Participate in teh Golden Garth awards

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, December 16th, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , ,

journalist.jpgJames at Editing teh Herald has started the Golden Garth awards aimed at rewarding the recipients at the Granny. You should all get over there and suggest candidates. I’m puzzling on it myself because there are so many good candidates.

I’m aware that some think that the Dom Post is worse than the Granny, but you’re wrong. I can’t read the Dom Post because they haven’t produced it on an iPhone readable format yet, so I can’t read the rag. What I can’t read, I consign to the dust of a previous century.

At least the Granny has a smart-phone format that I scan-read on the bus. I also scan freebie copies of the antique hard-copy format at the cafe while waiting for the wake-up third coffee of the day (also known as “how to get up the lift without snarling” coffee). Seeing a hard-copy given away by Granny means that I join the interesting fifty percent or so of their ‘readership‘ figures that they sell to advertisers. Subscriber numbers are so 2oth century – as well as being pretty damn embarrassing.

The readership numbers themselves are kind of weird – do they count my iPhone access? I read that because it is convenient and I largely avoid the advertisers. But I’m digressing into a rant about newspaper responses to new media formats1. Lets get back to the Golden Garths…

The categories for the Golden Garth are:-

  • Worst Opinion Columnist: It’s going to be difficult to budge the man himself from this award but, if anyone can do it, it’s almost anyone else writing opinion columns for the New Zealand Herald.
  • Most Egregious Example of Advertising Masquerading as News: A Herald favourite, be it a press release dressed up as news, or just an unprompted gushing about a major advertiser.
  • Biggest Media Beat-up: Once the Herald has tasted blood, there’s no limit to how many times they’ll ring up Bos McCoskrie and find out what he thinks. Hone Harawira is a racist, AND didn’t wear a motorcycle helmet? AND he went to Auckland Grammar?
  • Worst Article: The big one. It’s the ‘Best Picture’ of the Golden Garths, and there’s a lot to choose from.

You’d think that this is easy, but as Danyl at DimPost says on the worst opinion columnist

But here’s the fascinating thing you’d be wrong. Garth George is not the Herald’s worst writer.

But when I consider other national newspapers or magazines I can think of columnists I don’t like Michael Laws, say I just can’t think of any regular columnists whose work is literally incomprehensible, so it seems strange that the country’s largest newspaper has so many of them. Does anyone else think this is a bit weird?

I do, indeed2. This is the category I’m most interested in because it is the closest to what we do here. When I started to think about it, there is a hell of a lot of choice.

The iconoclastic bombast from Rotorua is well-written and usually pretty damn clear about what Garth thinks. I have a soft spot for George because he writes clear vitriolic and totally unambiguous opinion about whatever has him riled this week. It is often wrong in fact, but always very clear.

The political columnists are just about as bad, but better written. John Armstrong would be a favorite amongst authors here, but again you can argue about his content (until recently largely National party spin), but not his writing style or the clarity of his argument – we just find it a bit simple minded. Same with Fran O’Sullivan (largely Business Round-table spin) but well written and very clear about what she thinks and why. Audrey Young seems to wander around with well written pieces that often seem to reflect who she talked to last about what the punters want to see. What is curious about her is that her blog pieces are usually a lot better than what gets into the Herald.

But lets not focus on the negatives. I really do miss Colin James. He was probably the closest I’ve seen to writing balanced assessments on politics in the Herald – probably why he had to leave. Brian Rudman is a good quality read because I always learn more than I already knew when reading his articles, and he still writes for Granny.

You could go to the stark raving columnists generating fluff pieces like Jim Hopkins3, Noelle McCarthy, Bill Ralston, Rosemary McLeod4 or John Roughan. You have to share the particular context that their head was in at the time they wrote the column, otherwise their columns are essentially incomprehensible. Michael Lhaws is in a  different category – all you have to do is look at what opinion gets him the most attention.

Then there are others. Like some of the editorials which are often so outrageous you can see why they are totally anonymous. There is so much choice for the Golden Garth.

Say what you like about the unpaid writing around this site and other blogs. People get paid for writing some of the twaddle that passes for opinion pieces that winds up in the Herald. They really need to add a comments section that cuts holes in some of the waffle and improves the writers.

Finally in the comments at EtH5 there is this absolute gem about a ‘news’ article also known as “unchecked press release” so characteristic of the Granny.

Anonymous said
Certainly the worst article I saw in the Herald this year was this piece from Alice Neville, in which she reports that 1080 and brodificoum were detected in various biological samples from the Hauraki Gulf, without revealing that the testing device used was an Electroacupuncture machine, not anything actually suited to the purpose:

  1. If anyone knows of any other news media that has a decent smartphone format, leave a link in comments. I’ll put a list up as a page later. Many of the blogs already have it, but the mass media
  2. The word ‘indeed’ is a bad habit I’ve picked up from DPF. It is like a ‘relaxed’ version of a “ummm”. If I use it much more I will have to add it to the auto-moderated words.
  3. Jim Hopkins seems to live in an ‘interesting’ world. He should really market it to the visitors to the K Rd nightclubs up the road.
  4. Ditto. However Rosemary should probably market through the hydroponics gardening industry.
  5. I tidied the raw link up.

25 comments on “Participate in teh Golden Garth awards”

  1. Noko 1

    Bourgeoisie comforts are no above you then? I’m glad for you that you have enough money to have three coffees at a cafe in the morning, and you have enough money to buy an iPhone and pay the excessive monthly fees. You’re a Labour supporter, aren’t you lprent?

    • felix 1.1

      zOMG shouldn’t the uppity bastard be down a mine or something?

      • Noko 1.1.1

        Don’t be facetious, Felix.
        It seems disingenuous to be preaching socialist orientated policies while living a lifestyle that works off the back of the poor. Especially products like the iPhone which rely on the exploitation of workers in Chinese factories. I think it’s Foxconn who produce iPhone hardware, who have been caught up in breaking labour laws, which isn’t know for it’s worker protection in the first place.

    • lprent 1.2

      Always amusing seeing people make simplistic assumptions. I also have a BSc in earth sciences, MBA in operations management, a lot of other papers across compsci and social sciences and have been in the highest tax brackets for almost my entire working life. And I’ve been a Labour supporter for a long time because the conservatives tend to be short-term thinking idiots.

      I’ve been a full-time programmer for close to 20 years – caffeine is my lifeblood and coffee is how I ingest it. I do a lot of net programming as well as this site. My iPhone is my 3G wireless modem. Turned out that when I had to replace my cellphone, that I could get an iPhone with internet tethering on version 3 of the OS. That meant I could dump my old vodem (@$50 per month) and get an iPhone under a reasonably high monthly contract for less than I was paying for the old cell plan + vodem. Made a lot of sense. Especially since I can also read websites on the bus.

      Your point is? Probably that you have problems thinking past labels, and that you think of upfront list prices rather than costs over the lifetime of a project.

      • Noko 1.2.1

        Well, as I said to felix, it’s more about where and how iPhone’s are made more than anything, though I will knowledge that this really isn’t the place for my comment which was little more than an ad hominem.

        • lprent

          If I had to spend too much time thinking about where the things I use are made, then I’d never get any work done. Have you any idea of the number of components there are in a computer?

          I keep an eye on it for some products, but more for environmental grounds than anything else. Like where my power is generated. How much fuel consumption my car has and should I take the bus or drive. But I’m not religious, so I indicate preferences rather than absolutes.

          • Noko

            So you don’t care that the product you bought was produced from exploitation of human labour? Just say so, instead of dancing around the subject.

            • lprent

              No – I said that I don’t have time to find out. The decision to get an iPhone vs something else was made in about 20 minutes, most of which was spent on features and analysis of the OS.

              I pick and choose what I will concentrate on, and that tends towards environmental issues.

              Tell me, do you know the amount of germanium in the motherboard of your computer? Aren’t you concerned by overuse of this extremely rare metal? And you’re asking me about a replaceable resource – go and play with yourself. There is no way that everyone can know everything of concern – so you prioritize.

      • Ag 1.2.2

        You actually tell other people that you have an MBA?

        I tend to think that Bob Jones was right about MBAs.

        By all means get one, but don’t tell anyone.

    • mike 1.3

      Isnt it strange that Iprent delights in the slow demise of the older hard print technology that employes thousands of blue collar workers (the majority who belong to the EPMU) while embracing the shiny iPhone that pours billions into wealthy american wallets. But isn’t he just so hip wid it..

      • Noko 1.3.1

        Mike, I’m not a right wing fool, I’m just questioning lprent’s lifestyle which relies on the exploitation of others. With your philosophy, it’s even worse. Ad hominems are only applicable when they’re actually relevant.

        • mike

          Whatever mate? My point is as a lefty I thought he was all about protecting the battler against the ravages of corporate greed but it seems that mantra only applies if it fits with the latest trend in com-tech that makes him feel ‘smart’ and hip

          • Daveo

            Being a leftie doesn’t mean being a luddite, mike. Perhaps this misunderstanding explains a lot about your virulent attacks on the left.

            We on the left support technological progress, we also believe in supporting people who are displaced by that progress through an adequate welfare state with redundancy protections, unemployment assistance and opportunities for retraining and upskilling.

            It’s your market purist law of the jungle we object to.

            As for Noko’s purtanical lecturing about Lynn’s iPhone, get some bloody perspective mate. Consumer choices in a world of cowboy capitalism won’t solve anything. We need to change the structure that creates that exploitation and environmental damage if we want to make a difference. Lynn’s done far more on that count than you ever have. Let the man have his iPhone.

            • lprent

              Yeah. Besides the other use I have for it is a dinky app that allows me to reset the site if it fails – while I’m on the bus. These things are crazy… And very useful for a sysop.

          • lprent

            More like just plain useful…. Something that seems to have escaped your attention about yourself.

            But I’d have to say that you have a very strange idea about who and what I am. For that matter some really strange ideas about what a ‘lefty’ is. We leave the pack mentality for the maniacs on the right.

            I have to say that after what nearly 30 years Apple have finally come up with a device that is perfect. It is like a crescent spanner for sysops and programmers.

        • lprent

          My philosophy is my own – I am individual – as most of the left is as well.

          That is more that I can say about many on the ‘right’ can say. Haven’t you read my posts on the behavior of pack behaviors at the sewer. But it is a funny type of conformity. They keep insisting in the same voice that they are all different

      • lprent 1.3.2

        So? They need to move to new forms of media. I’m more worried about where that newsprint goes to when it rots. Leave the trees in the ground.

        Perhaps you’re thinking of one of the unionists who writes here?

  2. ropata 2

    The Dim-Post is the premier local satire blog, but Editing Teh Herald could be a contender If James posted a bit more often 🙂

  3. lyndon 3

    “The political columnists are just about as bed, but better written.”

    spelling always happens at the worst time, doesn’t it

    • lprent 3.1

      Good spotting. However I suspect it was more than spelling. I wrote that last night after I’d woken at at 0230 with my head buzzing about design ideas for what I’m working on at work. The post got written whilst I had an over-active brain, was very tired, and was post-writing as a distraction between about 0300 and 0400……… I’ll give you one guess what I was thinking about.

      English badly needs a compiler…

  4. Last night someone explained to me that Hill-Cone and McCarthy’s columns are in-jokes for them and their friends, and that the various editors at the newspaper are part of the clique and thus think they’re brilliant. That’s kind of what a lot of the blogs over at Stuff do, and I don’t mind them at all (I just don’t read them). But a column full of in-jokes for a couple dozen people seems like a strange thing to publish in a national newspaper.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      I hear that they were going to get rid of Gareth but he just kept on sending them copy. Newspapers are always desperate for cheap copy.

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