A guest post by Ad where he advances some challenging thoughts on how the Standard could improve.
Does it strike you that one of NZ’s very few leftie institutions (either party or media) to come out of the 2014 election unscathed is The Standard itself? Let’s roll that little aniseed ball around our mouths for a moment.
Television may still wield the sharpest media chainsaw in this rainforest, but the medium that will rebalance our entire political ecology is the one best suited to hand-held devices. A modern truism, with consequences for The Standard.
The Standard is most powerful leftie instrument in New Zealand. No union now has as much power as The Standard (regrettably).
So it would make sense to make it a vital part of the Labour post-election review.
The Standard is to Labour what Whaleoil is to National. I’m sure reading that feels like getting your legs waxed. Left and right and MSM can now see the power of blogs – what they have done and can do. This day was coming – it’s time.
Continuing as is, however, the Standard will become to politics what TransportBlog is to transport: preaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted. And therefore changing nothing. The Standard must march its banner out of home, or remain a media adolescent.
I want to put it right out there: The Standard can take the next step in New Zealand’s political order, and it should.
I did not start it, and am not an editor, so my comments are highly presumptive. But here’s my points for the Wittenburg Door:
1. Article authors should have expertise. Qualified authors will then be broken into the MSM with immediate quotability and echo. The Standard need not presume to contain debate within its amateur and largely anonymous ranks. Named authors will confront MSM dominance head on and become new media figures. Then let all commenters pour in.
2. The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world. Kill their own sites. Become the dominant portal for the future coalition. The Standard brings activists together like no other media in either digital or analogue worlds. That latent political potential now needs converting, I think with both Open and Members-Only sections. Not saying it will be easy.
3. The Standard should broaden out its targets. Check out the Australian site Crikey. It tracks its own power against Murdoch on a monthly basis. It has earnt its own swagger by taking on causes, egos, and winning.
4. The Standard needs to be reformed as a company. It needs a Board and shareholders, an advertising base that gains corporate and NGO respect, and have ambition. Have its own weekly (hell daily) editorial committee that directs theme and positioning – like grownup media do. It should seek to at least become NZ Site Number 2.
Why attempt this at all?
Not for its own sake, but because The Standard is the most powerful non-party leftie force in New Zealand. Neither Labour nor the Greens nor the Unions nor any leftie NGO can now live without it.
Because we’ve been bitching and moaning about how stuffed the entire leftie movement is for months now, when part of the answer is staring us in the face.
Because if we leave it as is, the default policy and political content on everyone’s devices this time next year will be Television Goddam New Zealand and the NZ Goddam Herald. They have massive marketing programs to achieve this.
With continued redesign, The Standard should be the default app for all leftie cellphone users. With redesign of its author system, The Standard can break more stories than Whaleoil. With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.
Let’s use this site to help get from We Lost to We Can Win, by doing and altering media our way.
I believe The Standard can and should be the primary media voice for installing and then critiquing the next leftie government. But The Standard needs to accept its own power.
It is time for The Standard to Put On The Ring.