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The Herald paywall

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, April 28th, 2019 - 59 comments
Categories: clickbait, facebook, internet, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter - Tags:

This week the Herald will provide details of how its recently announced paywall will work.

From Toby Manhire at Spinoff:

New Zealand media push notifications cannot often be accused of downplaying news, but the Herald’s announcement this afternoon of “one of the biggest New Zealand media moves of 2019” was if anything an understatement. After years of to-ing and fro-ing, the adoption of a paywall for the online version of New Zealand’s biggest newspaper is a massive deal for its owner, NZME, of course. But it’s a massive deal for New Zealand journalism more widely.

With a few notable exceptions, online news has been free in this country since the dawn of the internet. It might seem a wild thought to some people, but it costs money to do good journalism.

It turns out the idea that digital advertising would swoop in to pick up the tab abandoned by print advertising was a great big prank. The business of journalism continues to atrophy, around the world and in New Zealand. And so the fortunes of the Herald’s experiment affect us all.

The question everyone is asking is which side of the wall will Mike Hosking be on?

And the more important question is what will the paywall do?  Will it improve things or make it worse?

The argument in favour of a paywall is compelling. The slide in media quality since Facebook and Twitter started to hive off advertising income is very self evident.

It appears that the important expensive reporting that involves investigation and analysis will be behind the wall.  No doubt we will have to pay to read the likes of Kirsty Johnson, Dave Fisher, Simon Wilson and Matt Nippert to name a few.  And the clickbait will remain free for everyone to click away at.  Sorry but Hosking’s rants will continue to be free although when you think about it this is probably an appropriate price.

This will have political implications.  Although we already have it, think Politik and Newsroom for instance, this move will further divide the media into free trash and more expensive good stuff.

And this shows why Radio New Zealand continues to be a gem in our media landscape.  And why it has to be protected at all costs.

59 comments on “The Herald paywall ”

  1. Incognito 1

    The question everyone is asking is which side of the wall will Mike Hosking be on?

    No question about it: the right side.

    • AB 1.1

      Mike will be happy whichever side he ends up on:

      Inside – that's because his quality, rare insight and pellucid prose require dedicated and serious readers.

      Outside – that's because the content of his thought is essential to the intellectual nourishment of the teeming masses, irrespective of their ability to pay.

    • OnceWasTim 1.2

      I'm just wondering when it all turns to shit, how he, and his enterage are going to be able to continue to afford the cosmetics bill.

      I'm not sure a crowd funding or a plea to hia disciples (even with a tithing scheme) will cut it.

      I suspect Dadda in law will be getting a little bit sick of it all as well

      • greywarshark 1.2.1

        When the mirror cracks from side to side, the aged Mike will be demolished.

  2. greywarshark 2

    Does that mean that every bit of decent reporting, even archived stuff, will have to be paid for? If I want to put a comment up with backgrounding, facts, comparison of what was thought two years ago and what is thought now, what actions have been taken over that period, will I have to pay a full subscription, $1 for each search I make etc.

    How can I as an ordinary not-moneyed NZr keep up with what is happening and being said, and not done, or vice versa if all the NZ 'papers' reporting is only available behind walls and a clown is put up on the front of the stage to amuse and shock the folks, while the scene-changing goes on?

    I have made a small donation to The Guardian because it’s worth it. Our papers could offer this option, giving a limited period of days full scan? Opinions?

    • AB 2.1

      "How can I as an ordinary not-moneyed NZr keep up with what is happening"

      Grey – what makes you think you are meant to know what's happening? The "decent reporting" exists only so the Herald can maintain the illusion that it's part of the 4th estate and has a serious function to perform – rather than being the mouthpiece for the Auckland business and professional classes and their associated economic interests.

      You can read Mike and Audrey and vote accordingly thanks.

      Alternatively – go elsewhere for the time being and dance on the Herald's grave when the time comes. This latest move will likely hasten that auspicious occasion.

    • Sacha 2.2

      "How can I as an ordinary not-moneyed NZr keep up with what is happening"

      RNZ, Maori TV, Newsroom, Spinoff, other free sites.

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        Thanks Sacha I must use Newsroom more often.

        Spinoff isn't real news just chatty stuff about things that the young to middle aged might read when they don't want to think too deeply. Or magazine articles such as Raglan becoming gentrified and homes priced out of locals purses. That is interesting. I heard on radio a few months ago that they have the same trouble in Portugal. The bloody freemarket – wrecking economies around the world and not giving two hoots. http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/imf-warns-of-risk-of-real-estate-bubbles-in-portugal/46330

        I of course listen to radio and only Radionz although I must get involved with local public radio. I don't have tv.

        But I am starting to use Scoop more.

        And there is the Otago Daily Times, NZ owned. I see that their dark sky option is being praised.
        And a concern that an intelligent central government will get onto – small but significant – is fireworks in public hands. Ban them as from Nov 2019. They are a disgraceful waste of money, but that is the public's stupidity.

        But the important point is the harm they do, the animals they frighten, and the way that they get set off later during the year. And particularly, as in Dunedin, they can start fires. We need to cut down on possibilities of the minority of men who like being irresponsible, poking the finger at authority and public peace, and taking fireworks out of their hands would be a forward step.

        But keeping whingeing about getting good journalism at an affordable price isn't silly. They have good experienced journalists and it is in our interests that they keep writing.

        Could we buy Stuff? I wonder.

  3. Rosemary McDonald 3

    …we will have to pay to read the likes of Kirsty Johnson, Dave Fisher, Simon Wilson and Matt Nippert to name a few.

    Can't the above named be persuaded to take their skills to an outlet with standards?

    And 'standards' can be defined as any publication that excludes content from The Usual Suspects.

    There is a tiny part of my heart that might be tempted to part with a little brass if only it would go towards purchasing better editing software. I dispare sumtimes at wat grosseries get past the sub editors…crying

  4. higherstandard 4

    Journalism in NZ has been on life support for decades, dross, fluff and opinion dressed up a reporting.

    Can't see how putting in a paywall at the Herald will improve the rubbish they've been pedalling one iota, it may improve their shareholders returns a little but I wouldn't pay a cent for access to their articles when there's so much more available of far high quality and interest.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      But that's a generalised opinion that is just turning the handle and out comes the usual moan – the Herald is no good.

      It appears that the important expensive reporting that involves investigation and analysis will be behind the wall. No doubt we will have to pay to read the likes of Kirsty Johnson, Dave Fisher, Simon Wilson and Matt Nippert to name a few.

      The above mentioned writers are good, we have to tramp carefully on the Herald or you tramp on their dreams. They want to report well, they do report well, there is a lot of dross but while they are being paid by the Herald you just can't tip ordure on it from above.

      We need to attack our targets with keyhole surgery that takes out or passes by the diseased stuff and finds the good pulsing news that is still in there. That's the world we live in and we don't help ourselves by bleating on in constant rants on how bad it all is, we have to be smart connoiseurs of quality and find a way to get it. We might have to donate to a Standard subscription that will give us rights to quote, and also give us a pressreader that we can all check out content on?

      What does the NBR offer. There is a paywall there and I object to publications considering they can cut themselves away from public view and be like journals for secret societies.

  5. Kat 5

    Not only a paywall for the fish wrap but also a moat, ring-fenced with Quarantine and Cuckoo’s nesting warning signs.

  6. UncookedSelachimorpha 6

    Commercial journalism is largely dead, Herald is just another example.

    We need to not just protect public media and journalism, but build it up much further. A tax on all Google and twitter revenue, for this purpose, would be a good idea.

  7. Stuart Munro. 7

    I resented the Times paywall. But the fishwrapper? Nope.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Last, but not least.

    And this shows why Radio New Zealand continues to be a gem in our media landscape. And why it has to be protected at all costs.

    and
    ..with Stuff these days waiting to learn its fate, which lies in the hands of new, largely indifferent Australian owners,

    Could we actually get a fund going and buy the bloody thing? Are there enough NZ with nous to take it back and keep it.l Stuff is worth it – it’s useful. Could we grow a pair and do something for ourselves relating to knowledge not beaches or bitcoin or new and trendy – make being our own man and woman new and trendier!

    • alwyn 8.1

      I suggest you put the proposal to Shane Jones. He's willing to consider anything apparently, at least as long as it will provide support for his dreams of winning a seat in Parliament.

      Just put it to him. Say you will run editorials on an alternate day basis promoting New Zealand First on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Shane himself on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

      I'm sure he will jump at it. After all he appears to have been willing to throw tens of millions at airlines flying out of his home town in the North. Since he couldn't get that through he will be desperate to piss it up against the wall for some other crazy scheme.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/112266312/provincial-fund-plan-to-spend-30-million-on-airlines-gets-the-chop

    • Sacha 8.2

      It would be like investing in a blacksmiths.

      • alwyn 8.2.1

        Probably even sillier than that, although I heartily agree with your sentiment.

        As long as we have racehorses there will be work for a farrier. Apparently horses have to be reshod every 4 weeks or so. That is nearly as bad as having to buy new running shoes for kids interested in athletics, or at least for the ones who go in for middle or long distances.

        Perhaps we could compare the newspapers with manufacturers of buggy whips?

  9. A 9

    BUILD THE WALL!!

    Happy days 😀

  10. infused 10

    Why anyone would *pay* for access to any NZ news site is beyond me. They are all garbage.

  11. Christopher Randal 11

    Of course if nobody pays…………………

    Which is no more than the official newspaper of the National Party deserves…

    • Graeme 11.1

      Worked fine for Whaleoil…..

      • lprent 11.1.1

        Yeah, but look how that is starting to be wound up. The company that owned the Whaleoil site is in liquidation.

        The company that owned the controversial blog Whale Oil has been put into liquidation.

        Social Media Consultants Limited, which was previously owned by Cameron Slater, was put into voluntary liquidation on Monday, by his wife and sole shareholder Juana Mary Atkins.

        Slater vacated as a shareholder of the company in February. Another company was set up called Wobh Ltd. under Atkins' name at the same time.

        It is not clear what the move means for the future of the site, which was still active on Tuesday.

        I must have a look and see what has happened with that – that article was from a month ago. As far as I am aware the site is about the only significiant asset of social media, and the rules about hiving assets from a failed company into a new company with the same or similar directors and shareholders are pretty strict.

  12. BM 12

    Looking at the "premium content" on the NZ Herald website, which I assume is what you'll be paying money for, I can honestly say the Herald is well and truly dead.

    No one will part money for that nonsense.

    On the MSM, I reckon Stuff is about to be brought by TVNZ, which I think is bullshit, but it sort of goes with the 1984 style of government we’ve been currently saddled with.

    This new editor is complete toss btw.

    • Wensleydale 12.1

      People would probably pay to have Mike Hosking's toxic opinions quarantined in the interests of public safety, though.

  13. cleangreen 13

    Get the commercial media to fund a promised "commercial free channel' that the public finally have free open access to please as promised by Jacinda at her Auckland pre-election speech when she said "our Government will provide each person with a voice to be heard"

    • Sacha 13.1

      The idea of a 'channel' is solving last century's media problem. Content is the key, shared on whatever platforms people use – and you will notice media organisations doing that.

      Funding creation of public content comes in the form of something like NZ On Air.

  14. McFlock 14

    So what do they provide at a charge that we can't find out for free?

  15. Jenny - How to get there? 15

    We have often read news stories of how technology will cost jobs in the transport and production sectors. And that this inevitable.

    Maybe it is time to accept the job of the professional private sector journalist will also fall to technology. And the gap will be filled by the citizen journalists on blogs like this one, and by public service journalists supported by the taxpayer. As several here have pointed out, free to air public service broadcaster RNZ still remains and will probably be strengthened by this move. It occurs to me that RNZ could even replace the NZ Herald on line. As well as being free to air, all RNZ on line hard copy and video content is free as well. This will become the fallback source for all hard news. When all the Herald's hard news content disappears behind a pay wall, it is possible that as several here have mentioned, their distorted hard Right editorial comment will stay free to air and the Herald will become a right wing propaganda outlet like Fox News, (but without the broadcast part). Whether there will be any audience for this sort of thrash journalism is another question.

    My view is that the audience for this type of news will not be bothered to read it, and want it delivered to them passively over TV, not through print media.

    I can remember a few years ago when, Martyn Bradbury said that he couldn't wait until the NZ Herald went behind a pay wall.

    Bradbury's implied message was that this will be the end of them. And that people will tend to get their news and views from more generous, more open sourced, not for profit sources.

    Personally my experience of pay for view has generally been underwhelming, and barely worth the money. And if you search around you can find the same story published somewhere else.

    So overall. I think this is good thing. And good riddance.

    • cleangreen 15.1

      Yes Jenny & Sasha

      Anything Martyn Bradbury identifies is good sense here.

      Martyn had an article over on TDB two days ago about the paywall going on the Herald.

      So it's worth a glance as he identifies the worthiness of having a paywall to ring fence the crappy 'talking heads' and National gatekeepers.

      He posted a list of good journalists and bad ones too.

  16. Sanctuary 16

    The Herald has comprehensively trashed its brand as a serious paper of record. It now plans to move its remnant serious content behind a pay wall, claiming it is to help serious journalism. Why does it think that anyone would believe the utterances of such a completely compromised publication? IMHO, the purpose of the pay wall is simply to keep up shareholders returns, and sweet FA will go back to journalists or Journalism.

    • Dukeofurl 16.1

      Im thinking the paywall isnt so much to get money from real people its to make free loaders like Facebook pay them a lot more when they use their stories on facebooks news feed.

  17. millsy 17

    Didn't the Herald have a paywall back in 2005-06?

    I seem to recall it was very quietly taken down not too long after it was put in. The same thing will probably happen this time around.

  18. dv 18

    This headline in Herald amused me.

    Glittering!! huh.

    Do they mean shiny with no substance.

    Herald lifts wraps off glittering digital-subscription package – welcome to New York Times, Financial Times, The Times and Harvard Business Review

  19. SPC 19

    Won't be spending much time on the Herald site from now on if today is any indication.

  20. Michael 20

    I'll get my news from sources other than the Herald. It's a dinosaur anyway. The only value in reading it at all is that it tells me what smug, rich Jaffas are obsessing about at that instant (house prices and school deciles, FWICS). In turn, that tells me what our political class regards as important.

  21. mary_a 21

    I doubt any intelligent NZer will want to pay for 2/4+ week old stale ho hum news, which dominates NZH these days.

    Behind a paywall, NZH will be able to preach its insufferable tripe to the select converted during election year.

  22. Incognito 22

    The question is what business model would support in-depth analysis, long-read articles, and investigative journalism? The current media business model is cutthroat business with a focus on click-bait and other tabloid trickery to lure consumers to the site and keep them there for as long as possible to increase advertising revenue. Similarly, public intellectuals are dying bread because they are too busy writing grants, publish or perish, and complying with bureaucratic demands. Anything good on TV tonight?

    • greywarshark 22.1

      Dying bread now that is something to get pedantic about. Personally I buy organic pumpernickel and so on because I feel the dark break is packed with goodness. And I like supermarket spicy buns – are you saying the brown colour is fake – sort of Phake Tan?

    • Sacha 22.2

      I hear there's this show with dragons – but it's behind a paywall.

  23. WeTheBleeple 23

    It is with great joy I note the Herald has gone from unreadable to literally unreadable. They've done the public a great service.

  24. silvertuatara 24

    First delete the NZHerald like page on my Facebook….then no need to look at the Herald website again.

  25. Philg 25

    Sorry to say but RNZ is getting worse, with a few exceptions i.e Mediawatch. Morning Report and Checkpoint are not worth listening to any more imo. Its turned into mind numbing slush. It's sad, as I have witnessed this over 50 years and have lost faith in it.

    • Pat 25.1

      Have only listened for the past decade but agree it appears to have declined, although it still has its moments of excellence….things are never as they used to be, and more so now

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