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The desert that is the NZ Herald in the morning

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, June 20th, 2019 - 19 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , ,

Every morning I read newspapers and media online.

This morning at 0645 it was the New York Times with a subscription, BBC World which doesn’t need one, Sydney Morning Herald without one, NZ Herald without a subscription, Stuff doesn’t need one, Huff Post which also doesn’t need one, and the Guardian which I toss change to on a periodic basis. I’ll probably have a look at at a few more after I write a post or two.

Normally I’d read these on my cellphone in bed where it is nicely warm and dark while my partner grumbles and turns away from the bright screen.  Mort the cat expresses his interest in my eventual breakfast and its surplus milk with encouraging purring and occasional exploratory claws. It is a nice way to wake up.

But I had an urge today to start writing something that wasn’t computer code (currently Kotlin on Android) and in my native tongue of English. So for a change I did it on the big screen. Mort got his milk early… “milk like icecream for cats”.

Using the big screen enhanced some of the publications because it made it easier to pick the dross from the feel-good crap that makes up so much of the news today. As far as I can tell, the kids and dumb algorithms run the presentation of news for mobiles. They are into personalities, opinions by idiots, and puff-pieces and put all of the real crap at the top of the pages. It is noticeable that where I pay for access, the curation of the material is far better.

The NZ Herald is one of the worst – sport, entertainment, the numbskull Mike Hosking in his usual radio advertisement, accidents, and meaningless National party PR mischief and a lot of ridiculous stories about nothing much. That is on the cellphone and the larger screen. Their thin paper edition is far better curated – but I’d only see that when I have lunch..

I’m down past the business section and into “Latest from world” before there is articles that I’d even like to read. But I’d already read most of those main stories  about those in NYT, BBC and SMH.

Down past cars, sport and entertainment and there was the end of the page.. FFS why would I buy this pile of crap?

The world section on the front page had the only article I wanted to read – “Comment: Intervention needed over Uighar persecution” but that was in premium. I suspect that my weekly read in the Economist probably has more than prepared me to the shock of the Chinese concentration camps and ubiquitous repression that makes the Israeli state look less revolting, and there isn’t enough to pique my interest into a subscription – and I can’t pay just for that article. 

Now this isn’t an abnormality – I see this just about every day. I have no idea who’d want to read the NZ Herald based on its morning online version. It is badly presented, unintelligent, and poorly curated.

The contrast between the NZ Herald’s curation and what I read in the New York Times, BBC World, and Guardian in my morning daily routine where the crap to useful ratio is reversed is intense. Of course they do have the advantage of living in larger cultures and in different time zones. But I get the distinct impression that they don’t even employ cheap labour to effectively make editorial decisions overnight (my partner used to do that job).

But even Stuff which also suffers from NZ’s lack of real local news is far better – essentially because the opinions are better written. But mostly because they’re better placed on the front page. For instance Insurgent leaders: We were there, Wastewater in pristine lakes, It’s time for farming to evolve, and even interesting crap like Less tax: A better deal?

After I’d finished the run I went back to the NZ Herald to look inside the sections. There was some good material from yesterday and this morning inside Business, Technology, Property, Business opinion (the best read in there was Brian Gaynor: Should Fonterra list before it’s too late? from April 19th !), Rural, and a few others. And where in the hell was the Politics section?

But you’d never know that there was any good material from what was on the electronic front page. That was a pile of crap that looked like material from a bad Facebook feed. Certainly nothing I’d pay money for. My suggestion to NZ Herald is that if they want premium readers, then they need to pay for intelligent premium curation all day and night.

It is noticeable that by 0844 the Herald’s electronic front-page had gotten a whole lot better. I guess the adults had woken up and taken over.

19 comments on “The desert that is the NZ Herald in the morning ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    "…But I get the distinct impression that they don’t employ cheap labour to effectively make editorial decisions overnight…"

    I'd bet a dollar they don't employ anyone at all overnight and rely on AI.

    • lprent 1.1

      I missed a word "they don’t even employ cheap labour".

      I'd bet a dollar they don't employ anyone at all overnight and rely on AI.

      They may do. But the algorithm, if it has one, looks like a un-engaged teenager. Why would I pay for it?

  2. marty mars 2

    Yes I have taken the herald off my bookmark list – waste of time. The ODT can be good I find.

    • WeTheBleeple 2.1

      "ODT" – cheers for the heads up, that wasn't horrible reading at all.

      Whereas the Herald…

      Articles about Dancing with The Stars

      Articles about what people said on facebook

      Opinions of social media opinions…

      Pure Shite. Haven't read it since the paywall and will not return.

    • woodart 2.2

      yes, herald has moved way down the list of visited sites. to think they charge for that nonsense…

  3. The Kids always get the blame for the current sorry state of our media and (cough) 'News'. But think about it…you can hardly blame 'The Kids' even the 'engaged kids' supposed reading choices for the Herald's dross.

    "sport, entertainment, the numbskull Mike Hosking in his usual radio advertisement, accidents, and meaningless National party PR mischief and a lot of ridiculous stories about nothing much."

    That looks like the selections of a wave of Baby Boomers and Xers who simply don't give a toss, have checked out and taken the smug option in life.

    The number of households I visit, with people, 55 years + who I would once have described as well read engaged progressives, who have the TV on all hours, watching "the Block" or whatever. They all seem to have ditched the bookshelves, under the guise of being modern, 'every body just uses an e reader these days'…then you ask them what they are actually reading…."on their reader"...silencethinking…then they remember some dross about some woman who moved to Provence to renovate an old farm house….But ask them about Politics, World News; their sum total of engagement is..Trump Baddest Thing in America Ever, Russians Poisoned some people, Venezuela Bad, Assange is a rapist, Labours building houses for the homeless*…and then..nothing…nada..no nuances, no depth of understanding..no context..and of course…they still read The Herald.

    Manufacturing Consent has worked very well. Its not just the nameless masses and the daft kids who have been taken in ..its all of us..

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Siobhan

      The trite answer – Cheer up love it may never happen. Just pretend that has validity for half an hour until restored to normal resigned equanimity with a slight list to port (or vodka if you prefer). On second thoughts stay away from the spirits and raise them listening to this. Very sweet and it comes from the place your name came from.

    • lprent 3.2

      Humm…

      I can see parts of that in myself. Albeit with differences.

      I passed on all my physical books in 2012 on my 3rd move in 3 years – just too damn awkward and too big for a 51 square meter apartment.

      Instead I got epubs and stored them in my calibre server process. So now instead of having several thousand paperback stored in enormous shelves, I have more than 10k ebooks of novels and short stories. I can access them from anywhere and buy several per week – and read at least a book a day on average.

      We have TV on a lot. More for my partner than me. She is way more visual than I am – as you'd expect a filmmaker to be. But we never watch free to air TV. We watch Netflix, Neon, LightBox and an ample supply of DVDs and bluerays transcoded on that same server – and the physical disks filed. We also throw other media to the TV via a chromecast.

      Basically I can't stand ads. I prefer to pay to not have them. We now have a freeview box. Got turned on a couple of times last year after we brought it. Now is in the cupboard.

      I miss the news and current affairs. But most of them are available on the net. If they would just set up a adless internet channel with all of the current affairs and on them – I would happily pay for it.

      And I read a lot.. But paper is purely optional. My partner likes it and has bookcases filling in the space I vacated. These are books for which there are no epubs available. Almost artworks these days. One day I will scan and store them.

      I read way more than she does. But she was a child of the TV. We didn't bother to get one until I was 15. I don't have that addiction.

      Welcome to the 21st century. The era of literacy – via computers.

      • OnceWasTim 3.2.1

        +1. And if I do come across an ad that offends me enough, I'll boycott the product with a vengeance.

        I might be wiping my arse with a fig leaf before too long (or washing rather than wiping) and confining myself to whatever grows in the back yard for a feed.

      • Lucy 3.2.2

        I can't live without books – started the ebook thing but hate having to be careful where the pudgy fingers go and I like the physical act of turning pages! NZHerald is a mish mash the thought of paying for the useless stuff they produce is ridiculous. As a person who has always enjoyed reading good writing the herald is offensive. I can read what social media people do anywhere but its not news! Murdoch in 10 years has destroyed journalism for a generation, and then along came the crap of disruptive journalism from the internet and we ended up with the crass, unpleasant people like Alex Jones. We do have some real journalists in NZ but they aren't plying their trade in the mainstream currently.

  4. You need to consider the Herald's target audience I suppose. It's not Standardistas, if you know what I mean Guv.

    • lprent 4.1

      Looking at what was presented, I'd hate to think what audience they were trying to appeal to.

    • tc 4.2

      The paywall has exceeded their expectations already so I try not to think about the 'thought' processes of it's target audience.

      Paying for reconstituted news from other freely available sources and national party PR, nice work if you can get it.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Read Scoop instead, the NZ citizens' paper.

    What do we think of this. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1906/S00176/strengthening-new-zealanders-voting-rights.htm

    New Zealand’s democracy is to be enhanced, with voters gaining the right to enrol on election day at next year’s general election and allowing ballot boxes to be placed in supermarkets and malls to make it easier for people to vote, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.

    It's a bold change, could work all round but particularly in South Auckland. Free balloons! Yellow, so as not to spook the rule watchers. Though with ACTs latest, he has managed to commandeer all the known colours. Perhaps we should seek out octarine.

    ("Octarine" is a color name coined by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld novels. Octarine is said to be the color of magic, as it is apparent in the crackling and shimmering of light.) https://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/04/19/octarine-the-imaginary-color-of-magic

    • Stuart Munro. 5.1

      Although a disappointing purply blue colour seems quite ACT after all, fuligin, a colour described by Gene Wolfe as being 'darker than black' would, though way cooler than any of the intellectual dregs and sweepings who comprise that party, reflect their essential unenlightment.

  6. SHG 6

    The Herald has one audience and its content is oriented towards that audience: people buying and selling properties in and near Auckland.

  7. Dukeofurl 7

    I have a Premium content 'work around ' thanks 'Herald Fixer', but there was one story in Premium about a reporter in the Bay of Plenty who wrote about getting a txt after midnight and a cockroach triggering the hall light!

    I understand their reporters are on sort of quota, stories must happen, but really

  8. Daveosaurus 8

    They're not getting a cent from me so long as they employ a notorious anti-Semite as a columnist.

  9. sumsuch 9

    Stuff is a terrible page aesthetically. I do it for my ideals. Glad I can avoid Rich nonsense. Don't know what is wrong with my age peer Hoskings, broached and brought up in the same Welfare State as me. He'll have to answer up.

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