web analytics

Journos on the declining state of journalism

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, April 15th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , ,

A mate sent me this screen grab: “Gov-Gen to attend PM’s funeral”.

To me, it says a hell of a lot about the state of the media in this country that a sub-editor, or whoever they have writing headlines these days, does not know the difference between a president and a prime minister, and that no-one else at Stuff spotted the mistake before it went up.

It reminded me of the very good segment in Mediawatch last Sunday about the media’s coverage of non-stories like Andrew Williams’ drink and Charles Chauvel’s comments on the plane.

While it was a pity no-one in the segment made the connection between the side of the spectrum being attacked with these stories and their obvious source, Mediawatch took a good look at the issue of what’s going on in the media that these stories are being picked up. They interviewed several major journos, starting with Colin Espiner who wrote a blog post the other day attacking this decline in journalism.

In the interview, Espiner said there had been times that press gallery staff had chosen not to run stories that they knew their news editors would want to run if they knew about them. Espiner didn’t really offer an explanation for the growing prominence of these stories. But I think that we got the reason a little while later in the piece when Duncan Garner talked about how he is having to produce more and more material, and make more and more appearances.

They’re understaffed and they’re under intense pressure to produce more. The result is the ‘easy’ stories, often coming from some mud-throwing blog, get picked up and more and more material is being produced by generalist reporters who don’t know their arse from their elbow when it comes to politics.

Espiner talked about this last factor and the importance of getting experienced press gallery journos up to cover the Auckland mayoralty. I think his belief that the press gallery won’t get taken in by all the mud-slinging from the various candidates is a bit on the optimistic side though.

I don’t think that political news coverage is getting more sensationalist and more vacuous because the public wants it that way. One only need look at the slamming readers gave the Herald and Stuff in their online comments for covering the Chauvel ‘story’ to see that we don’t want politics reduced to gossip column pap. The problem is the media, not the audience.

And it’s not just limited to politics. Another mate sent me this story on exo-planets. He was simply astounded by the sentence “The planets are revolving around nearby stars within 1,000 light years of our galaxy.” The agency journo, who one would expect is in their science team, doesn’t know the difference between a solar system and a galaxy. I guess it’s a bit like a journo writing political pieces not knowing the difference between a prime minister and a president.

17 comments on “Journos on the declining state of journalism”

  1. Bored 1

    “Gov-Gen to attend PM’s funeral’. heres hoping (not very charitably).

  2. Bored 2

    “Gov-Gen to attend PM’s funeral’. Heres hoping (not very charitably).

    Capcha Die

  3. tc 3

    Espiner came across as the hypocrite he is on Mediawatch and it was a bit like getting the dunce class to set their own exam questions.

    IMHO the benchmark is mediawatch with the intelligence and even handed approach required to lay bare the lack of intelligence/experience/objectivity in our msm.

    A piece they did awhile back (after the GFC imploded) on journo’s undergoing financial training so they could report such issues with a bit more depth then what the finance companies/banks etc would like was a classic…..the horse was already long gone and the recent ACC no-crises shows the ankle deep nature of the investigative pool didn’t get any deeper.

  4. prism 4

    “doesn’t know the difference between a solar system and a galaxy. I guess it’s a bit like a journo writing political pieces not knowing the difference between a prime minister and a president.”
    Don’t think these two compare. Knowing how the rest of our human world functions and who’s who, is for me far more important than titbits about the wonders and science of space. We need to be aware of looming problems there but otherwise I say, let space get on doing what its doing, and let’s attend to what’s going on under our noses on this planet which we just might be able to do something about if we all pull together. Watch the blue ball man, watch the ball!

    • Bright Red 4.1

      maybe, prism.

      But in terms of journalistic professionalism I would agree with Eddie – a journo writing a piece on astronomic discoveries should have, at the very least, a typical person’s knowledge of the topic. I would have assumed the ordinary person knows enough about astronomy to at least to not confuse a solar system and a galaxy.

      Ideally, you want journos to be expects in the field they’re writing in

      • Ideally, yes, they should be experts. But there are simply too few journos left for that to happen. The days when a reporter had a beat (crime, council, health etc.) are long gone. The few staff left are expected to be generalists. They have no time to learn specific areas, nor to generate stories by investigative work. They certainly have to be good at rewriting press releases, but sadly, newspapers no longer want or need good journalism, because there is no public demand for it..

  5. uke 5

    In some ways, though, with their rampant right-wing politics, tabloid values and sloppy reporting, the mainstream print and TV media can be more easily identified as “the enemy”. Better to have fewer illusions.

    After all, there is Scoop and all the other “alt” media to give us direct information in the form of press releases and investigative pieces.

    RNZ is still okay too, but does anybody find it strange that economists from Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are still being consulted on air for the business reports?

    • Lew 5.1

      You find it strange that experts on the markets are being consulted on the state of markets?

      L

      • uke 5.1.1

        Strange, yes, in that they represent the sector and received “expertise” that has signally contributed to the global financial collapsing. I would have thought some balancing might be in order in who defines our economic “realities”, though admittedly I’m not sure who these alternative experts might be…

  6. Herodotus 6

    Why should political journos be any different to say sports journos. They feeb the plebs what we are conditioned to need/want/desire !!!
    If you cannot get the story to fit a 30 sec gap then it is too complictaed, look at the 7:00 fillins on TV 1 & 3. They are all fulffys, so too are the mags.
    As a very sad item (And I am one who must own up in searching Tigger) Tigers actions. That grabbed headlines all over the world for how long? The Masters was all about him until someone else won, then Phil had a “nice” (I reluctantly use this word as I can fin d no other so I hope this will not cause offense) story.
    The media is ALL entertainment a replacement for the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum, all we have replaced is the death element.
    Why would the media outlets change? Look at TV 1 there are 3 segments for the weather and 1/4 for sport does that not tell you!!
    Just Smile and wave to success.

    • uke 6.1

      “a replacement for the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum, all we have replaced is the death element.”

      Are you kidding? The death element is still there in spades, just fuzzed out slightly (for the advertisers sake): Iraq, Afghanistan, natural disasters, people starving to death, car crashes, plane crashes, luge crashes, dog attacks… All televised spectacles that are broadcast to cater to the morbid curiosity of the viewer.

      We are still thoroughly sick in the mem-brain, perhaps more than the Romans ever were. After all, they didn’t frame their cruel spectacles with the likes of Simon Dallow getting all furrowed-browed and emotionally wounded-looking.

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Aside from lack of depth of knowledge, a number of journos (even some of the senior ones whose lack we’re lamenting) fall prey to something approaching fandom.

    Paul Holmes and his excreable “I had dinner with Helen and Peter” pieces, for instance. Barry Soper and his endless “…this one time, with Winston…” stories, told to anyone not fleet footed enough to make a mistake. And I still remember bemusement turning to shock and then to disgust as I was talking to a former very senior journalist who took a mobile call from Helen Clark and gave every appearance of needing the smelling salts (and certainly of being desperate to let me know that, wow, the PM had personally called her and they were like, BFFs).

    I’m sure the same is true of some journos and Key (and other prominent political figures) now… I’m just not close enough to observe it any more.

    My point isn’t that there’s some leftist media conspiracy going on, it’s that too many journalists are too easily taken in by being favoured and confided in (but really not to any significant degree) by the famous and powerful.

    We need more (and more editors) who realise that politicians – especially in NZ – are nothing but glorified school teachers, farmers, suburban lawyers, money traders and the like… the kind of people who, if we met them in a bar, we’d excuse ourselves and sneak out the back rather than be bored by them.

    • Galeandra 7.1

      Why are you like so many others, a schoolteacherist? Robert Jones made much of our third sexdom, but I can attest that we no longer wear grey shoes and I shaved the mo in ’92.

  8. bobo 8

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/opinion/3586919/Keys-North-American-successes

    More poorly written dribble about “Keys North American Successes” all he did was have dinner with some congressmen, as if he would have any influence over them as the article tries to overplay.

  9. Puddleglum 9

    Nick Davies’ book “Flat Earth News’ is a pretty good analysis of what’s wrong and why with the modern media – fewer journalists, more stories, fewer sources, reliance on the ‘wires’ (who themselves have fewer journalists), ‘grocers’ in charge, PR packaged news and pseudo-events to make it easy for journalists to come up with the number of stories they’re required to file, no checking, commercial logic, CIA run newspapers, etc., etc. – all prime compost for the status quo/elite versions of events. A mess, but not a random mess.

    In similar vein, Sharon Beder’s scholarly book on the US power industry (Power Play: The fight for control of the world’s electricity) is a revealing history of how utilities companies actively set about a scare-mongering propaganda programme before the Second World War to avert the possible nationalisation/public ownership of the energy industry. The secret campaign included planting thousands of unacknowledged editorials in US papers and the more direct planting of paid operatives in public meetings decrying the dread socialist/communist threat behind such proposals (this, a long time prior to McCarthy), It was that campaign that was seminal in creating the modern American mythical aversion to so-called ‘un-American’ socialism. Prior to that, it was seen as American as apple pie – or at least as a viable option. (see http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/power.html) – sorry, I’ll find out how to do a link.

    All told, an incredibly depressing picture.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Emission trading reforms another step to meeting climate targets
    The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will finally start to cut New Zealand’s greenhouse gas pollution as it was originally intended to, because of changes announced today by the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw. The changes include a limit on the total emissions allowed within the ETS, rules to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Queen’s Birthday Honours highlights Pacific leadership capability in Aotearoa
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List provides an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa. “The work and the individuals we acknowledge this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership that we need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt backing horticulture to succeed
    The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Applications open for forestry scholarships
    Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones. “I’m delighted Te Uru Rākau is offering Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships for the third year running. These ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Excellent service to nature recognised
    The Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List once again highlights the dedication by many to looking after our native plants and wildlife, including incredible work to restore the populations of critically endangered birds says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. Anne Richardson of Hororata has been made an Officer of the New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding
    The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones have announced. New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New fund for women now open
    Organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. “We know women, and organisations that support women, have been affected by COVID-19. This new money will ensure funding for groups that support women and women’s rights,” said Minister for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality
    Healthier waterways are front and centre in a new project involving more than 300 King Country sheep, beef and dairy farmers. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “Yesterday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Libraries to help with jobs and community recovery
    A major funding package for libraries will allow them to play a far greater role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19. “Budget 2020 contains over $60 million of funding to protect library services and to protect jobs,” says Internal Affairs ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Support for arts and music sector recovery
    A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Legislative changes to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has welcomed the First Reading of a Bill that will make legislative changes to further improve the veterans’ support system.  The Veterans’ Support Amendment Bill No 2, which will amend the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, passed First Reading today. The bill addresses a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christ Church Cathedral – Order in Council
    Views sought on Order in Council to help fast track the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Poto Williams, will be seeking public written comment, following Cabinet approving the drafting of an Order in Council aimed at fast-tracking the reinstatement of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
    The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has today announced the appointment of Tristan Gilbertson as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission. “Mr Gilbertson has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and a strong reputation amongst his peers,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
    The Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa have agreed to settle the pay equity claim for teacher aides, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This will see more than 22,000 teacher aides, mostly women, being valued and paid fairly for the work they do. “Teacher aides are frontline ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
    Subcontractors will have greater certainty, more cashflow support and job security with new changes to retention payments under the Construction Contracts Act says Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. A recent review of the retentions money regime showed that most of the building and construction sector is complying with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today. The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTERS OF NEW ZEALAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE FIRST AN...
    On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations. The Enhanced Partnership – based on the four pillars of trade and economics, security and defence, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links – has seen the long-standing relationship between our countries strengthen over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing. “This Government is committed to restoring rail to its rightful place in New Zealand. Bigger, better ships, with new technology are yet another ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
    Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.   The National Plan of Action for Seabirds 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce fishing-related captures and associated seabird ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago