web analytics

No use playing Canute

Written By: - Date published: 1:57 pm, July 8th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: blogs, Media - Tags:

I noted with obvious interest on Stuff today that News Ltd CEO John Hartigan is having a go at bloggers and blogs.

“In return for their free content, we pretty much get what we’ve paid for – something of such limited intellectual value as to be barely discernible from massive ignorance,”. Blogs often give a platform for “radical sweeping statements unsubstantiated with evidence”.

In an oblique way, it reminds me of the way in which some viewed movies after TV industry threatened to steamroll the movie industry. The film industry has responded by providing a better service to the punters better product, better facilities, and so on.

In a way, the blogging world relies on the ‘real’ media to provide a topic to discuss this is a classic example.

At the same time, the rise of blogging in particular reflects a dumbing down of the news industry and you only need to check out the ‘human interest’ stories across the media to see where serious matters are discussed.

It’s also interesting to see the way in which Web 2.0 is changing organisations including political parties. The normal mode in the past was very much one-way communication where increasingly readers want to interact with those behind the news and others who are likewise interested. Blogs have lead stories, caused genuine
change and most importantly raised the bar in terms of encouraging robust political debate above the usual staple of why we lost the world cup. Labour now has its own blog (bugger, there goes that right wing conspiracy theory) as a direct result of the success of this and THAT other site.

Look, we all know on most matters you lot are right and I’m wrong. Actually, I’m confused now because I thought I was right and you were left? Point is, I think this is one topic we can agree with blogs have
a role to play in politics and the wider community. It’s up to the news media to up their game and co-exist with the amateurs who in many ways are showing up the pros.

Daveski

15 comments on “No use playing Canute ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    Hartigan’s actual speech is worth reading.

    It points out that an online reader brings in about 10% of the revenue that a paper reader does, and thus for every reader it loses a newspaper must win 10 online.

    He goes on to point out that media outlets – including The Australian invest a lot in covering news [one could argue they should spend even more, but let’s leave that aside for a moment] and that they need to show a return on that investment if it’s not going to become uneconomic.

    In contrast, the business models of those who feed off MSM reporting involve much less cost. And here Hatrigan doesn’t just mention blogging – he also points out that Yahoo and Google News, the Huffington Post and Australian sites like Crikey all rely on News Ltd and other journos to produce the news about which they then comment.

    In criticising blogs, Hartigan first cites (without naming) some Australian examples:

    It started as a moralising soapbox; boasting about its lack of standards. Positioned as an underdog, it lectures mainstream media every day… Radical sweeping statements unsubstantiated with evidence are common… One Australian blogger who shoots first and checks facts later is proud to boast that his site is “Not wrong for long’.

    He then goes on to draw a much broader conclusion:

    …amateur journalism trivialises and corrupts serious debate it degenerates democracy into mob rule and rumour milling.

    Certainly it’s unfair to tar all blogs with the same brush, but then I could cite many a comment (and the odd post or two) which makes just such a claim about certain NZ blogs, a stance with which most visitors here would agree (and thus, indirectly, be in a agreement with Hartigan).

    What Hartigan seems to be getting grumpy about – and I don’t blame him – is being the SST to the blogosphere’s HoS, doing the hard and expensive work of news gathering while the opposition grabs your early edition and cannibalises it for a fraction of the cost 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      All of which is a lot of great reasons why journalism needs to become state owned again.

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1

        Oh lordy.

        The NZ Herald: Editor-in-Chief, M McCully.

        No thanks (though I wouldn’t mind reading more of his girlfriend’s stuff).

        It needs to be locally owned and operated with a diverse shareholding. I’m not sure we can round up that particular long-since-bolted horse and get it back in the stable, but we should try.

        Or, in Kiwibank style, scrounge up the seed capital but keep the state well away from any operational matters, even if it’s just choosing the fonts, or else we’d have had Heather Simpson decreeing that all bad news was henceforth to appear in 6 point Garamond ultracondensed. Between the classifieds 😛

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          Oh, agreed, definitely don’t want the government in charge – just want them paying for it.

          The idea is basically that the government provides the money for the journalists to do their job. Remove the need to make a profit and leave the journalists in charge of what they’re investigating and reporting. Have the facts available after the original article is published so that the bloggers can then do an analysis of the article/story same as they do now.

          The journos can’t complain on behalf of their owners about bloggers using other peoples work because the bloggers would be the tax payers that are supplying the money anyway. On top of that we get better reporting and analysis which strengthens our democracy.

  2. lprent 2

    Gidday Daveski… Good to see you posting here.

    I saw this in the online Herald a few days ago. There was a blog having a go at a New York judge sounding off on the similar topic – that links to news sites should be banned.

    This is on top of a number of other statements on similar topics over the past few weeks by MSM money people bemoaning their lot.

    I think that the basic problem is that they’re realizing that there are few or no takers for the tightly constrained net (net 2.0) that has been promoted for the last few years. One of the intents was to control the revenue stream. It didn’t work, no-one really wants to use it.

    The MSM have been doing a piss poor job over the last decade or so. In NZ the most obvious example of this is on the online Herald where it is difficult to find any news of substance outside of the business section. The world news is better elsewhere. Sports I ignore. For tech news I read specialist sites. Politics – the commentary is better in the blogs – we can read press releases as well.

    What is left is the “who is screwing whom” and accidents? Scoop is better.

    • Daveski 2.1

      Ha … the irony of it all, eh LP 🙂

      Actually, it was a point of principle that encouraged me to send something through and I was delighted to see a positive response. I actually thought my posting about this topic here underlined the positive roles that blogs have to play. Anyway, I appreciated the opportunity to post here under my own moniker and hope PB is doing well in cardiac care 😉

      My fundamental point is that the MSM has to learn how to use the blogosphere rather than try and deny it. Ironically, the MSM is starting to use bloggers (DPF for example) as being credible in the MSM because of their blogs!

      Fundamentally, I agree with Lynn that the problem with the MSM is that they aren’t performing leading to blogs filling the gap.

      PS did you know that Simon and Alison are splitting???? OMG!

      • jarbury 2.1.1

        My fundamental point is that the MSM has to learn how to use the blogosphere rather than try and deny it. Ironically, the MSM is starting to use bloggers (DPF for example) as being credible in the MSM because of their blogs!

        Well a Herald article today quoted extensively from a blog post on Red Alert by Phil Twyford. The article even mentions what was said in a couple of the blog comments.

        A sign of things to come?

        • gingercrush 2.1.1.1

          Red Alert has been mentioned a number of times since it came online. Even The Standard gets mentioned on occasions.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        ….Simon and Alison are splitting???? OMG!

        Who are they? (For that matter who cares?)

  3. andy 3

    Daveski, nice post!

    The thing that gets me with John Hartigan is that he just got my eyeballs on his site for free by me clicking through to the linked article. He otherwise would never have had that page view.

    I wonder how many extra page views Kiwiblog, The Standard et al actually create, enough that it must work to there advantage.

    Sounds like they want it both ways, extra clicks but no criticism when they don’t get it right.

  4. The Voice of Reason 4

    This quote is a classic:

    “amateur journalism trivialises and corrupts serious debate it degenerates democracy into mob rule and rumour milling”.

    He’s talking about bloggers, but it more accurately reflects the MSM. APN and Fairfax have been dumbing down their newsrooms for years. Particulaly hard hit are the sub editors. These are the folk who fact check, suggest stories, leads and likely interviewees to often inexperianced journo’s and provide context within the individual titles.

    APN has just got rid of the last of their provincial subbies and news gathering in the non Bombays is now just rewriting press releases and promoting pop trivia. It couldn’t be more amateur if they tried.

  5. Trevor Mallard 5

    Isn’t it great not to have Hartigan’s team deciding who can see what.

  6. Frack-checker 6

    Canute. The irony is that he tried to turn back the tide in an effort to show his yes-men courtiers that he wasn’t infalliable, not, as is usually thought, to show that he had superhuman powers.

  7. the sprout 7

    “radical sweeping statements unsubstantiated with evidence’.

    i wonder if Hartigan gets irony?

  8. r0b 8

    Hey what? I turn my back for a few hours and now we have righties posting here? What next???? 🙂

    Good post Daveski, be good to more from your side of the fence guesting here.

    As far as I can guess the momentum towards online media is pretty much unstoppable. In a few decades no one (at least in wealthy countries like ours) will be getting their news from clumsy sheaves of paper. The good folk at the Daily Show have fun making this point! But will web media of the future be dominated by big fortress paywall sites (such as the grumpy Mr Hartigan imagines), or by grown up versions of seat of the pants grassroots indy sites like this one? We live in interesting times.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade and Agriculture Minister to attend World Economic Forum and Global Forum for Food and Agricult...
    The Government is maintaining its strong trade focus in 2023 with Trade and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation. Damien O’Connor will travel tomorrow to Switzerland to attend the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government funding relief for flood-affected Wairarapa farmers and growers
    The Government has extended its medium-scale classification of Cyclone Hale to the Wairarapa after assessing storm damage to the eastern coastline of the region. “We’re making up to $80,000 available to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers recover from the significant damage in the region,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government provides support to flooded Tairāwhiti communities
    The Government is making an initial contribution of $150,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Tairāwhiti following ex-Tropical Cyclone Hale, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “While Cyclone Hale has caused widespread heavy rain, flooding and high winds across many parts of the North Island, Tairāwhiti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government support for flood-affected Gisborne Tairāwhiti farmers and growers
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has classified this week’s Cyclone Hale that caused significant flood damage across the Tairāwhiti/Gisborne District as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “We’re making up to $100,000 available to help coordinate efforts as farmers and growers recover from the heavy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago