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Then they came for the cartoonists

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, June 17th, 2015 - 59 comments
Categories: cartoons, Media - Tags: ,

Kill off Campbell Live. Drive Mihingarangi Forbes out of Maori TV. Sack a bunch of sub-editors. Then they came for the cartoonists…


59 comments on “Then they came for the cartoonists ”

  1. But conspiring? Neh, They wouldn’t do that. Our government loves us and the MSM is our best friend! And anyway who needs those pesky cartoons?

  2. adam 2

    The only redeeming feature of the newspaper was their cartoonist. I’m quite happy that the money men are now making decisions – because this one is going to hurt them more than they know.

    Torys’ – stupid is, what stupid does.

  3. BLiP 3

    Isn’t it about time the MSM workers downed-tools?

    • tc 3.1

      Why ? Most of those left are pretty relaxed about their work. NACT have successfully weeded out those pesky dissenting voices that the bosses couldn’t get directly.

  4. Sable 4

    As I say every day the MSM are a joke. They are owned by large corporations who in turn are represented by right leaning political parties. No news to be had there only your standard fare of crime/punishment, celebs, disasters and the occasional human interest story.

  5. maui 5

    Bring on the anyone can do journalism era! Today on stuff nation we have: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation

    – Pet of the day: Jonah the All Black
    – Your favourite Makos moments
    – ‘No need’ for school uniforms

  6. Dazzer 6

    A fundamental shift caused by technological developments that have fundamentally changed business models. So much for conspiracies.

    This is worth reading as it comes from a journalist perspective:


    It’s interesting how the point is also made that the transition to digital means information is more open and accessible than ever before.

    Change will be even more rapid – you can continue to tilt at windmills or adapt. The conspiracies theories show that many simply aren’t adapting.

    • adam 6.1

      What conspiracy theory?

    • ian 6.2

      Hark,a voice of reason and common sense. Fairfax need to make a profit or they are history. The ‘Press ” cartoon today by an attack cartoonist called murdoch is at the same level as slaters attack medium. He knows his job is on the line.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.2.1

        Fairfax need to make a profit? Why? Gutter journalism is profitable but is “profitable” any good to society? Perhaps they should talk to the executives at TV3. They really have a hang of keeping audience eyeballs.

      • Tracey 6.2.2

        “attack” cartoonist… “same level as slaters attack”.

        Really? I think you misunderstand what slater and those he uses and who use whim actually do.

        I also thing you might have misunderstood the place of the media, the 4th estate.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.3

      It’s interesting how the point is also made that the transition to digital means information is more open and accessible than ever before.

      Yes download the power elite’s propaganda narratives faster than ever before.

      • Dazzer 6.3.1

        Clearly you didn’t read the link I provided. In the example the power elite (in this case the church) had in the past been able to claim actions that had been done or not when people were able to use digital media for themselves to see that this was not the case. To suggest that the growth of digital media has someone assisted the power elite is ironic in the least given that without the transition to digital media you would have little opportunity to have your say.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          digital media cuts both ways, Dazzer. I was more referring to The Washington Post as a great repeater of the official Washington D.C. narrative (Iraq WMD, Libya, Syria WMD, Snowden/NSA, Ukraine) and thinking it funny that they would still claim to be some great bastion of true journalism.

          BTW the Catholic Church isn’t the power-elite in the USA: the bankster, oligarchic class and military-industrial-surveillance complex is.

    • Tracey 6.4

      Alex Braae ‏@awbraae 15h15 hours ago
      A cartoon can explain a story in seconds, vs a long form article that nobody will read. Strange decision from Fairfax #SaveNZcartoonists

  7. McFlock 7

    At least the withdrawal of fairfax from the actual news market (incremental but incessant) provides an opening for scoop and one or two others.

    Half of it is an overpaid Buzzfeed now, in ten years there will be no more news content on Stuff than there is in Woman’s Weekly.

    In the meantime, I’m on a couple of geopolitical email lists, and seriously considering paying for a (very cheap) subscription to “War is Boring”, a smallish site that covers lots of random war trivia but also issues like the ongoing war in South Sudan. Most of my NZ political news comes from here or FB (I have some interesting friends), and supplemented with a couple of newspaper websites. Stuff basically gives me some soft news and crosswords while machines do my bidding at work muhahahaha.

    • Marvellous Bearded Git 7.1

      @ McFlock
      My theory is many people would subscribe if the price of a (for example) a paywalled Guardian site was say $49 a year, while very few would subscribe if it was $249.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.2

      War is boring is fun

    • Tracey 7.3

      300,000 kiwis were watching CL at the end, and that suggest a number who want to know about fellow kiwis and the state of the nation. There aren’t many businesses (media or otherwise) who are in the profit business who turn that away.

  8. T Chris 8

    Kill of Campbell Live?

    No one watched it

  9. hoom 9

    Obviously there will be loads of ‘FREE SPEECH UNDER ATTACK’ banner headlines.

    …oh wait, silly me this is Big Biased Media actually and directly attacking Free Speech. Again.
    No, this will just earn praise from the Dirty Columnists :-/

  10. Bill 10

    I’m kind of heartened by the death of major outlets. There is just a possibility now that when/if something crops up that people actually want information on, that public meetings once again become popular hot-beds of info and ideas.

    If that happens, and it could, ‘our betters’ will have lost control and their wee crowns will be sitting very uneasily.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      “that public meetings once again become popular hot-beds of info and ideas.”

      You meant to say “social media”, right?

      • Bill 10.1.1


        • Lanthanide

          Ok then. You’re a bit backwards looking, in that case.

          I think the days of regular meetups in public are over.

          • Bill

            The idea that only literate and internet capable people can or should engage on a geographically unbounded platform that is also an impersonal space offering limited communication, popular as the notion among some may be, is…elitist, crap, nuts and…won’t/can’t go anywhere.

            • Lanthanide

              I’m not saying that that “can” or “should” be the case. Just that it is.

              In terms of literacy, it is quite high in this country, thanks to our education system. Internet access is becoming more accessible every year. The concept of access to the internet being a basic human right has been discussed by the UN and other international bodies, and it seems in most public polls, people support it. It’s conceivable that it could be passed into law in NZ within the next 10-15 years.

              The internet is the future of communication. To deny that is, as I said, backwards.

              • Bill

                Access to local public spaces is no bother at all – to both the literate and the illiterate.

                And here’s a thing Lanthanide. We communicate on this forum, but I have no idea who you are or where you live. How the fuck does that distance translate into meaningful political action and solidarity? Even if you lived in Dunedin, I could walk by you on the street, or even have a conversation with you in the pub, and have no idea it was you.

                A face remembered from a meeting though….and conversations lead to or develop ideas that can form real world human connections/bonds that constitute the basis of networks that then translate into political acts.

                • Lanthanide

                  “Access to local public spaces is no bother at all – to both the literate and the illiterate.”

                  But that’s not really true. At work, I can (and obviously do) read and comment on the Standard, since I work at a computer. I wouldn’t be able to meet up for a political movement during the day. Similarly when I get home from work, I spend most of my time at my computer, doing one thing or another, and it’s certainly less bother than attending a physical space would be.

                  “How the fuck does that distance translate into meaningful political action and solidarity? ”

                  I don’t think that real-world interactions are particularly more likely to result in actual political actions than online organisation is. It still takes effort and a will to do anything, either way. In fact using the internet allows people to communicate who otherwise never would – since I’m in Christchurch and you’re apparently in Dunedin, this exchange would not take place except for the internet. I have an acquaintance on Facebook who organises a lot of TPP protests (and other government injustices) in Christchurch, and Facebook is a large part of how she organises the protests.

                  I’ll note that Drinking Liberally fizzled out. The Standard didn’t.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    It’s interesting how the point is also made that the transition to digital means information is more open and accessible than ever before.

                    The Catholic Church has been around long before The Standard, and it will be around long after The Standard is gone. And yes, they do meet in person weekly.

                • weka

                  I agree. Pre-internet, people who needed to talk politics generally had to get together to do it. There were magazines and books, films, TV etc for information/ideas/analysis, but the need that we get met here on ts etc could really only happen face to face. From that came direct action. The internet is good for some things, but in this thing it fails (or more fairly, it’s not designed to cater for).

                  I find it hard to tell how much the lack of getting together is a consequence of the internet (and slacktivism), and how much a consequence of 30 years of neoliberalism and people being resigned to it.

              • Tracey

                Not under national. Cos it would cost money. There are still school rooms in NZ that have 1 or no computer int heir classrooms.

          • The Fairy Godmother

            Some people do attend meetings still. I was at a Playcentre meeting this week at our local Playcentre with 14 people and went to our collective union meeting and there were 17 people – over half the members on our site. So yes some people still know how to attend meetings and have their say. I think they just need to understand what the purpose is.

            • Lanthanide

              Bill seems to be talking about “public meetings” specifically to discuss political things. Not meetings that already exist for a particular purpose, that have politics as a side discussion.

    • gsays 10.2

      hi bill,
      spot on.

    • Ergo Robertina 10.3

      How does it follow that public meetings will be well attended when the major media outlets die? Most public meetings aren’t reported now, so shouldn’t people be already surging into them?
      I think what’s happening is that people are projecting their own stuff on to this ‘death of the MSM’ trope.
      I’m bored with it. Why don’t we hear more about what’s happening industrially and otherwise in other sectors? Education, health, academia, aged care, NGOs.
      Oh that’s right, it’s the MSM’s fault, for not giving us the information. Maybe an information rich utopia awaits when we’re freed of the shackles.

      • Lanthanide 10.3.1

        I agree that the death of MSM is a bit overplayed.

        BUT, the quality definitely has gone down the tubes. stuff.co.nz is full of clickbait and irrelevant entertainment stories dominating the prominent places on the site. News reader scripts often include trite little comments that are supposed to be relevant to the story they’ve just covered, but which don’t add any valuable information and are often misleading unless you know what the story is about anyway. The recent coverage of Jeb Bush entering the GOP candidate selection was classic crap reporting on TVNZ (and Seven Sharp), with them acting like it going to be Bush vs Clinton for the presidency in 2016.

        When it comes to political reporting, it’s always a bland repeating of what the government has said without any actual thought or challenge to what it being said in that it often does not match reality or make sense. They never interview anyone on the 6pm news now (that was relegated to 7pm many years ago now, and I doubt Seven Sharp do it at all) but are in love with their pointless “live crosses”.

      • Bill 10.3.2

        It doesn’t follow.

        But when the, arguably, dampening effect of the msm is removed from public discourse/need for information, then there’s a chance that real face to face and well attended meetings can spring up.

        I suspect I bore people with my regular references to Scottish politics, but here I go again. The entire msm over there was anti- independence. But things took off and much of the public discourse was set via meetings in church halls/community halls or whatever. As far as I’m aware, well attended public meetings are still happening post referendum and post UK general election. Regardless, people there believe that they know a thing or two now, talk politics as a new norm, and so aren’t so easily taken in by msm spin lines.

        In short, political engagement happens between people, not between people and institutions or people and ‘one way’ media. In the latter examples, we are rendered as spectators. In the former, we access empowerment.

        • Ergo Robertina

          That’s what I mean by projecting.
          It’s a hell of a long way from provincial newspaper cartoonists losing their voice to the Scottish independence question.
          You may be unaware that New Zealand has a strong history of political cartoons that challenge the establishment and stood up to fascism.
          You may also be unaware that Fairfax Australia is using the New Zealand market to experiment with digital-centrism and shared regional content.
          I seem to recall you were pretty sanguine about Campbell getting the chop too.

          • Bill

            I wasn’t sanguine about Campbell getting the chop, although I’m well aware people interpreted my comments that way.

            I brought up Scotland in relation to media, particularly a hostile media and the power that come from people merely connecting and communicating in spite of it. I thought it a reasonable point of comparison. Having said that, NZ’s ‘chewing gum’ media may well pose a greater barrier to people taking a similar grassroots path should a potentially galvanizing issue arise.

            All I have to say about cartoonists getting the chop is that it’s, on many levels, shit. But isn’t it part of a bigger picture worth commenting on?

            edit. I’d suggest I’m extrapolating rather than projecting, no?

            • Tracey

              Certainly cartoonists in our major papers are edgy and fearless in their critique, of all politicians. Given my sense of a dumbing down and movement away from education to entertainment and political advertorials it struck me as odd that cartoonists were being tolerated. I suspected Herald would be first to strike, but I take m hat off to them for being beaten by FareFix.

            • Ergo Robertina

              The bigger picture. It’s got to be more expansive than using the issue at hand as a springboard to one’s hobby horse. There is more than one ‘bigger picture’ and at least three or four – often more – sides to every story.
              I would argue the rise of identity/issue based activism to which you allude makes regional diversity in media more vital.
              It’s coinciding with NZ’s population growth being confined largely to the bigger centres – partly because of shortsighted Govt policy – which threatens the future viability of parts of regional NZ.
              Let’s face it: NZ MSM is not dying, its resources are increasingly focused in metropolitan areas and online. Regional stories in the big media outlets tend to be the weird and whacky or spot news.
              Papers based in regions are being run down: increasingly formulaic, early deadlines as print plant isn’t replaced (papers printed in other centres and trucked in), and reporters unable to develop rounds.
              And of course this doesn’t matter until your geographic area is affected adversely by Govt policy, or you have an issue with the local DHB, council or whatever.
              The regions obviously lack the mass of people to effect the pressure increasingly brought to bear through issue or identity based politics (provided it’s done right and connects with people emotionally, which is not as contingent on the MSM’s priorities as many assume).
              This is where regional cartoonists come in. They give papers a sense of heart and home. In a modest way they illuminate an issue by putting a local tweak on a national story or by taking aim at a local issue that no-one outside the region cares about.
              No-one knows how Fairfax’s experiment will turn out, but the least likely outcome is the death of mainstream media and the hastening of your peer-to-peer information enlightenment.

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    Last remaining cartoonist of the Fairfax Media will end up with the last laugh or the sad cry @#SaveNZcartoonists. FFM-biggest joke of all!— Clem Geo Pin (@clemgeopin) June 17, 2015

    Fair Fax : FFF

    • Clemgeopin 11.1

      FF F’s witty and wise intelligent people to control thought and save some bob!

      Something rotten is happening in the land of the long white cloud for big business controlled media world. It is getting dirty, dark & grey.— Clem Geo Pin (@clemgeopin) June 17, 2015

    • Tracey 11.2

      farefix and others must be wanting to buy twitter next to shut down the witty critique of our politicians

    • Tracey 11.3

      “Alex Braae ‏@awbraae 15h15 hours ago
      A cartoon can explain a story in seconds, vs a long form article that nobody will read. Strange decision from Fairfax #SaveNZcartoonists”

      Kind of makes a mockery of the digital age argument

  12. saveNZ 12

    Maybe they will start printing the cartoons inside down, Nazi style.

    There will be no dissent in this ‘rock star’ economy.

    Boycott the advertisers and the paper!

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