web analytics

Musings on fluff

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 16th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

Claire Trevett wrote me a very cordial email in response to my criticism of her reports from Key’s trip around the Islands. I want to say from the start this reply is meant in the same constructive tone. Trevett points out that there were in fact two articles each day – one serious, one ‘colour piece’. Fair enough, as well as the fluff there was journalism. But couldn’t we have two journalistic articles?

Perhaps it’s unfair to ask a journalist to write two in-depth, well-researched pieces a day. Staff cuts in our major newspapers may well be the problem here. But there are some fairly pertinent questions relating to the trip that I never saw addressed – are we getting value for money from our aid? Should we be worried about Chinese expansionism? What is the Key Government’s policy towards it considering we’ve traditionally worked with Europe, Australia, and the US to shut out Chinese chequebook diplomacy as much as possible (one suspects Key’ll just do what he always does, nothing)

Did I go a bit harsh on Trevett? Yeah probably – one of the strengths and weaknesses of blogs is the immediacy means you get the rough edges. Trevett is one of our best journos. My criticism of her writing was a reaction to going to the MSM and seeing yet another day of fluff pieces crowding out the real issues. It wasn’t personal. Tracey Watkins came in for similar criticism.

It wasn’t about alleging any bias either. I felt the same way about the gushing pieces written on Key’s tour bus as I did about the secret diary one mocking him – like I had sat down to eat a meal but walked away hungry.

These kind of pieces push the issues that matter into the background and make politics all about who you would rather have a beer with. More than that, they taint real journalism. Can we take seriously the ‘serious’ pieces when we’ve already read pieces that, rightly or wrongly, suggest the journo’s been emotionally captured by the subjects of those pieces?’

Maybe the readers of The Standard and myself aren’t the target audience. Maybe it’s felt by the powers that be that things need to be more low brow to draw in the punters. But I can’t believe that. I think people turn to news outlets to be informed, not entertained, and the dumbing-down of news either dumbs them down too or switches people off entirely. Which is a real tragedy because if there’s one thing a successful country needs its a good news media producing informed citizens.

15 comments on “Musings on fluff ”

  1. rocky 1

    It would have been nice to see more real journalism on Key’s pacific tour. I too wish there had been analysis of the value for money we are getting from our AID, and how much of a problem Chinese expansionism is causing in the pacific, among other things.

    However I’m not really sure that The Standard, including you Eddie, has all that much right to complain about humorous posts such as ‘the secret diary’ Trevett did. Not really my cup of tea, but certainly there is a market for it. Case in point – your post yesterday: Leak: Key’s next big plan revealed. It was a brilliant post, made me laugh for a good few seconds, and highlighted with humour some really valid issues. But likewise, Trevetts ‘the secret diary’ post had some real messages behind it.

    So yes for a news outlet the ratio of ‘fluffy’ posts was perhaps a little too high, and there most certainly should have been more real news and analysis, but I wouldn’t complain about ‘fluffy’ posts per se. Unless you’re suggesting humour should be solely the domain of the blogosphere?

  2. IrishBill 2

    I’m glad you’ve acknowledged Trevett as one of our best political journos, I’ve always found her to be pretty straight down the line.

  3. mike 3

    “Maybe the readers of The Standard and myself aren’t the target audience. Maybe it’s felt by the powers that be that things need to be more low brow to draw in the punters”

    You are so good at sounding like a pretentious twat lp

    • maynard J 3.1

      You do not think readers of political blogs are more likely to want in-depth journalism than those who do not?

      You big tuff righties can be so sensitive and precious sometimes, grow up.

  4. BLiP 4

    Have you been “got to” Eddie – has the New Zealand Fox News Herald uncovered some sordid episode from your past that has you face down over a barrel – or perhaps your vanity has been tickled by a schmooze-email apparently sent by a real life journalist?

    Get a grip.

    The MSM, and The Herald in particular, is the foe and your original post was fine. Nothing wrong with it. Yes, at The Standard we have the luxury of going at it tooth and nail and, yes, the heat of the immediacy sometimes causes real live people to get hurt feelings. And, yes, there’s also the added benefit at The Standard of remaing largely anonymous. Yet Trevett and co are the foot soldiers in the corporate take over of the Fourth Estate. They shovel truth into the ovens as entertainment blends with information, as accountability of elected representatives is blurred to better suit the version of reality that stimulates greater profits while media consumers are titillated with salacious tidbits and feeble cliche puff pieces like your new friend’s work masquerading as news.

    Trevett one of our best journos? Really? Okay, perhaps we can expect to read why National’s pet PI Sam “double dipper’ Lotu Iiga was left behind, or maybe greater scrutiny of why millions of our aid dollars are being paid direct to Air New Zealand, what about the politicisation of the dispensing of our aid money, and what about the touring dancers and clowns, were their expenses paid out of the aid budget or was that cost met from another source . . . I am left with more questions about the John Key Island Tour now than I was before The Herald coverage.

    There’s plenty of room for humour further in the paper than Page 2.

    Stick to your guns, comrade, and hold true to the tenets of the Fourth Estate for the bogosphere is the last bastion.

  5. Eddie 5

    little harsh on lynn, mike.

    considering I wrote the piece.

  6. Eddie 6

    Have I been got to or had my ego stroked? Not at all. BLiP. But I see value in journos not being turned off our message, and that means not always being confrontational

    • BLiP 6.1

      yeah, alright, fair enuff – I’ve been guilty of it and even apologised myself – and, sure, cultivating a civil relationship with some of the good ones (inluding Ms Trevett) could well help the cause – a sound, first hand glimpse into the machinations of the MSM from a trusted source should never be ignored – perhaps you could “turn” her, lead her to the light . . .

  7. You’re hard but fair eddie, and a thoughtful, provocative writer – keep it going, I say.

  8. Ianmac 8

    I read the “Secret diary” as a greater message than the humour. Was Claire sending a more significant message via the satire?

    • Bright Red 8.1

      I read it as trying to provide some humourous balance to her other pro-Key puff pieces.

      Sure, it paints him as a bumbling fool (I actually think it’s the third ‘secret diary’ about him, all along the smae lines) but it’s as a loveable fool, not a dangerous one or one whose foolishness is hurting people. As such, he actually comes out looking endearing.

  9. Kevin Welsh 9

    Why is a “fluff” piece even necessary?

    If the current state of the MSM is anything to go by, the “fluff” piece will be on the front page for mass consumption and journalism hidden on the inside pages.

  10. mike 10

    Ops… sorry Lynn I’ll take back the pretentious bit..

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
    Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today expressed his sorrow at the passing of Sir Eion Edgar – a leading sports administrator and celebrated philanthropist who has made a significant impact both within and beyond the sport sector. “Sir Eion’s energy, drive and generosity has been truly immense. He leaves ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government to apologise for Dawn Raids
    The Government will make a formal apology for the wrongs committed during the Dawn Raids of the 1970’s. Between 1974 and 1976, a series of rigorous immigration enforcement policies were carried out that resulted in targeted raids on the homes of Pacific families. The raids to find, convict and deport overstayers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Humanitarian support for Bangladesh and Myanmar
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced that New Zealand is providing NZ $8.25 million in humanitarian assistance to support refugees and their host populations in Bangladesh and to support humanitarian need of internally displaced and conflict affected people in Myanmar.  “Nearly four years after 900,000 Rohingya crossed the border ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Feedback sought on future of housing and urban development
    New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on a long-term vision for housing and urban development to guide future work, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced. Consultation starts today on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of Aotearoa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Clean car package to drive down emissions
    New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used. Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence. Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
    The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti announced today. “This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants
    The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. Following discussions with applicant groups, the Crown has reviewed the existing takutai moana application ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens
    The Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio, have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton. The AODT Court (Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua) addresses situations where substance abuse and offending are intertwined. “New Zealanders have told ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • EU and UK FTAs top of list for first ministerial trip since COVID-19
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor today announced details of his planned visit to the United Kingdom and European Union next week, where he will hold trade and agriculture discussions to further New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The visit will add political weight to ongoing negotiations with both the EU ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
    Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett MNZM has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “Twenty-eight people from diverse backgrounds across Aotearoa have been selected for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
    Ki ngā pou maha o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihiTo the pillars of our health system I acknowledge/thank you Ki te ope hapai hauora o roto o tēnei rūma, kei te mihi To our health force here in the room today, I acknowledge/thank you He taura tangata, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Karangahape Road upgrades are streets ahead
    The upgrades to Karangahape Road makes the iconic street more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, attractive and environmentally sustainable, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths supporting a better outdoor dining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to APEC business event
    E ngā tumu herenga waka, ākina ā ngaru, ākina ā tai ka whakatere ngā waka ki te whakapapa pounamu, otirā, ki Tamaki o ngā waka Tena koutou katoa… To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pause on Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria extended
    Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. There are now 93 cases associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters. Contact tracing efforts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supplier Diversity Aotearoa Summit: Navigate 2021
    *** Check with delivery *** A mihi to all who have contributed to making today a success – starting with you! As you have explored and navigated government procurement today you will hopefully have reflected on the journey of our people so far – and how you can make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pukemiro School to close
    Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “I’ve consulted with the School Commissioner, and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools. “I want to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt acts to protect NZers from harmful content
    New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced today. New Zealand currently has a content regulatory system that is comprised of six different arrangements covering some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Consultation on exemption of new builds from proposed tax rules
    The Government has today confirmed new builds will be exempt from planned changes to the tax treatment of residential investment property.  Public consultation is now open on details of the proposals, which stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties other than new builds.   “The Government’s goal is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech for Predator Free 2050 Conference
    Introduction E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa   Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei i raro i te kaupapa o te rā Ko Ayesha Verrall toku ingoa No ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New stock exchange to help grow small businesses
    A new share trading market, designed as a gateway to the NZX for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has been granted a licence by the Government. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said Catalist Markets Ltd will provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Visa extensions provide certainty to employers and 10,000 visa holders
    Changes to onshore visas will provide employers and visa holders with more certainty, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. Around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Border class exceptions approved for more farm workers and vets
    The Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.  “It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More freezers and South Island hub to support vaccine roll-out
    A South Island hub and 17 new ultra-low temperature freezers will help further prepare New Zealand for the ramp up of the vaccination programme in the second half of this year, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. The new freezers arrived in New Zealand on 27 May. They’re currently being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech at the release of Climate Change Commission's final advice
    Good morning – and thank you Prime Minister. Over the last three and half years we have been putting in place the foundations for a low-carbon Aotearoa that will be a catalyst for job creation, innovation, and prosperity for decades to come. In that future, many of our everyday tasks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Achievable blueprint for addressing climate change released
    Report says Government making good progress on emissions reduction, but more action required Meeting climate targets achievable and affordable with existing technology Economic cost of delaying action higher than taking action now Benefits from climate action include health improvements and lower energy bills All Ministers to help meet climate targets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to release of Climate Commission final report
    A few years ago in a speech in Auckland, I compared climate change to the nuclear free movement of roughly four decades ago. And I did so for a few reasons. Firstly, because the movement of the 1980s represented a life or death situation for the Pacific, and so does ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Barrister Michael Robinson has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Robinson graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1996, and commenced practice as a solicitor with Brookfields in Auckland.  In 1998 he travelled to London ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government takes action to improve protections for subcontractors
    The Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill – which provides greater financial protection for subcontractors, has passed its first reading today. The Bill amends the retention provisions in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) to provide increased confidence and transparency for subcontractors that retention money they are owed is safe. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 1 million more Pfizer doses to arrive in July
    Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Long-term home of the Independent Children’s Monitor identified
    The Independent Children’s Monitor (Te Mana Whakamaru Tamariki Motuhake), which is currently located within the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), will become its own departmental agency within Government. “Following the recommendations of several reviews, Cabinet agreed in 2019 to build a significantly expanded independent monitor for children in care,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Racing Integrity Board members announced
    The new Racing Integrity Board will be up and running from July 1 to ensure high standards of animal welfare, integrity and professionalism in the racing industry. Racing Minister Grant Robertson today announced the appointments to the new Board: Sir Bruce Robertson KNZM – Chair Kristy McDonald ONZM QC Penelope ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt crackdown on organised crime continues
    A major operation against multiple organised crime groups with international links will make a significant dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks, Police Minister Poto Williams says. “I want to take an opportunity to congratulate the Police for their role in Operation Trojan Shield. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Farm planning framework supports farmers into the future
    A new framework, agreed between Government and industry, will make it easier for farmers and growers to integrate future greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements into their farm planning, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “The Good Farm Planning Principles Guide out today, provides guidance for how farmers can organise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for Canterbury
    The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to the Canterbury floods. The Minister of Social Development and Employment, Hon Carmel Sepuloni says $500,000 will be made available to help with the clean-up. The flooding in Canterbury has been a significant and adverse event damaging farmland, homes, roads ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Connecting rangatahi to the soil
    A Jobs for Nature project to raise 480,000 native plants in nurseries across South Auckland will provide work for communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, Acting Conservation Minister Ayesha Verrall says. The Mana in Kaimahi project is being run by Te Whāngai Trust Board and will establish ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Roll out of high-resolution elevation mapping begins
    The first tranche of mapping data from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)-LiDAR project is now available to the public from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand. LiDAR data, which creates 3D baseline elevation information, will deliver multiple uses over the coming decades to councils and regional industries. “This mapping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Champions of Pacific education rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours
    Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours list show that across Aotearoa New Zealand there were many champions of Pacific education. “Education is so vital to the success of Pacific people that it’s truly fitting that a number of educators have been honoured this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM congratulates Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List. “This group represents decades of services across many areas, and those honoured highlight how many New Zealanders are going above and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Change of status for Rangiriri kura
    A change of status for Te Kura o Rangiriri sees it become a designated character school within the Māori-medium network, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis announced today. “This kura has been providing Māori immersion learning since 2003 in the historic town of Rangiriri, so I’m delighted that it is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • APEC trade ministers’ unite on COVID-19 vaccine steps and rejuvenating the WTO
    APEC trade ministers today committed to speeding up the cross-border flow of vaccines and related goods to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This followed the completion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor early this morning. “As we face the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago