web analytics

Stewart on our rubbish media

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, September 2nd, 2015 - 30 comments
Categories: journalism, Media - Tags: , ,

Rachel Stewart has had some time out with the flu (sorry to hear it!). It has left her with time to reflect:

…Like many folk I have become increasingly dispirited at the new world media. Clickbait, endless and easy crime stories, entertainment news disguised as meaningful when it isn’t. The list of horrors is endless.

Our two nightly news channels have, in recent years, morphed into something only slightly resembling journalism. I have spent so many nights jaw dropped over the choice of lead, or to what lengths a self-obsessed political journalist will go to insert themselves into the story of the day.

The obsession with crime astounds me, and the laziness of that reportage is obvious. Tourists to New Zealand often comment how unsafe they feel here but only after they’ve happened to catch a news bulletin. The reality is that we are fixated on crime to the detriment of important news.

Look at the structure of the news and weep. The first segment is invariably New Zealand news, and sometimes unashamedly led by a sporting story – this despite a third of the news being designated to sport anyway.

The second segment goes offshore and generally spends a tiny amount of time on large, important global stories – no doubt thinking we are too thick or too parochial to want anything more in-depth. A self-fulfilling prophecy if ever I’ve seen one.

Also, and too often for comfort, the reporter finds a Kiwi somehow tenuously connected to the major, offshore story. The Kiwi connection always makes me squirm. You?

Then comes sport. Men’s sport dominates because “people just aren’t interested in girl’s sport”. Well, of course, if you never really see any then that becomes true too.

Sadly, changing channels won’t alter this mind-numbing, soul-devouring format. For a slightly more white, smug and smarmy feel just stay tuned to our state broadcaster.

Print media has overtly degenerated too. However, since you’re reading me within it right now I’ll say a bit less about that. What I will say is that what passes for journalism on some news sites is beyond comprehension. Literally and figuratively. …

Go read the whole piece – profoundly depressing.

30 comments on “Stewart on our rubbish media ”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    One good thing from the decline in print advertisements in newspapers, has been the decline in print junk mail too !

  2. Rachel is hardly in any position to criticise other journalists after her record.

    How about those open carry guns she says she saw in Texas cafes?

  3. save NZ 3

    +100 and excellent analysis – in particular the self fulfilling prophecy and the difference between crime and news. 30% of news is sports is also a good one to point out.

    No wonder people watching ‘the news’ are turning off and why so many people watching the news know nothing about what is going on.

  4. Ad 4

    Anyone seen Nighcrawler?

    Very on point.

    • freedom 4.1

      Such a good film – as disturbing as it is revelatory.
      ( anyone who says Jake Gyllenhaal can’t act might want to give this film some focused attention.)

  5. mike 5

    I couldn’t agree with Rachel Steward more. Especially when she concludes ‘silence can be golden, the world keeps turning without any tuning in from me’. I do hope she can stick to her new found disdain for ‘reporters’ and keep the television and radio firmly switched off. I certainly have. For years now. Long ago I developed a loathing for being ‘told’ the news. It sounds exactly like gossip. Just as fatuous, and just as snippy. What’s more, a ‘news bulletin’ does not allow me to choose the stories I’m interested in. Instead, I have to sit through revolting beheadings, tragic baby stuff, and political spin – all very off putting and none of which I can do anything about. Not to mention forced bonhomie and thinly disguised judgmental facial twitches. No wonder our aged people are terrified in their homes.
    I lived through ten thousand earthquakes in Christchurch without tuning in. Too much Bob Parker for my liking. I looked at footage on the net, went rubbernecking myself, kept in touch with family, and talked to acquaintances at the supermarket.
    Made up my own mind thanks.
    There are so many wonderful places on the net to be informed by, both in words and pictures, although I do admit to the occasional newspaper because I can choose what to read and I like the feel of it in my hands. But being told what is happening in the world by vacuous egomaniac men is a no-no. Television and radio are saved for times when news junkies have clutched their screaming heads and run outside.

  6. BM 6

    TV News is geared for ages 50-55+

    Probably all their marketing tell them, this is what people of this age group who tune into the news like to see.

    Just catering for their audience .

    • Ilicit 6.1

      Bowl me over BM, never would I have thought a guy my age would have lost his brain enough to not notice such a stupid comment !!!

      Seems to me that older folks are more critical than those younger when it comes to criticising the MSM.

      A babe in arms is all that you are, so much to learn…..

    • Fran 6.2

      I did not lose my ability to think when I turned 50.

    • Keith 6.3

      TV news is for half wits who think the shit they are watching that is masquerading as news is real. Oh and it’s about the self important news readers too, and for opinions from rugby gods like Richie McCaw.

    • AmaKiwi 6.4

      @ BM

      Correction: “TV News is geared for IQ’s of 50-55+”

      IQ is not age related.

  7. Grantoc 7

    I agree with your comments.

    I was astounded a couple of nights ago when TVNZ led the 6pm news with some footage showing a bottle store worker getting bonked over the head by a juvenile with a full bottle of spirits. This was the sort of story that in a serious media outlet might have had made the foot notes. More likely it wouldn’t have been reported at all.

    Then, knock me over with a feather, the same story turned up again the next night on TVNZ’s 6 pm news! It wasn’t news the previous evenin; it was even less the news the following night.

    It was obvious that the reason why TVNZ and its ‘journalists’/’presenters’ wanted to wank themselves silly over this item was because it showed someone getting hit over the head with a bottle – it was ‘sensational’ and ‘dramatic’. But it was not news.

    It was just a complete nonsense.

    I could on….but the conclusion is the same, the ‘news’ so called on tvnz is worse than what the traditional tabloids dish up.

  8. Detrie 8

    Sadly it is a worldwide trend. Look at CNN and BBC on sky and the same issues are seen. It’s about entertainment or, in the case of Fox news, brainwashing and bigotry. The demise of investigative journalism and professional news delivery on our TV channels is both sad and concerning. Because of this, I certainly don’t watch the evening news and ‘current affairs’ now, relying more on national radio in the morning where at least we do get to hear some of our leaders squirm on occasion. They tell me John Campbell is to re-appear here, the late afternoon slot and multicast online too.

    • Morrissey 8.1

      Look at CNN and BBC on sky and the same issues are seen. It’s about entertainment or, in the case of Fox news, brainwashing and bigotry.

      Actually, the BBC and CNN are as guilty of brainwashing and bigotry as Fox News is. Fox News is a bit more overt in its unpleasantness, but essentially they are all vehicles of business and government propaganda.

      As horrible and outrageous as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are every day, I doubt they could be any more outrageous or more unfair or more disgusting than this lynch mob…..

  9. JanM 9

    This is an excellent analysis – I agree totally. I’ve been grizzling for a long time but my ‘this really is enough’ moment came the other day when one of the channels had speculation about the All Black team as their lead story – purlease!!!!! 🙁

  10. Anne 10

    …no doubt thinking we are too thick or too parochial to want anything more in-depth.

    Wrong Rachel Stewart. It’s the TV news ‘journos’ and their support staff who are too thick or too parochial…..

    Having said that, I couldn’t agree more with Rachel Stewart. The desire to wallow in every ghoulish detail of murder cases is especially distasteful. The moral of the story… if you want your 15 mins of fame then go and commit a serious crime.

  11. pete 11

    Funny you say that.

    On July 7th, 2015, I had to take a snapshot of the NZ Herald Online (see here).

    The only thing that puzzled me was that “Alarm over ‘alien space ship’ sightings” wasn’t at the top.

  12. Mrs Brillo 12

    And we did it to ourselves. Just us and Saint Rupert. Out of greed and prurience.

    Some years ago I was working in a European country with some of the world’s best health, safety and crime statistics.

    Crime reporting was low key. The local papers reported on crime by publishing, in the worst cases only, just a modest couple of paragraphs of precis of the case and trial, using only initials and not the criminal’s – or the victim’s – names. Small headlines too.

    The big splashy gruesome and dramatic headlines that New Zealand papers relish, the pages of speculation and the tacky and provocative photos our media wallows in, were entirely missing.

    Crime there simply had no media-induced panic attached to it.

    Result, crime assumed its more statistically appropriate place as a lesser social evil, and society’s care and attention were directed to more prevailing problems needing solving. No wonder that country’s health, education, safety and prosperity figures knocked, and still knock, New Zealand’s into an abandoned coal mine.

    • JanM 12.1

      Actually I can remember when we did the same here – just a minimal reporting of the cases on about P5 or 7 – no sensationalist stuff. I was reading the ODT then (1960s)

  13. Padre Pete 13

    “The Kiwi connection always makes me squirm. You?”

    It makes me cringe or groan. When TV1 or TV3 report on a plane crash or an earthquake overseas, they earnestly report, as though it was the most important facet of the story, “no kiwis were hurt”. (Well, it would be strange if one of those flightless birds with hairy feathers and a long beak was on board a plane or living in Tibet!)

  14. Glenn 14

    The next 2 decades will IMHO bring about the decline and decimation of much of our media. The local Fairfax rag has most of it’s premises up for lease and is now printed in Porirua many miles from here.. Much of it’s news is now syndicated blurb of little interest. The local radio station is just a repeater station for ZB and their obnoxious shit albeit with some local ads. Little local content and very few local jobs.
    Radio NZ will be destroyed by this right wing clique in power and all that will be left is our pathetic attempt at TV.
    Jeesus the sooner the fecking lot are gone the better!

    The internet, new technology and pay tv are quickly filling the void that has been left and unless the politicians of this world manage to stuff it up it will become far superior and much more interesting than the rubbish we have all had to put up with.

  15. Venezia 15

    I totally agree with Rachel. Rubbish media indeed. I have not watched NZ TV channels since Campbellive was canned. Have decided not to renew my sub to The Press when it expires. I am dismayed at the slow, unrelenting abandonment of journalistic standards in favour of shallow, headline grabbing tripe, mostly benefitting the political elite or corporate interests.

  16. adam 16

    Fast becoming one of my favourite shows – the big picture. OK title misleading – talk about politics and media around Katrina

    The web site of the interviewer, Russ Baker, http://whowhatwhy.org/

  17. weston 17

    yeah the news is crap and been getting worse for years ,if the so called news itself wasnt bad enough that stupid singsong way that reporters speak drives me nuts .ive been giving radnat grief for years via txt and i think surely others have too but nothing ever changes its like they got a formula and thats it .ive often thought theres so much scope /ammunition for a comedy sending up this crud if we had a gd enough team they could be mocked hard.at least we d have the relief of a good laugh then rather than pulling our hair out !1

  18. tc 18

    MSM is the top telling the middle it’s the lowers fault.

    They are just mediums for delivering the themes, messages and rants from right leaning so called experts now, journalism has been an endangered species awhile.

    Rebekah Brooke’s is back at Wuppert central in London already so there’s the moral compass for you.

  19. Paul 19

    A very enlightening film that looks at the capture of media by large corporates.
    Shadows of Liberty.

  20. grumpystilskin 20

    Don’t forget “the news” is there to sell advertising space, not inform.
    A friend was working for tv3 news when it first started and was told in a meeting with most staff present by the SEO, that they made the bits between his advertising and not to forget it.

  21. Mike the Savage One 21

    From Rachel’s comments: “…Like many folk I have become increasingly dispirited at the new world media. Clickbait, endless and easy crime stories, entertainment news disguised as meaningful when it isn’t. The list of horrors is endless.”

    Clickbait, yes, that is an appropriate word for some of it.

    But this is not only happening in New Zealand, the trend is heading into this “infotainment” and quick, short and shallow reporting all over the globe, even listening to the BBC does now make me feel shocked.

    What are the reasons for it? Partly it is of course the change in the media landscape, where traditional media face more competition by online media, and that “competition” is in reader- and viewership, and resulting advertising revenue to earn.

    State funded and community broadcasting and media have been on the way out, especially here in New Zealand, or adapted so much to the private and commercial media competition, they look and feel little different now.

    Costs are cut, staff numbers reduced, and organisations restructured over and over again, so quality and standards are dropping, to maintain commercial feasibility.

    But I think it is more to it than what we think. The whole communication and media consumption behaviour of people has changed, particularly that of the younger generation. They have grown up with the computer, with internet services and with mobile and smart phones.

    All the technological “advances” are mostly technological, offering more options, more diversity and a huge amount of information, that is hard to digest for any human being. So people “sort” and prioritise, and most also fall for “effects” as part of the now so widespread “instant gratification” expectation. People love quick, short and effective information, in pictures, short lined messages (see Twitter), and combine personal interests with using and sharing media.

    The result is button pushing behaviour, click and push, and load and unload, all in split seconds, flickering past the eyes and ears, and there is not much analysing and research going on. Much is accepted at face value.

    Also has the tertiary and general education approach changed, now geared to more emphasis on practical stuff, on business friendly approaches, on an very utilitarian way of doing and interpreting things. Students are taught what they “need” to get on in life, and much is about numbers, endless data, and again, people are forced to prioritise, reprioritise and to pick and select what is of immediate importance and use.

    A whole new generation or “breed” of humans is being created, that no longer learns much about complexities, about social matters, about analysing information and developing a deeper understanding. Most do not properly digest the instant flow of information of shallow quality thrown at them, and so they tend to react and adjust, than take a firm, well grounded position and view, and hence there is no more “protesting”, there is no more collective thinking and planning, it is all just bits of it here and there, and a mass of individuals are easy prey for the commercial and sometimes state forces to manipulate them, for a greater end use, that few are actually part of.

    All this shows in the media we have, it is reduced to the same approaches, commiditisation and commercialisation of every aspect of life, where we are rather numbers in a mass of faceless people, who cannot even communicate much face to face anymore, as we stare and hide behind screens, 24/7 for many.

    A sad and almost Orwellian future is evolving.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago