to thousands of ‘mum and dad’ investors seems for them to fall into the category of ‘long-distance impersonal harm’, all the more distant from a lounger by the pool in Hawaii.    

I have nothing but contempt for most of the finance company shysters, whether on Wall Street or Queen Street, who have wreaked such havoc in the lives of those who put their trust in them. But really my contempt is wasted. They don’t care. And it is their not caring that is the unforgivable crime.   Read the rest of this entry »


Holding the Workers to Ransom – A Different Perspective on the Hospital Workers’ Strike

Pic: Natalie Slade, NZ Herald

This morning’s Herald features a lengthy front-page story about the effect of a hospital workers’ strike on the parents of a 17-month old baby who was due to have surgery on Thursday.

Seventeen-month-old Rebecca Jones has cerebral palsy and was to have two surgical procedures this Thursday to ease constant pain and sickness, and help her take solid food.

Parents Cara Porter-Jones and Gary Jones had been preparing for the operation for months after being given the go-ahead in March, and have taken leave from work.

But Mrs Porter-Jones says that with just days to go, she received a phonecall saying her daughter’s surgery had been cancelled because of strikes at Auckland City Hospital.

“I broke down in tears. I was devastated,” she said.

“To put it nicely, I’m very, very, very angry. We’ve been preparing ourselves for this for weeks. Now that we were getting so close to it – naturally we’re very scared – and to be told that it’s been cancelled because people are fighting over money …”

Now the family are in limbo, as they wait for another date to be set.

I can entirely understand Mrs Porter-Jones’ anger. If surgery for a suffering child or grandchild of mine had been postponed in this manner, I would be looking for someone’s blood.


Read the rest of this entry »


Tabloid Herald misleads again.

I measured the front page of the NZ Herald this morning. Excluding the top and bottom margins, 25cm was taken up with advertising and glaring promos. Only 29cm was news content, and if you exclude the photos and headlines, there was precious little of that –  a mere 47.5 column centimetres of copy.

The front page of the Herald has become a travesty of journalism.  Today the headline screamed:  KIWI UMPIRES CAUGHT UP IN CRICKET SCANDAL.  The implication is clear: our umpires were in the thick of the match-fixing.

Squinting at the front page while I made the first cup of tea I wailed, “Oh no, not Billy Bowden!”  I’ve always been a fan of the outrageous Bowden and the concept of him being involved in match-fixing damn near curdled the milk.

So it was both a relief and an anticlimax to discover that Bowden’s  involvement in the “cricket scandal” amounted to umpiring the fourth test between England and Pakistan, and calling the staged no-balls  for what they were. Read the rest of this entry »


The Herald goes totally tabloid


Shock! Horror! A disastrous earthquake!  

North Island? South Island? The big one’s finally hit Wellington? 

No.  It’s in VANUATU, for god’s sake!!  There apparently wasn’t much damage and no-one was hurt. 

So what does the Herald do? Puts a great, blazing, misleading headline up to sell a few papers on the street. 

This was once a serious newspaper. Now it’s just a tabloid rag. 



Unconscionable Journalism from the New Zealand Herald

Bath tragedy: Mother’s fight to save baby This was the Herald’s front page headline yesterday. The subhead read: Twin dies after being left for ‘just minutes’.

From the story we learned that ‘a desperate young mother frantically tried to revive her baby daughter after finding the infant floating face down in the bath next to her twin sister.’

But the mother’s efforts were unsuccessful and the baby later died in Starship Hospital. The story continued:

‘Police are investigating the death but say it’s too early to know if charges will be laid…. It is understood the mother briefly left her daughters in the bath while she went to get something ready for them.

‘”It was just a matter of minutes,” Detective Michelle Shepherd, of the Waitakere child abuse team, said. “She immediately scooped her out of the bath. She phoned the ambulance who talked her through doing CPR.”‘

The remainder of the story highlighted the dangers of leaving small children unattended in the bath.

The story was back on the front page again this morning:

Mother of bath tragedy child on CYF list

Read the rest of this entry »