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NZ Media and blogs vs blogs

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, December 6th, 2014 - 42 comments
Categories: blogs, broadcasting, internet, journalism, Media, newspapers, radio, tv - Tags: , , ,

“Mainstream” media has (in general) a structural right-wing bias because it (in general) reflects the interests of its owners, who are of course well off. If you have ever felt the need to know who owns the NZ media and pulls its strings, take a look at the latest version of the JMAD NZ media ownership report (pdf), which has a brief summary on RNZ here:

More evidence of unethical alliances

Researchers say there is increasing evidence of what it calls unethical alliances between bloggers, politicians, media and public relations companies. The Journalism, Media and Democracy research centre at AUT University says the boundaries between those groups are blurring. The report highlighted what researchers said were major revelations in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, and said they cast a shadow over long-established media organisations.

Well yes, all of this is now obvious to everyone. Here’s a few snippets from the report itself (pdf):

Key events and trends concerning New Zealand media
• Financialisation of mass media ownership confirmed
• Substantial changes in Fairfax, APN and MediaWorks ownership
• Competition heats up in online television and video markets
• Turbulence at Maori TV
• Blurred lines among politicians, bloggers, journalists and PR practitioners

In 2014, there were six major commercially operating media corporations in New Zealand. These included APN and its New Zealand media arm NZME, Fairfax Media, Sky TV, MediaWorks, TVNZ and Bauer Media. The National Business Review is a privately owned financial newspaper which funds its operations from advertising income and print/digital subscriptions. APN, Fairfax Media, Bauer Media and MediaWorks are all foreign owned media outlets. APN is a trans-Tasman media corporation with Irish media corporation INM and Irish telecom billionaire Denis O’Brien as its substantial shareholders. Fairfax Media is an Australian headquartered media corporation with Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart as its largest shareholder. Bauer Media is a privately owned, global media conglomerate headquartered in Germany. In 2013 the group bought APN’s New Zealand magazines including The Listener. MediaWorks ownership is also in foreign hands as the American private equity group Oaktree Capital is the largest shareholder in the company. Sky TV has been owned by financial institutions since Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited sold its shares in the company in 2013.

In 2014, Stuff was more dominant in the online news sphere than The New Zealand Herald. In September Amazon’s Alexa, which measures internet traffic, ranked stuff.co.nz as the sixth most visited site in New Zealand, and nzherald.co.nz as the seventh most visited site in the country (Alexa, 2014).

In 2014, it was even more evident that New Zealand media companies were under the control of fund management companies and other unlisted financial institutions. In 2014, two financial corporations alone owned 23 per cent of APN’s shares, and four financial institutions held 24 per cent of Fairfax’s shares. Sky TV’s four substantial shareholders were all investment management companies and they held 26 per cent of the company’s shares. In 2014 MediaWorks was owned by five financial firms: one private equity fund, Oaktree Capital, held 43 per cent of the company’s shares.

As the JMAD report in 2013 noted, financialised ownership is worrying because it intensifies corporate focus on revenue streams and profits. This ownership structure has made media organisations more vulnerable to restructuring as the financial owners maximise profits and returns. These profit imperatives were exemplified by Fairfax, as it continued layoffs during 2014, and by APN as the company contemplated a float for its New Zealand media assets. The drive for profit also compelled MediaWorks to introduce increasingly commercial, advertising friendly content for its programmes.

Many journalists noted that “profit-making pressures” had strengthened in the past five years (Hannis et al., 2014). They commented that cost cutting was “undermining the quality of journalism” and that news copy was over reliant upon public relations material (Hannis eta al., 2014). Some respondents were quoted as saying that journalism in New Zealand is “too productivity-driven” (in regard to the number of stories expected per day). Others remarked that journalism had “been captured by trivia” as newsrooms were employing fewer journalists, and that there was pressure “for everyone to be first with something on websites” (Hannis et al., 2014). Clearly, the profit driven culture is felt in most newsrooms. In this context, it is concerning that public service journalism in New Zealand has shrunk as non- commercial television channels such as TVNZ7 have been shut down.

All of that is business as depressingly usual of course. But the report also gets in to territory that is of particular interest to Standardistas:

Political machinations and the blogosphere

The 2013 JMAD New Zealand media ownership report observed that bloggers had gained in prominence and influence in New Zealand as media space became increasingly commercial. Accordingly the report observed that “blogs have started to fill the gap in public interest journalism left by the commercially operated media corporates” (Myllylahti, 2013). The report specifically argued that

increasing commercial pressures combined with financialised media ownership, have created a national media environment where the content is driven by profits, ratings and clicks. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that citizen journalists and bloggers have started to take a more active role in the media domain (Myllylahti, 2013).

After the revelations in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, it appears that blogs are not necessarily a counterweight to commercial media outlets. The capability of blogs to retrieve the principles of public interest journalism became questionable. This report finds increasing evidence of unethical alliances among bloggers, politicians, PR companies and legacy media.

The issues concerning Dirty Politics have been covered extensively elsewhere. This report simply highlights the major revelations; how the politicians try to manipulate news coverage; how corporates and public relation practitioners advance their agendas in the blogosphere; and how blogs can influence news journalists. In the latter context, the Coalition for Better Broadcasting (CBB) observed that the ability of Slater, Judith Collins and David Farrar (a right wing blogger) to exploit mainstream media was due to the fact that “our media is weak, underfunded, highly competitive and almost entirely commercial” (CBB, 2014c).

Hager’s book has cast a shadow over long established media organisations. After the publication of Dirty Politics, Fran O’Sullivan, Jared Savage and David Fisher, journalists working for The New Zealand Herald, came clean about their earlier collaborations with Slater. Jared Savage admitted that “information was shared, there was a bit of “horse trading”, we talked about developments as the story rolled along (Savage, 2014). The paper’s investigative journalist David Fisher admitted in his opinion piece that “Cameron Slater was a contact of mine – Nicky Hager made this clear in Dirty Politics”; before he stopped “dealing with Slater”, he was “speaking to Slater as a contact and source” (Fisher, 2014).

The Dirty Politics fallout, which led to the resignation of Justice Minister Judith Collins, did also damaged Cameron Slater’s the Whale Oil blog alongside the reputation of the wider blogging community. However, the Hard News blogger Russell Brown remarked that “we’re not all like that. The multitude of bloggers, political bloggers included, have no part in this” (Brown, 2014).

I want to pick up on the last point in particular. Permeating this report, and the coverage of it (e.g. RNZ quoted above) is the assumption that all blogs are equal – a blog is a blog is a blog. This is a version of the Nats’ dirty politics spin that “everyone does it” and “Labour has attack blogs” and “The Standard is written by Labour staffers” and so on – these are all distractions, deflections, and lies lies lies.

So it is disappointing to see this report accepting (apart from one quick comment by Russell Brown) the assumption that all blogs are created equal, and that all are tarnished by dirty politics. Bollocks. It makes no more sense than saying that all TV is game shows, that all radio is talkback, or that all websites are porn. Blogs span a rich and interesting spectrum, and the only ones tarnished by dirty politics are the ones that were actively involved – Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, and the (deleted in shame) Asian Invasion.

So – media – how about a little bit more honesty in the coverage of bloggers and blogs eh? And with all due respect to the JMAD team, for your next report, why not get out and talk to some bloggers, find out a bit about what is really going on (and not going on), instead of repeating the media lines that you are supposed to be critiquing?

(As a last point for a lazy Saturday, quoted above “blogs have started to fill the gap in public interest journalism left by the commercially operated media corporates”. Discuss!)

42 comments on “NZ Media and blogs vs blogs”

  1. “..Discuss!..”

    i don’t really need to discuss..the problem..

    ..as what i do..each/every day…is part of the solution..

    http://whoar.co.nz/

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Yes, the mainstream masses are just clamouring for stream-of-consciousness style garbled sentence fragment “articles”.

    • and tho’ there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the current online content on offer..

      ..i wd note that i started doing this news-gathering stuff in the 90’s @ bfm..

      ..they didn’t even have a computer for the news people to use..

      ..( i bought mine in and gave it to them on extended-loan..it was that dire..)

      ..and as for news-resources..there was the print edition of the herald..and little else..

      ..i was reduced to dismantling/re-writing/taking the piss out of what they had on offer..

      ..the only other resource i had..was the print edition of the guardian weekly..that i went and purchased each week..

      ..i wd drip-feed re-writes from that most excellent publication over the week..

      ..i compare that to now..

      ..and wether you get it from my round-up/best-of..or the other choices on offer..

      ..what there is now is a total feast..

      ..compared to the famine of not that long ago..

      ..so yes..our msm is fucked/owned..but it always has been..nothing new there..

      ..but we don’t need them now/any more..

      ..the world is on our screens..

      ..and also now..we have the offerings from the excellent commentators in this country..(the work of gordon campbell is world-class..as just one example..)

      ..so i don’t gnash and wail that much..especially when i compare to then..

      ..and why i am puzzled by those who moan..seemingly unaware that they have more choices than stuff/herald..

  2. john pilger has a current/relevant bunch of questions/comments..

    “..John Pilger:.War by Media – and the Triumph of Propaganda..

    ..Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda?

    Why are censorship and distortion standard practice?

    Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power?

    Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

    Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas –

    – and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity?

    And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information – but power?

    These are urgent questions.

    The world is facing the prospect of major war – perhaps nuclear war –

    – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia – and eventually China.

    This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists –

    – including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003..”

    (cont..)

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40389.htm

  3. I for one appreciate your cred in this Phil.
    Pilger ref reminds me of his showdown with Kim Hill.
    And Tom Scott’s F bomb on Kim Hills show this a.m.
    Basically when cornered by Hill to justify his ‘kill the PM’ track he ended up saying Key had “‘f….d’ the working class” before walking out.
    Maybe radicals on radio have the best reach in the MSM.
    Thinking of Russell Brand who has got up Murdoch’s nose.

    • batweka 3.1

      Interesting interview and good to see Scott talking about his politics. He’s not shy on it, and seems solid on class politics, but still has a way to go on gender politics.

      And he really did say that ‘the working class got fucked’ on National Radio 😀

      Kim Hill on the other hand, wtf with the question about Scott writing lyrics about the politics of being poor when he got NZ On Air funding for a music video? This is Playing Favourites. Glad he walked out.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/20160090/playing-favourites-with-tom-scott

      • hoom 3.1.1

        Seriously WTF with that NZ on Air question?

        Is it seriously the case that recipients believe they’re not allowed to criticise the Govt with NZ on Air funding now?

        If true then what a Banana Republic we are in.

        • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1

          Kim Hill is painfully middle class. Pretty sure that her social circle consists of people with household incomes over $80K pa.

  4. Chooky 4

    +100…very interesting detailed Post and analysis thanks Anthony Robins

    …what I take from it is basically the Left parties …Labour , Greens, NZF, Mana/Int ….and New Zealanders’ rights are undermined and stuffed….. by big money corporate media interests and bias ( this includes their right wing dirty ops blogs Whaleoil and Kiwiblog)

    …unless the Left can mount an effective and recognised media alternative

    ‘The Standard’ and the ‘Daily Blog’ are good starts…maybe they can be expanded into paper newspapers/broadsheets as well( sold at railway/bus stations), …and have syndicated Left journalists …and whatever else they need to up their profile…there are still a lot of oldies who dont use the computer much for their news and views

    ….also needed are ‘commercial’ Left radio stations …to counter the likes of Sean Plunket ( who went after Dotcom)….and television to counter the likes of Paul Henry et al

  5. Clotilde 5

    Some journalists use pseudonyms when dealing with gritty stories (they hide themselves), some media groups get all their minions and slaves to do all their dirty work, while they stay silently behind the scenes (hiding themselves), both of these types are what you call- “ultimate cowards”. But Ian Wishart, when Wishart faces a serious investigation- he faces it head on, he “never” hides himself, he is definitely not the “ultimate coward”.

    Considering he is a mere mortal like the rest of us, his bravery is absolutely outstanding!

    His work is intelligent and truthful, considering all the crappy fluffy shit that is written these days, all that soft rubbishy bullshit, at least he can count himself as- a ‘real’ investigative journalist!

    He is a man that knows his true path to true freedom.

    It must be all that wisdom he has acquired, in his many journeys.

    auf Wiedersehen

    Clotilde.

  6. Manuka AOR 6

    Re: “Unethical Alliances”

    “unethical alliances between bloggers, politicians, media and public relations companies… the boundaries between those groups are blurring.”

    It is rather worse than that. The Govt has its own little squadron of 288 spin doctors, euphemistically referred to as “staff employed in communications roles”: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/63849330/Public-servant-numbers-climb

    As Vernon Small wrote (when discussing Rennie), regarding “agencies’ and departments’ “communications advice””: “It often goes well beyond how to communicate an issue – or even what to communicate – into frankly how to spin and counterspin Opposition attacks and manage the media in the most derogatory sense of the phrase.

    “What is happening is that the “no surprises” rule – the requirement public servants warn their political masters of matters both negative and positive that they ought to know – is being stretched, distorted and subverted into something much worse that ought to worry the public and Rennie.

    “No surprises has morphed into “no embarrassment” and has reached the next stage of evolution – “how can we help you avoid embarrassment”.

    “The next tentative steps on the journey are already being taken: “how we can help you overcome the Opposition”.

    “It’s a slippery incline that takes you from political neutrality to friend, to very good friend, to ally and onto unacceptable political partisanship. ”
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/63576511/Putting-the-spin-on-neutrality

  7. Ad 7

    Let’s start from the position that everything is biased on a spectrum of degree, and that we don’t have to be defeatist about media corporations.

    Even more than I want to see greater differentiation between blogs, I want to see greater effectiveness between blogs.

    The MSM can campaign, incite, and change things, but because of their guise of neutrality, tend not to much in NZ.

    Apparently, any crowd with a cellphone and texting capacity can topple governments. The Internet is still young and flexible enough that we can form a different kind of media if we want to.

    We can and should translate our massive readership from a blog into something that changes the actual world. That’s the best response to these kinds of report.

    • Chooky 7.1

      Ad +100… “We can and should translate our massive readership from a blog into something that changes the actual world. That’s the best response to these kinds of report.”

      imo… people are starving of an alternative view from the msm…but many don’t read ‘The Standard’ or other Left blogs …they just read their newspaper and complain it is right wing or John Key Nactional biased ( I see Judith Collins is going to have her own column in the Sunday Star Times)

      …I would like to see a real Left newspaper start up in NZ….an unashamed alternative to what we have in the major dailies…then people could ditch their subscriptions to their current newspaper and buy a new one to a real Left newspaper

    • Chooky 7.2

      btw…as with e-books not replacing paperback books …i dont think newspapers are going to be replaced by digital e-news and blogs any time soon….the thing about a newspaper is that it is easy to keep lying around for future reference and mulling…the Left needs a body of journalism and news and reporting that is out there in paper form for people to refer to imo….so they can put a stake in the ground with their friends and say “This is where I stand”…’This is the paper that speaks for me”

      • Ron 7.2.1

        I have been getting my newspapers delivered digitally for several years now and not only can I read on my tablet or computer I can keep back copies for as long as I wish. Usually dictated by the amount of space on your computer/tablet.
        It is easier to read, I can search the paper for something I am seeking and it is way cheaper. I can read just about every paper in the world for less than one Herald subscription.

  8. Ad 8

    What is also needed is an audit of those voices who are still free:

    – academic activists like Dr Jim Salinger
    – trade activists like Dr Jane Kelsey
    – economic activists like those we regularly see at the Fabians, and Child Poverty Action
    – little think tanks like the Sustainability Council
    – lawyer activists like Debra Manning
    – urban activists like Generation Zero
    – the Salvation Army
    – etc

    … who we can invite them to write on specific themes.

    We should presume that there are no journalistic distinctions really functioning now, only individuals prepared to research, publish, comment, and then go on MSM to roll the story. We’re not quite at this point, but we are nearly there.

    There are active and commercially motivated conspiracies all around us. Con-spiratio means “breathing together”. Lets form our own conspiracies.

    • Chooky 8.1

      +100…and blue leopard would have good ideas

    • Ergo Robertina 8.2

      It’s good you acknowledge the role of community leaders, activists, and academics, given in September you said:

      ‘The politically engaged lecturers, unions, and public servants are small and rapidly declining as a democratic force. No power now.’

      My Thinks: A manufactured consent

      However: ”We should presume that there are no journalistic distinctions really functioning now, only individuals prepared to research, publish, comment, and then go on MSM to roll the story. We’re not quite at this point, but we are nearly there.”
      This misses the point. What’s needed is for the narratives of activists/academics/community leaders to be woven into everyday stories, journalism and current affairs.
      Realistically, activists/academics don’t write challenging new editorial opinion pieces or break big stories all the time, it is not feasible logistically.
      It’s about changing the narrative in public life and discourse, which is what WO and National understand, and why they attack people who oppose them.

      • Ad 8.2.1

        I was responding in that comment to the same defeatism implied in the post.
        Serious yawn. And in case you missed it, I was complaining about the obsession pre-election with Dirty Politics, and proven utterly right by the resounding result.

        Nor did I atribute specific agency to any of those i listed. The point above and entirely consistent of previous comment is that resistance is shrinking, but we have no choice but to rebuild from remaining points of resistance.

        Leave the MSM behind for causal influence. The future is us.

        • Ergo Robertina 8.2.1.1

          Fragmenting the media further in an already fragmented market like NZ will not assist what has become virtual information blackouts across much of the public service and NGO sector.
          Fear of speaking (even about uncontroversial matters) has probably never been as pronounced as it is now.
          Those who retain the status to do so, like public health academics, have been targeted by WO with personal attacks.
          It’s why the setback to these tactics afforded by Dirty Politics mattered, with or without a positive election result.
          Grandiloquent pronouncements like ‘the future is us’ really don’t help.
          Platforms do matter. It’s why the BBC, despite its faults, is still a force, a countervailing one to the USA style culture wars the likes of WO and (unwittingly) you would foster here.

          • Ad 8.2.1.1.1

            You smell of fear. Fair enough – the defeat was big enough. I’m done with reviewing catastrophic defeat.

            The personal attacks aren’t going to stop. Jesson identified such networks three decades ago. We can gather round them and support the Good. Why not invite solidarity?

            We will never see TVNZ or National Radio transform into a local BBC. Stop your dreaming. Everyone looks at conspiracies real or imagined and expects some external righteous saviour. Media Jesus isn’t coming. We are it. I’ve written plenty on this recently, and many still squirm looking for another answer.

            We need to increasingly break anonymity, publish expert articles, break the rights conspiratorial cycle, and accept the leadership we have.

            • Ergo Robertina 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes and there will always be networks of power and control, but Hager’s book pushed the pendulum the right way, just a little.
              It is fair I think to say Jesson would have championed that, indeed Hager gave the 2012 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture.
              I think you’re the one dreaming, of a postmodern digital media utopia.

              • greywarshark

                @ Ergo Robertina
                Thanks for putting these comments. Your approach brings another viewpoint that fills in gaps. And with enough detail to follow your argument.
                I look forward to reading further.

              • RedLogix

                While Ad may well be a step ahead of the game ER – my sympathy lies with him. The left is systematically excluded or marginalised from the MSM and the mechanisms which enforce this fact are thoroughly entrenched.

                That door is shut.

                • Ergo Robertina

                  You’re confused between platform and content, Red.
                  Moving to an even more fragmented media, when NZ is already one of the most under-resourced in the western world, is not going to promulgate the left’s themes and messages.
                  It is realistic for NZ to have a BBC-type public broadcaster, albeit on a smaller scale; I don’t accept Ad’s TINA line on that.
                  I favour a pluralist model in which the principled blogosphere holds the MSM to account; in which old media skills like digging information and clear writing are used in conjunction with new media technologies.

            • greywarshark 8.2.1.1.1.2

              @ Ad
              You keep banging on about anonymity – not having it. The point has been made that we actually are not anonymous – the sysop knows who we are and we register each time we email from the same address. We can login if we are coming from another address. Pseudonymity is good in a conformist society.
              We are lightly moderated but there are rules – we keep it reasonably clean and ask for sources for statements so we can check and inform ourselves fully. This stops scuttlebutt and we all have our IQs raised from each other. We know each other’s thinking styles and who to respect, and who to rely on for interesting arguments, and who comes here to dump their boring RW lives on us.

              I don’t see how knowing people’s names actually provides more certainty and integrity. And I don’t want to be receiving phone calls from people I don’t know who want to praise or denigrate what I say. Which can happen.

              You are keen to push us further ahead. Our slogan should likely be to “Make haste slowly”.

            • lprent 8.2.1.1.1.3

              We need to increasingly break anonymity, publish expert articles, break the rights conspiratorial cycle, and accept the leadership we have.

              People can be as pseudonymous or not as they like. The extent that someone wishes to express expert knowledge gives the extent of how far they want to decloak.

              But even for me, this site for me is less than 10% of what I actually do. So I keep vast areas of my life off the site and off the net. I don’t need them to argue about a topic, so I don’t put them forward.

              The bits that I do put forward as expertise are usually the discarded or low priority parts of my skillsets, like running a php web site or a BSc in earth sciences or an MBA. Because the actual things that I routinely deal with do not exactly make for good blog posts. It is hard enough to describe them to engineers and programmers the wide area messaging systems of my last few jobs.

              Or look at Anthony. I can’t remember any time when he wrote about his speciality. THis post has nothing about that in it.

              I have absolutely no wish to become a politician or a media commentator, so I also have no particular need to expose more of my life than I have.

              It is the useless drones with time on their hands, like Cameron Slater, who want to bolster their rather pitiful self-esteem by doing that bullshit. People who have work to do are more interested in commenting, writing posts to express what they think and then getting back to their lives and work.

              And as grey points out, no-one is particularly anonymous on this site. We simply don’t allow it. Apart from our subtle proscriptions and insistence against changing handles frequently, I can usually figure out who people are if I really need to. Besides you lose your previous mana when you shift handles radically.

              It is only the rather lazy who don’t look at the links to see all comments or posts by a person who think that anyway.

  9. Fran O'Sullivan 9

    This is ridiculous. I have never “come clean” about any so-called collaborations with Slater. The author of this academic study fails at 101 Research. If she bothered to check the author would have found I said it was risible to suggest Odgers influenced my writings.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Fair enough. Happy to take your word at face value here.

      But that alone leaves a lot unsaid does it not?

    • Chooky 9.2

      @ Fran O’Sullivan …..good to know you deny “any so-called collaborations with Slater” and … “I said it was risible to suggest Odgers influenced my writings” !

      We need more journalists to put a stake in the ground and say this is where I have not been….and this is where i will not go…and this is what i find unethical and despicable ‘journalism’, smear PR

    • Anne 9.3

      @ Fran O’Sullivan.

      I don’t think Anthony Robins meant it quite the way you appear to have taken it. In fact it was likely meant as a compliment – sort of anyway. You did write a piece soon after the book was published outlining your ‘links or the lack of them’ which, from memory, was damming of Slater and all he stood for. As Herald journos/columnists it was convenient to make a broad comment covering all three of you.

  10. Heather Grimwood 10

    I am overjoyed that serious thought is once more being given to need for a leftwing newspaper. That nowhere in comments above do I see the main obstacle of this goal in earlier decades was the then prohibitive cost.
    To counteract rightwing propaganda of daily papers pre-1945 election, J.D. Brown ( my father) teacher at Flag Swamp who had been involved for first year of the Kurow think-tank, Ken McIlroy and Dudley Kelly, teachers at Palmerston South and I think Jack Meikle all contributed to the Oamaru Labour Electorate Committee’s weekly newspaper ‘LSP’. Liberty, Security and Progress was Labour’s slogan at the time. I well remember the rush to get the draft up to Oamaru for printing. ‘The Grey River Argus’ and ‘The Southern Cross’, both permanent papers sadly folded through fiscal woes, were begun for same reason.
    May your ideas above come to early and successful fruition.

    • Chooky 10.1

      HG +100…great your Father saw the importance of a Left paper in the 1940s….they have always been important for the credibility of the Left …and now even more so to counter the corruption of the right wing controlled and bought msm

      with Print on Demand (POD)….paper publishing is a lot more market targeted with less oversupply and wastage …therefore less expensive than it once was

      Simon Collins, a journalist, I think tried to set up a Left newspaper in Wellington in the early 1990s…it was very good and a pity he could not continue with it

      ….maybe now is the time for a Left co-operative to pool resources (intellectual and financial and support market based) to try again for a Left newspaper?…

    • greywarshark 10.2

      @ Heather G
      That is good to know. Wonderful effort and determination which they must have had in spades. I suppose all information you have of those early days is all down in archives at Nat Lib or whatever. The Kurow think tank sounds good. I’ll have to look that up. What would be our equivalent these days? There seem to be plenty of RW ones around, grow like weeds.

      I wonder whether a newspaper would still be viable. Could they be transported by bus in their luggage lockers? To be uplifted by the local distributor. There wouldn’t be huge numbers and the format would probably be tabloid size with an outer and inner sheet. Once a week? Coming out on Wednesday perhaps, printed Tuesday/Wed. 6 monthly subscriptions. One lead story and headlines on line. Adverts and What’s on. Latest achievements by NZs local, nationally and inter-. Letters limited to 100 words. Letters of complaint 30 words! Good links and reviews of latest thinking.

      • Heather Grimwood 10.2.1

        No, not from libraries…I was at High School and belonged to deeply involved Labour activist family. The Kurow thinktank involved Nordmeyer the Presbyterian minister, McMillan the doctor, Davidson a teacher, and others. They gathered at home of a woman teacher Sunday nights I was told at my mother’s knee and there the beginnings of the social security policy were planned. For easy reading, the book “Nordy” gives the gist but not written at the time.
        I will never forget faces and bodylanguage of women reaching through truck window to grab relief clothing over the top of me when a toddler squashed between Dad and Nordy in front seat of relief truck they’d taken into Waitaki No 1 dam camp about 1934.

  11. hoom 11

    Mediawatch had a very disturbing breakdown of this freediving record attempt which I had successfully managed to ignore
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/20160131/mediawatch-for-7-december-2014

    The one thing missed is that this is a ‘sport’ unrecognised by any mainstream sporting authority because of its extreme danger & very high rate of fatalities.

  12. Ron 12

    Something that I have been wondering about. Anthony mentions that Bauer now own The Listener
    Many years ago when Listener was sold to APN the Masthead was retained by BCNZ now TVNZ. Its value used to appear in the balance sheet. I have no knowledge if that position was ever changed so I wonder if the Masthead of NZ Listener is now resident in TVNZ or has it somehow been disposed of with out public knowledge.
    Anyone any better information that me on this subject?

  13. Heather Grimwood 13

    To greywarshark…..yes I am publishing/have written my memories… accentuated political activism for year plus has delayed publication.

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