Bauer closures not unexpected. They were invisible

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, April 3rd, 2020 - 31 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , , , ,

As is typical these days, I heard about the Bauer magazine closures by reading about them on social media. In this case from a post in SciBlogs by Sarah-Jane O’Connor. My initial reaction was shock because of the names of the publications – I have read most of those. But then I considered when the last time that I read them and the times before.

Consider that these magazines were, in my opinion, resolutely in the print space and I’ve been almost entirely in the digital space for most of the last two decades. And I’m a pretty conservative 60 year old. The way that Bauer approached its market would probably have probably appealed to my 80 year old father – who still watches the news on broadcast TV – something I gave up nearly a decade ago along with the aerial. But it is just another broadcast strategy and digital networking is all about discussion between people.

This isn’t because I don’t look at news and columns. I do that every day. It is usually before 7am, mostly in the dark with my partner breathing next to me and her face turned away from the pale light of my cellphone or tablet. Or I’ll read something while I’m waiting for a compile. Or collapsed on the bed after the ride back from work.

On my phone, I have a quick scan folder of 12 general publications that I read every day. They must be up front and online, have a high density of information that I want to know about, not too much advertising getting in the way of my reading and they must link to their source materials or explain where they get it from. They are either free to read, or I have a subscription (NYTimes, Economist, Medium, Guardian), or I’m mostly scanning headlines (NZH, SMH) to see if there is something I need to look at.

There are a lot of other things that I read as well more related to work or science. They mostly come through in emails like those from Quora or Feedspot. Or they’re things that I use everyday in the eternal search for ‘how do it..?’ and reach for Stack Overflow or Linux Questions. Then I have the links on the right of this blog with RSS feeds from a large range of sources, links in comments here, and the eternal garbage heap that is Facebook.

I’m awash with information. But I’m incredibly picky about clicks because my read time is limited and precious.

Now consider the marketing of the Bauer publications that have folded. I never see them because I don’t get links to their articles. 

Mostly I jump into a publication when someone who a vaguely trust not to be an idiot leaves a link in something that I read. That personal recommendation in facebook, reddit, on this site, or from whatever you’re already reading is the only media marketing that accesses most people in this digital age. To get that link from someone, you need to have an accessible read and things worth linking to.

I read part of a North and South while I was doing jury service in November. I’d forgotten to bring a battery or charger and my phone was running out of power. It was a 3 year old copy. Metro? Ummm – doctors waiting room – sometime last year. Last time I glanced at a Listener must be over 5 years ago.  I simply can’t remember reading a Women’s Weekly or its cousins in the last decade. it has always been like reading those ‘Paid Promotional Content’ at the bottom of the Herald’s articles. The titles titillate that there is information. But you know that if you click into them it is just going to be endless bullshit and clickbait. No different to Whaleoil before it sunk into unpaid court costs and awards against it plus liquidations and bankruptcy. 

As far as I am aware few had a permanent online presences – tenuous links like North & South on Noted were just odd.  Or they were incredibly hard to decide if you wanted to spend money on them like Metro and its NZ Herald style paywall.

It can still be behind a paywall. But repeated good reads will get people to pay the sub for access. That was how OneZero on Medium eventually got me to pay a annual $US 50 sub to Medium. People linked to it and Medium allow something like 5 reads per month. I happily scatter links to Medium when I write here or on facebook or where ever. I know that most readers will not hit the paywall. Conversely the Sydney Morning Herald has exactly the same system but less of interest for me to read. 

Which is why, in posts and comments, the links to NZ Herald on this site or the NBR have dropped like a stone since their paywalls went in. With the Herald, all of the interesting news or commentary like their editorial on Bauer closure is behind a hard paywall. But you can read the deluded ditherings of Mike (the Moron) Hosking for free. One I’d link to, the other is pure trash that Mediawatch just described as

It’s possible he exists in an eternal present where the past is eradicated every morning, just in time for Mike’s Minute to begin.

Another possibility is that Hosking is more concerned with criticising the government than being consistent.

The NZ Herald and NBR seems to regard free links as equivalent trash rather than the only marketing technique that really works in a digital age. But it has to be try without obligation or work before you buy.

I have no particular problems paying subscriptions. I personally budget for my household subscriptions to be about $2000 per year across media including TV streaming subscriptions. That is to say, it is bit more than the total budget for this site’s operation which is about $1500 per year (excluding the posturing of legal idiots like Dermot Nottingham). 

But for the digital generations, including me, if we can’t link to something readable when discussing the news or ideas with our friends and readers – then why would we bother subscribing to it?

In the wake of the Bauer closures, really the only question is going to be how long before other media companies with archaic pre-digital networking marketing strategies will follow? 

31 comments on “Bauer closures not unexpected. They were invisible ”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    Yes, you're probably right about the irrelevance of these analogue mags in the digital age.

    The back issues do have some useful historical info, however.

    In recent years I have read a few articles in the back issues of Metro, North and South, and The Listener, when doing some historical research in libraries. The National Library of NZ has an online, searchable digital database of indexes for past articles.

    Last year, I had email correspondence with a couple of relevant people at Bauer when I wanted to use a couple of articles/images from 60s-80s articles for an exhibition on NZ TV history. They let me use them for free, putting them in some category like "educational purposes."

    Unlike Fairfax that quoted me just under $200.00 for use of an article + image. I understand some other NZ newspapers charge places like libraries for use of historical articles in exhibitions.

    These costs are no doubt small beans compared with profits been sucked out of NZ and sent overseas.

    But now I'm wondering who will hold copyright for past NZ Listeners, Metro, etc?

  2. Adrian 2

    They do serve a good purpose for the large proportion of people who do not wish to be constantly looking at a screen.

    For all that it did not take long for the Newspaper Assoc and Magazine publishers equivilent to demand that the government exercise corporate welfare and buy the Bauer offerings, Stuff and NZME.

    The Bauer tactic is to collapse the NZ publications and replace with their Australian owned ones. It is how they operate.

    • lprent 2.1

      There are relatively few people under the age of 40 who’d prefer paper to a screen. My partner is mid-40s and still reads paper books, but I can’t recall her touching a paper magazine at home in 5 years. And the books in the shelves require constant dusting as her phone seems to be the reader of choice.

      I dumped all of my thousands of books in the early 2010s and put everything scanned or brought on to calibre in the home server, backed to AWS S3 and dropbox. It means I carry my library where ever I am.

      The problem is that Australian publications don't map well to NZ at all. At least not for anything that I read. Maybe the trash bait gossip publications like the Australian Woman's Weekly do?

      But I can't think of a single Australian publication that does NZ commentary or news of investigative that is worth reading.

      I read the ABC or the SMH site to keep track of aussie. I'm not reading it for NZ because they don't have anything relevant to NZ.

      • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.1

        So you don't rate the Aussie Overland journal (not that I read it much) or the occasional Guardian Australia article?

        • lprent

          I read the aussie articles on the global guardian site (along with the kiwi articles). Just like I read the occasional aussie or kiwi pieces in the economist. They are few and far and tend towards too long a view. They are global pieces about other countries.

          I've read the odd piece in Overland about NZ when it is linked to. I don't read it myself because it is a primarily a literary journal and the style tends to be less about solutions than complaining about issues. But I'll read stuff that comes up on feeds like this…

          But I know Joe and I'm interested in what he has to say because I know him and rate what he has to say as being interesting.

      • Wayne 2.1.2

        If you dumped literally all of your books nearly a decade ago, you are probably not indicative of the mainstream. Print books and magazines still have substantial sales and readership, and not just all old people. In fact the print edition of the Herald had increased circulation last year.

        So I think your analysis is highly skewed by your own use of media.

        I think it is probable that at least some of the titles will be purchased and republished.

        But the government has to bear some of the responsibility. There was no need to ban publication of all weekly/monthly magazines, especially given so much of it could be done from home workplaces. Thank goodness not every country has done that.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          I agree, Wayne, that Lynn's analysis is skewed to his use of the media. I also dumped my books a decade ago, and no longer buy them, except when I get given a gift token for books. I rarely re-read most of my books, and found there was little market for most used books.

          I do read a lot of books that I get from the public library. And as an ex-librarian, I know there are plenty of people who still prefer hard copies of books to the e-version. Some also prefer hard copies of magazines and papers, even when they are available online.

          Libraries also have hard copy magazines and papers that can be read for free, when the online version is paywalled. North Shore residents are more avid readers of NBR than westies, I have noticed.

          I also think Lynn's analysis has a conventional masculine bias. I have noticed this a lot from left wing males when they talk about the current state of the media. ie lots of research has shown that traditionally, males prefer news and current events(and sport) on TV etc. Females tend to prefer dramas focused on relationships on TV. Males prefer action movies: women TV dramas.

          I am somewhere in between.

          But Lynn's description of reading the news & current events in bed on his mobile, reminds me of my father. He used to read the NZ Herald, cover to cover, each morning in bed before going to work. My maternal grandfather also read the paper before going to work – not in bed tho. And he had first dibs on it over the other members of the family. The result in my family was men pronouncing their authority on politics, news, current events, etc.

          I like action dramas, news/current events, and sport, more than most women – but I also get a bit weary of just how skewed our media is towards conventional masculine perspectives – also in TV and movies, especially in the US, which tends to strongly feature males of all ages, with support from young females – and the women tend to pass the use-by date before they get very old.

          • lprent

            …that Lynn's analysis is skewed to his use of the media.

            Of course. That, after all was what I was writing about. My viewpoint on it and why I thought that. I could have given you an analysis that was skewed to my partners behaviour or my sisters or my fathers or my much younger colleagues at work. The latter don't even bother using printed copy any more let alone physical books or magazines.

            But from what I see they're all rushing in the same direction. Hard copy is becoming obsolete. Reading a curated magazines, rather than as a smorgasbord of similar material on a single large topic is becoming as passe as waiting each week for a episode of your favourite program.

            …but I also get a bit weary of just how skewed our media is towards conventional masculine perspectives

            So does my partner. So she watches her own TV shows, reads her own analysis, and does it on the same infrastructure types that I do. That is basically what the tech infrastructural change allows you to do. We watch and read on whatever happens to be convenient. Cellphones, TV screens, computer monitors, laptops, tablets, or even the odd bit of hardcopy. We do it in bed, on the bed, in an office chair, sofa, chair or just sprawled on the floor with a cushion.

            When we see something interesting, we flick it to each other with a bit of commentary. Even books – you can flick the book reviews.

            At present we have roughly about a 20% taste overlap in most things.

            The exception is in book formats. My reading pattern is completely different to hers. I really have no patience for any literary style writing – mostly because I can predict the repetitive pattern that seems to suppurate throughout the genre. I have little time for form triumphing over function. She really doesn’t like the infinite depth that I usually do on anything that I watch or read. She especially dislikes me starting to sprout what the next plot twist will be, especially because 75% of the time it is accurate. Of course reading the complete works of shakespeare at an early age does give you a sense of most probably plotlines.

            And that is not to say that curation is a dying art – it just has to be different. That is why I like Medium or the Economist or the NY Times. The curation is pretty damn fiercely effective and is why I read them.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Thanks, Lynn for your full reply. I do like that your comments are evidence-based, but I still disagree on many points. I think my response will be long, though I’ll try to be as brief as I can.

              The shift in digital media and capabilities does not happen magically as some function of societal necessity. It has been increasingly corporate driven. And the leaders have been driving online media and digital capabilities in a direction that suits them. The likes of Bauer media are not the leaders, but coat tail jumpers.

              Your perspective, as described by you, sounds like you are comfortable riding the direction this is taking. It isn’t working so great for many, as I have seen in those, of all ages and ethnicities, who rely on libraries for (bandwidth limited) digital/internet connections, and access to analogue print publications. For the homeless, hard copy books are a priority, with many resorting to hiding their books around libraries so they can continue reading them the next day.

              There’s also a whole issue about the role of hard copies in the preservation of historical material – which is sometimes in conflict with the direction digital technologies are taking us – a big and complex area.

              The corporate globalising logic of this digital direction also overrides the local needs and wants of small countries and communities. As Gordon Campbell explains, Bauer had no interest in nurturing local media for local audiences.

              The interests of such corporate media as Bauer are not in widespread democratic participation, across all sections of society, but in getting on board the greatest number of those who can pay.

              This is seen in the Covid-19 responses, which e-tangata critiques because Māori & Pacific people were not ready for the pandemic due to the digital divide:

              The PM also mentioned the digital divide in her presser today (Sunday) in relation to home schooling. Some homes do not have the digitally connected capability for this.

              These are just some egs of where I disagree with you, while I am also someone who likes a lot of what digital technologies provide. I’m selective in how I use it.

              On the sex/feminist line of discussion: Yes, many of us feminists look for material where we can find it, inside and outside the mainstream media – it helps sustain us. It also helps when women create their own perspectives inside and outside the mainstream. But there are caveats – as Audre Lorde stated in “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

              By this, she means not just technologies, but platforms and systems – and the tools created by those with the power of digital technologies are created to serve the systems in which they dominate. In liberal democracy, a fair amount of resistance is contained in the margins – it preserves the belief in democratic process, while working to keep the least powerful on the margins. Lorde’s view is of a black female lesbian, who sees others in these groups, kept in the margins with limited representations.

              Finding good representations of these and of low income women, within the current systems and platforms are hard to find. This is why I turn to analogue books, where I find some of what’s been missing from digital platforms and systems. As Lorde wrote, dismantling capitalist, patriarchal and white-dominated systems, requires something more. And those who gain something of a place within the current system and (often tacitly) continue to support it, are doing nothing for working to change the system for women as a whole. The same could be said for other marginalised groups.

              It is also concerning of just how much of the representations of above mentioned marginalised groups get written out of history. I wouldn't want to rely on the current direction of digital technologies to preserve them.

              • lprent

                I agree about the digital divide issues. The problem is that over the longer term there is the issue of the sheer convenience of digital, and that affects how much hard copy will be produced.

                There’s also a whole issue about the role of hard copies in the preservation of historical material – which is sometimes in conflict with the direction digital technologies are taking us – a big and complex area.

                Digital tech has some pretty severe issues compared to hardcopy technologies as you say. I’m probably even more sensitive about that you are.

                The obvious one is just how short a time that digital tech lasts. To take an moderate example, if you have a floppy disk from the late 1980s, the whole diskette will now essentially be frozen in the case. It is highly unlikely that you will still have a working drive to read it. Unless you did what I did to extract code off some floppies that were accidentally stored in the wrong place about 1995. I brought a USB floppy drive and a specialised prototyping floppy case.

                Cracked the case on the floppies, pulled out the media, put into the prototype case, and managed to read the 8 out of the 10 that still had meaningful data – that was 3 years ago.

                The code wasn’t a problem. That was just ascii, and there are turbo pascal, modula2, and c++ compilers around. The thesis written in Lotus Manuscript (great program at the time) was a bit of a problem until I extracted an antique converter for it to make a PDF for it.

                It is now on a bluray disk along with the contents of old CDs and DVDs. Now I’m worried about supporting that format.

                On the other hand, digital tech is great for copying material. Lots and lot of copies, very cheaply. So you can grab a hard copy of book, OCR it, and store it pretty cheaply. It is on my phone, dropbox, AWS S3, my raid6 system, my tablet, and critical systems are backed up on very high end blurays stored with a couple of new readers.

                That makes hard to find content easy to store and to keep on disaster systems, share and to retain.

                No more single point of failure issues like the fire at the library at Alexandria and the vast hole that left in the literature and histories of the classical era. Preserving material is mostly a matter of getting it copied to the archives and then replicated.

                Personally I’d like to drop copyright down to something like 10-15 years simply to make that easier and legal.

                But subject to the entire digital system going down

                By this, she means not just technologies, but platforms and systems – and the tools created by those with the power of digital technologies are created to serve the systems in which they dominate. In liberal democracy, a fair amount of resistance is contained in the margins – it preserves the belief in democratic process, while working to keep the least powerful on the margins.

                You need to look at it from the other end as well. I comment occasionally that about half my mind is on the net. The reason is because I mostly remember structure and how to reference the detail and implementation.

                My old library chewed up about a 1/10th of my apartment and I’d read every one of the 3-4000 books in it a minimum of 10 times. These days, my personal library is 17 thousand e-pubs old, new, and OCR. It can and does live on my phone as well many other places, and I’m continually finding gems to keep my mind entertained and expanding. The prices of a ‘book’ has dropped from being about $20 to being about $5 – most of the difference being the lack of physical production and lack of a distribution system.

                Similarly I’ve managed to stay an active programmer since 1979, and it has been my primary profession since 1991. That is a field that forever expanding. I started on paper manuals and almost had to die from study fatigue by the late 90s. Now everything is online and I can keep expanding into my favourite field pretty well indefinitely. I learn several new languages and a pile of libraries every year just for mental exercise apart from what I do for work.

        • woodart

          realistically most of those publications survive on ad sales, and that has sunk to nothing and will be that way for a while, so even if the gov had allowed them to continue, the axe still would have fallen. most magazine sales in NZ have sunk alot in the last few years, and were facing hard times before the virus happened. ignore the readership numbers of many of theses titles(a figure dreamt up to satisfy advert buyers) and look at the actual sales(hard to find because they show most advert buyers are wasteing money).

        • lprent

          If you dumped literally all of your books nearly a decade ago, you are probably not indicative of the mainstream.

          Correct. In tech areas and their impact on 'mainstream', I'm a conservative bell weather of the effects of tech. What I do almost invariably winds up where everything else goes in society.

          In just about everything that I do around the tech areas in society, I'm pretty much about exactly a decade ahead. That is because people who think like me start using useful tech in much the same way and we start doing it earlyish.

          I'm not very early adopter, nor a fashionista – both of whom are characterised by taking up things fast and then dropping them when they become uncool.

          When I take something up it gets integrated into my life, and over the following decade I watch many many people slowly adopt the same usages.

          Then I watch industries die or diminish in the transformational changes that flow through as the direct effects of what I adopted earlier. Accounting clerks, minicomputers, postal systems, chequebooks, the gateway nature of record labels or movie studios or media broadcast, landline phones, direct marketing, etc etc

          Been like that my entire life from the first time I picked up a 4 function calculator. Generally if you’d made policy and investments based on changes in my behaviour and others of my ilk over the last 45 years – they would have paid off like investing in microsoft when they rushed out MSDOS.

          So remind me why? What is the purpose of propping up a industry that has been clearly losing its audience for decades by clinging to a business model that is failing? I’d be more inclined to look at policies supporting legal and technical infrastructure of organisations like Medium or Spinoff as aggregators of interesting writing rather than the editorial direction of vertical segmented market silos.

          Incidentally I’m pretty sure that was why Bauer bailed. By concentrating on a larger market, they could bring their capital to focus on doing a technical shift in how they deliver their content. After all they’d be aware of exactly how fast everything is changing in the publishing field. While these magazines weren’t exactly failing, at best they were standing still and therefore not earning returns on the capital invested. It wasn’t if these publications would fail, because that was guaranteed – it was only when.

  3. weka 3

    Good write up.

    How difficult technically is it to produce a whole issue online that is pay to view, in a format that is functional? i.e. not using issuu type formats? Or should media be dropping the whole 'edition' thing altogether?

    I kind of miss that weekly routine/pattern. I grew up with the Listener, and bought it every week for 2 decades after leaving home (stopping the early 2000s when I couldn't stomach the content any more, although maybe that was also about the increasing internets).

    Otoh, I find TV series that are still released weekly rather than all at once annoying, but that's a bit different.

    • McFlock 3.1

      How difficult technically is it to produce a whole issue online that is pay to view, in a format that is functional?

      Not difficult in principle, but it takes thought around setup.

      The entire idea around a web page is that it separates content from style. So you put in plain text, and the instructions in the style sheet determine how it's displayed. Examples of the same basic text being displayed in different ways are at csszengarden.

      Newspaper sites like the ODT or Herald do it fine. If they are cut&pasting content manually from the web content management system to their publication output, they're doing it wrong. Whatever format their printer takes (let's just say pdf), they should be tagging up the same content as e.g. Webfrontpage and Paperpage3, then they click "publish to web" or "print". The web CSS handles the web published tags, the print CSS handles how it outputs to pdf (style sheets have typographic info as well that you wouldn't normally use on a website, e.g. facing page breaks).

      And it's not terribly difficult to do, just time and cash. All the tools are already in existence. Drupal, for example, is a content management system that lets you manage hundreds of websites through one database system. It has plugins that let you print via a cascading style sheet rather than through the usual print stream. Sadly I'm only at the level where I can see what it can do, but I don't know enough or have enough time to adapt it for my job (all our reports and articles are done with Word, which sucks for three people using it for writing the same document and version control).

      There's no reason NZWW isn't a mummy-blogging site that rivals Goop for bs in NZ. It's either a failure of imagination or, like my work, they never had enough time and resources to keep up with current tasks, let alone strategic infrastructure development.

      • weka 3.1.1

        ODT and NZH don't produce a daily online edition though (or do they and I just didn't know?)

        • McFlock

          Oh, so you mean like a website that mimics an actual newspaper? Like with issue date and page numbers?

          Interesting idea. Easy enough to do, for same reasons as above. Issuu-style stuff is a bit fiddly for me, but a middle-ground web page might be more useable.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Many newspapers and magazines are available on PressReader, which I can access online using my Auckland Libraries log in. Just checked. Today's ODT is there, as is The Listener, Metro – can't see NZ Herald.

            And they are scans of the hard copy and mimic them in flicking through pages.

            • McFlock

              Yeah I'm thinking direct content not scans, because that slows everything down and is a bit annoying, to be frank.

            • Ovid

              NZ Herald is on the version of PressReader available through Dunedin Public Libraries. So is the ODT. I don't see the Dom Post or the Press on it, though, so there might just be different licensing options depending on different libraries.

    • lprent 3.2

      It really isn't that hard technically apart from the transaction costs.

      Merchant fees for any online transaction are typically at least 20c per transaction. If you are doing an issue for the NZ Herald for instance which is something like $1:20 (?) to buy then an online transaction is a sixth of the revenue – ie too expensive.

      If it was a pay per article (which is what I'd like) there probably wouldn't be any revenue – just transaction costs.

      The obvious way to handle it is the way that prepay on cell phone operates or the hop cards operate. You push money in before use and then you can pay by accounting deductions on the amount.

      The problem with that is that is the multiplicity of outlets. Do I have an prepaid account for every single publication – where do I find the cash for that from? How many logins am I expected to deal with? What happens when I only find one article from the Listener worth reading in a year?

      The only generic solution would be to have a single payment provider who did that accounting. To make it effective, every local publisher would have to use that provider. It is always a pain trying to get any government organisation to provide this kind of service. They’re pretty useless at doing this level of accounting – you only have to try to login to any of their systems to find this out.

      In a lot of ways sites like Medium (print) or Spotify Premium (music) or YouTube Premium (video) provide exactly that as they provide a outlet for per article and per song access across multiple providers – albeit not as a pay per view but as a subscription.

      But none would require much work to shift to a transparent pay per view. Because they already capture who accesses the what and when. So clearly it is possible.

  4. Unicus 4

    thanks for the thorough analysis

    Frankly it’s good riddance to the lot of them they mostly survived on a menu of pappe and drivel about the British royal family or the cockeyed aspirations of the National Party

    The listener has traded for years on a fake reputation for progressive thought and opinion while slavishly publishing in support of neo-liberalism

    One happy windfall from this predicable collapse is that Jacinda will in future be spared the indignity of comparison with Paula Bennett or Broughna Key

  5. greywarshark 5

    Another comment about Bauer retreat. Chris Trotter –

    This government has voted itself almost unlimited emergency powers to protect the people of New Zealand from the worst effects of the Covid-19 virus. That mandate must go beyond simply looking after their physical well-being. If it is to mean anything at all, it must extend to emotional and cultural well-being also. If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating the virus, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.

    And thanks Adrian 2, for that insight about Bauer's facile behaviour likely to wipe our minds of NZ media business, skills, jobs and thinking and replace with a dominant Oz.

  6. Unicus 6

    CT does have his moments of irrational fervour but demanding this Government bail a fourth estate which forever has been biased/ – marrow innards and DNA against the Labour Party and its constituents may appear as just another absurd irony in a world gone wrong

    But Chris it seems does not regard his utterances as being in any sense ironic .He clearly believes his critique of a Government and party which appears to have no interest in bailing out it’s historical enemy with taxpayer funds

    As LBJ once said in an interview “Mr that question is like peeing in your pants – its only hot to you.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      I feel that CT annoys Labour fans because he doesn't always portray them as being wholely on good terms with reality, or he posits a different way of handling their task of developing policy that is both good for people and the country, or he is deliberately provocative to get people's brains working and to test the mood of those who profess interest in Labour principles.

  7. Just an observation – and one that concerned me 10 or 15 years ago.

    If people only ever expose themselves to media they actively SOLICIT, (rather than also exposing themselves the sights, sounds and experiences that come unsolicited) the chances of their view of the world, the nation, the community, the social, the political and the economic is likely to be limited.

    I'm not exactly heartbroken that any of the Baur publications have gone tits up because it was an inevitability of allowing concentration, tendency to monopoly and so on, but I've no doubt there'll be a grieving neighbour or two that can't get their feed of the Women's Weekly, or Metro, or the Listener, and it's going to be a bloody hassle to have to listen to most of them when they're unable to dress themselves in the latest fashion, or eat the latest fashionable cullinary delight, or tell them what some self-appointed sage suggests they think.

    It's all going to be QI

  8. woodart 8

    in another time when whalespew was running Truth(?) into the ground, he could have screamed and carried on like ralston et al. hah! missed opportunity ..

    • Whale spew sometimes contains ambergris, very very valuable to the perfume industry.

      I am not sure the perso you referred to as such was that valuable.

  9. Ovid 9

    I think this speaks to the dangers of having too much media in the hands of too few proprietors. Not just in terms of editorial line, but also if a company starts going into a death spiral, too much may be lost – which would be a risk of a Stuff-NZME merger.

    I don't know if any Bauer titles would be bought up by another company looking for an opportunity. The Woman's Weekly and the Listener could probably survive if there's someone who can capitalise on an opportunity out there.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      Like your far-seeing thought Ovid and hope that someone with the finance and can ensure that they don't lose their shirts, would buy up Listener and stuff. Better if there was a cabal of wise and moneyed people with ability to act for the benefit of the country knowing that there isn't as much money in it as being a property speculator.

  10. Who would buy all their liabilities in these changed times? The $1 price had fish hooks of numerous redundancies and debt in a changed world of crashed income. Bauer bailed.

    People who had them arrive in their mail box, picked them from their dairy or bookshop, swapped them with friends or borrowed them from shrinking libraries will miss them, the rest of us not so much.

    • patricia 10.1

      I got interrupted, so am replying to myself , What matters here is disrupted working lives on all sorts of levels That is to be regretted. What has been lost will be a painful loss of employment for many. We should have sympathy for them.

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