web analytics

When a newspaper gets useful…

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, April 24th, 2010 - 7 comments
Categories: International, Media, newspapers - Tags: ,

Public transport in Sydney - CityLinkThere is an interesting post by Jeremy Harris at the Auckland Transport Blog – “Independent Inquiry On Sydney’s PT“.

Sydney has higher PT use than Auckland though for two main reasons:

  • It has a very dense, large CBD, where 70% of workers arrive by public transport.
  • It was much larger than Auckland in the days where railways took precedence over roads and had a large electrified rail system by the 1920s, which has a CBD loop, and has served the city relatively well.

Apart from that our cities are relatively similar transport-wise, there is almost no grid road system in Sydney and public transport services are disjointed, with a mixture of public and private providers and with no clear public planning agency and accountability.

Apparently the Sydney Morning Herald got annoyed with the dithering and sponsored a independent study on what could be done to improve transport systems in Sydney. You can read more about the summarized results in the post at ATB (the draft report is 500 pages). But they can be even more summarized as

  • don’t bother with more inner-city motorways
  • integrate the transport planning
  • integrate the public transaction ticket systems
  • fix the public transport routing and frequencies
  • concentrate on smaller coordinated projects rather than grandiose schemes
  • fund the transport systems rationally

In short all of the things that this current government isn’t doing. It looks to me like Steven Joyce has no more long-term plan for Auckland’s transport woes than funding motorway construction companies and property developers outside the city, plus of course political point scoring.

As Jeremy says:-

What I found striking reading the report is how it could have been written for Auckland. Of the six points above not a single one doesn’t apply to Auckland and would be beneficial if introduced here. We should look at adopting many of it’s recommendations and recognise how they replicate the systems in cities with good public transport as diverse as London to Curitiba.

I can’t see a price tag for the study, but I wouldn’t expect it to be that expensive. Frequently people are happy to give up their time when they know it helps make a difference. And one of the benefits of the net is that it can help to massively reduce costs of collaborative efforts. You only have to look at sites like this to understand why. This site since its inception in August 2007 has cost somewhere in the order of $2500 in actual cash. All of the effort and time spent has been done in voluntary collaborative effort by many people who often know quite a lot about what they’re writing on. Frequently they’re over shadowed by the quality of the commentators.

But what really intrigued me about this story on Sydney was that a newspaper did something more useful for their city than simply report news and run waffle to protect their advertising streams which seems to be the NZ Heralds  campaigns.  Speaking as a person who has grown up with the net during my adult life, I started finding our newspapers largely irrelevant a long time ago.

Many newspapers simply slipped into repeating press statements, overseas news, and vacuous gossip long ago – all of which I can get faster, cheaper, and usually better on-line.  The opinion pieces are often interesting, but frankly there is better informed material around the blogosphere by people and sites (like ATB) who actually know what they’re talking about. Newspapers have the capability to go more in-depth on issues than TV, and are a lot less shallow than radio (apart from NatRad), but they seldom exercise it.

These days I find that I merely skim NZ Heralds online site or a paper copy while getting coffee looking for the few stories that are genuinely interesting. Most of those are local Auckland city news. I probably spend almost as much time weekly on reading Auckland City Harbour News which has really local material that I can’t get anywhere else.

I spend far more time reading my online subscription to global systems like The Economist, experts-exchange.com and a few others because they have authoritative material. Most of my reading is on-line, pretty specific, in-depth, usually free, and relies on the cross-reference linking in the articles. Programmers get virtually all of their technical material by researching from the net these days.

None of those attributes describes the material in the NZ Herald (especially their almost complete lack of links). I’m probably further into the bleeding edge than most simply because that is where I’ve been most of my life. However I suspect that newspapers will either have to adapt to the changing world or go the way of the dinosaur.

This is a worldwide trend with mere repeaters of stories like the NZ Herald steadily shrinking. Meanwhile global publications with informed new material like the Wall Street Journal and The Economist are managing to reduce their losses or even gain new subscribers. The genuinely local papers also appear to be doing fairly well because they are hooked into their communities.

I suspect that the Sunday Morning Herald is aware of that localizing trend, and I’m frankly envious of Sydney for having a paper doing local research. That is the type of material that I’d get a subscription to read.

7 comments on “When a newspaper gets useful… ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Its that vicious circle LPrent. The fewer people reading the hard copy the less money for reporting, and so on. I kept an eye on the Press online re Ecan and they did publish stuff. Will it have an effect?
    Since nearly all the publicity is centred on Auckland how about a word in favour of reinvigorating the Rail Commuting for Christchurch? From the North and Rangiora a dormitory suburb. From the South Templeton suburb. From the East Lyttleton. The rail already exists. Integrate for a population of over 500,000.

  2. Kevin Welsh 2

    Joyce should be forced to read jarbury’s transport blog every day till it finally sinks in that motorways are not the future of transport in this country.

    Auckland Transport blog is without a doubt one of the best blogs around (next to The Standard, of course :-)), and even though I do not live in Auckland, it has relevance for other urban areas in New Zealand.

    Great post LP.

  3. lprent 3

    Ianmac: You or one of the other locals should write a post. The only time I’ve spent any time in Canterbury was when I was at Burnham camp in the late 70’s for 6 weeks. You may have noticed that most (but not all) of the authors appear to be based in either Auckland or Wellington based.

    The newspapers do have an effect when they write critical authorative material. I have been around enough politicos getting wound up by newspapers to see the strategy and tactics adjust. The problem is that the newspapers seldom exercise that ability because they don’t research enough to affect policy.

    (I wish there was a reply button on the theme we use for smartphones)

    • Ianmac 3.1

      Sadly LPrent I don’t live in Canterbury. In our South Island town debate is whether or not to install our first traffic lights, and how to protect our untreated wonderful pure town water supply, from being treated with chlorine. I see that the problems with transport that Auckland faces is one for every town big or small. It toll for me and thee!

  4. Kevin, I have mulled over whether or not I would like Steven Joyce to regularly read my (and Jeremy’s) blog. While I hope it would give him some good ideas and change his thinking on transport issues…. considering every second post hassles him…. well, yeah.

    Thanks for the link LPrent, and I agree it’s very interesting to see the Sydney Morning Herald sponsor such an inquiry. The people who undertook the study are at the very top of their fields – for example Jarrett Walker of the utterly superb Human Transit blog: http://www.humantransit.org/

    If only the NZ Herald did something similar here…. it would be interesting to see the results.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    The profits are still running at something like 20% of revenue. So while income is down the share that the owners get has increased, while that that is spent on staff costs has dropped way way down

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago