Audrey’s journalism fail

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, March 24th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

Like most on the left I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the Herald’s current bias toward National but today’s effort by Audrey Young is a new low altogether.

You see it’s not just that she writes up all of John and Paula’s lines it’s that she provides no balancing comment.

The result is that her story reads like a government statement.

This kind of thing could be excused if the story was a wire piece put together to take the story out as fast as possible but it wasn’t. It was a piece filed for the next day’s paper with plenty of time to quote some reaction.

In fact by 1:37pm yesterday she could have quoted the Green’s co-leader person Metiria Turei saying:

Beneficiaries make meaningful contributions to society. They pay taxes, volunteer in their communities, and support children and other family members. They deserve to be treated with respect, which is sorely lacking from this Government.

By 2:54pm yesterday she could have quoted benefit rights activist Kay Brereton saying:

This government has sat on its hands while tens of thousands of Kiwis lose their jobs and now the minister responsible for this dire situation, Paula Bennett, is blaming the very people she has failed.

At any time she could have picked up the phone and asked Labour’s acting wefare spokesperson, Ruth Dyson, what she thought just like RNZ did or Phil Goff like NZPA has.

But she didn’t. She gave only one half of the story and that was the government’s.

I’ve got a lot of respect for Audrey but if a journalism student handed in this story as an assignment they’d fail.

26 comments on “Audrey’s journalism fail”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Ruth Dyson??? Don’t you mean Annette King?

    • IrishBill 1.1

      No I mean acting spokesperson. Annette wasn’t available yesterday. I’ll fix the post

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Its becoming a pattern with Audrey.
    Armstrong has long been Nationals policy parrot.
    I think she has become part of the team in the beehive.

  3. I don’t think the Herald is totally biased towards National – they carry critical op-eds and stories all the time. But their gallery office has certainly been captured by the government. They rewrite the governments press releases into more condensed versions but that’s the only function they provide. It certainly isn’t journalism.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I wouldn’t say total bias either but they currently have interests that are more aligned with National than labour.

      I like Audrey and I’ve previously had a lot of respect for her work but I think you’re right in your analysis of gallery capture and having Paddy go over to TV3 won’t help (btw is he getting any better? I haven’t watched for a week or so).

      Danyl, do you think Kevin Taylor’s personal relationship with his ex-colleagues has anything to do with it?

      • TightyRighty 3.1.1

        what about the rampant left wing bias in the other big N. Island daily the dompost yesterday? i didn’t see to many balanced comments in their yesterday. the op-ed pages was one big left wing policy hurrah. i complained last night, mainly by using it for BBQ fuel, but on reflection this morning, it’s all swings and roundabouts for when the government and it’s suppourters re allowed to post self-promoting pieces. i don’t read the full op-ed section in the Herald every day to exactly know, due to being to busy to indulge in supporting lazy journalism, but i’m fairly certain it works the same way.

        • Bright Red

          “rampant left wing bias” in the Dom?

          you mean on Tuesday when the Dom ran an op-eds by Former National Chief of Staff Richard Long and Former National Minister Simon Upton?

          or are you thinking of today, when it has “Dream is over, Bennett tells unemployed” on its front page and a pro-mining, fact-free editorial?

          • IrishBill

            I thought the Dom gave good balance with the nightmare story on the front page and the reaction quotes/human story on page two. The photo of Bennett they used was particularly unflattering.

            • Bright Red

              I’m just saying, you can hardly accuse them of leftwing bias. That doesn’t mean that I’m accusing them of rightwing bias.

              • IrishBill

                I agree. I also expect a right-wing bias in editorials as they are the voice of the business class. The Dom is very good at keeping its news balance however.

          • TightyRighty

            can’t you guys read a full comment? or is it just SOP to only focus on one point? as i mentioned, it’s all swings and roundabouts in the dailies. there are plenty of left wing biased articles in the herald too, it’s just you get all wrought up about the same few columnists. Tapu-misa and rudman can hardly be labelled with your favorite ephitet “RWNJ’.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Audrey Young isn’t a columnist, that’s kinda central to the point.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Obviously the dream hasn’t finished for TR.

  4. tc 4

    Quite Irishbill but if she handed a balanced pice into her masters at granny herald she’d be sent back to re-draft the press release to masquerade as a balanced opinion piece.

    These aren’t journo’s anymore in the msm and IMHO the best journalism exists on blogs such as this which can balance, listen to both sides and rebut with reason, intelligence and the weight of statistics to back the assertions.

    Style over substance and don’t let truth get in the way of the spin is precisely the way NACT want it…..cambell tries sometimes but the call of the advertisers and the lobotomised 7pm timeslot sucks him back to banality everytime.

    labour take notes…..this is how you control the swinging voters via the msm.

  5. Danyl, do you think Kevin Taylor’s personal relationship with his ex-colleagues has anything to do with it?

    Nah – on the contrary I think that probably complicates things a little bit.

  6. The fixation with the Herald is the political equivalent of NZ rugby’s fixation with blaming the referee for the RWC loss in 2007. I had a discussion late last week with a couple of experienced business types who were ranting about the left wing bias in the media (clearly giving different examples than the above).

    If you don’t like what someone writes, don’t read it. And don’t quote it in blogs which then lends some credibility to it and draws attention to it.

    • prism 6.1

      Daveski Follow your own advice, don’t read and contribute to this blog.

      IrishBill: A little respect for other commenters please.

    • A Nonny Moose 6.2

      This is basic journalism Daveski. Granny is situated as one of the main media outlets, and has been for many years.

      The “don’t like, don’t read” admonish is lazy – if everyone stepped down from constructive criticism of the media, then they’d have unchecked reign to publish whatever the hell they wanted. We have a responsibility to them as they do to us.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Compare with this earlier piece by Jane Clifton, who actually seems to sit in the House during debates

    “Prime Minister John Key added his congratulations for Dr Smith’s winning Belgian Blue cattle, saying: “Blue things always do well!”

    And that was about as nice as it got for the Speaker for, within minutes, Mr Key was pretending not to hear Dr Smith telling him to sit down and shut up a pretence facilitated by turning his body away from the throne so he could claim not to have noticed the Speaker on his feet.”

    Key ignoring the Speaker ? Who knew

  8. dave 8

    This has nothing to do with Kevin Taylor. Young was at a media conference. She reported it. endastory. you don’t appear to understand balance in media stories.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Nothing to do with Taylor ? . Key doesnt open his mouth without his minders present to hustle him away when the questioning gets difficult

  9. dave 9

    Young was at a media conference , she reported it. End of story. You don’t appear to understand media balance in stories – and Kevin Taylor has nothing to do with it. NZ Herald is not a blog, you know…

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      She’s reporting the policy, Dave, not the conference.

      You can tell by the way she writes

      Me Key (sic) at a press conference referred to the fact that both he and Paula Bennett had had first-hand experience of the welfare system

      “a conference” about the thing I’m writing about, not “the conference” I’m writing about.

  10. Bright Red 10

    dave. journos’ jobs are not to go to media conferences then report what the speakers said.

    If that was their job, we could just read the press releases instead of bothering with journos.

    Journos’ job is to cut through the spin, usually by seeking contra-opinions, not just offer it up on a plate.

  11. prism 11

    Interesting facts from Audrey’s piece.
    “The moves are expected to cost $88 million over four years but savings are estimated to be around $100 million over the same time.
    Estimated savings will be $57 million over four years. Mr Key said the reforms were not focused on saving money in the short term but on “improving outcomes for beneficiaries.” But they would also help the sustainability of the welfare system.”

    That’s the bit I liked where King John said its not about saving money in the short term but on improving outcomes for beneficiaries.

    “At present 345,000 people are on a benefit and the annual welfare bill is $4.8 billion.
    How many of these are OAPs like me? We are the largest cost to the nation, and should be expected to put time in at volunteer work, casual, part time work while we are able. We should be expected to put something back into the community, not think we can live comfortably on others relying on a myth that “I’m living on the taxes I’ve paid all my life” as if they went into a retirement fund. Muldoon stopped that because it didn’t provide enough but replaced it with large expectations of income with no expectations from the government of contributory work in return. Its unsustainable and unfair on NZ taxpayers, but go on kick the DPBs and unemployed and sickness and invalid beneficiaries, while able-bodied 65-70s are around. And when I suggest volunteer work for all such olders I have been roundly criticised. They are so stupid, because they choose not to face that what will happen is that the age will likely be raised for all to be in paid work till 70 years. Which means WINZ on your back, harrassment etc. Pushing for volunteer work recognition would get around that – Marilyn Waring’s ground-breaking work on its value probably has never been issued from the parliamentary library.

    “Changes were also announced to the childcare assistance paid to providers meaning that fewer well-off families will qualify – though current users won’t be affected.
    From September, qualifying threshold annual incomes for one child will be cut from $77,272 to $72,800; for two children from $88,296 to $83,200 and for three or more from $99,320 to $93,600.”
    Government aways seems unwilling to get alongside families and treat them as important and offer them help when needed. And many taxpayers gripe about paying good tax money to help families though research has shown the high expense of caring for children.
    And apparent high incomes seem quite different if the income is amalgamated from two, one at $45,000 and the second at $27,800 equals $72,800. Trying to both work to pay off a mortgage, with incomes round the median as these would be, also hoping for a family at the prime age of 20-30 years having just one child and hoping to manage – well it isn’t big money and the childcare help would be sorely missed.

  12. Ron 12

    “If that was their job, we could just read the press releases instead of bothering with journos” which is basically what we got yesterday in most media.

    It’s all very well to include balance later in the story but when every story started with “The Deream is Over” “Beneficiaries have had it too good too long” etc the spin from the Government’s releases out weighs any attempt at balance.

    The thing that most irritates me is that journos are making no effort to report that people on the UB and DPB are constatntly monitored, required to0 provide prooof of their job seeking and having their benefits reviewed.

    This is pure dog whistling, crowd pleases rhetoric. You just have to listen to the “m,an in the street” responses to it. The Tories will be loving it.

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