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.