Worrying, or what I did with my holidays

Written By: - Date published: 12:47 pm, January 26th, 2009 - 58 comments
Categories: blogs, interweb, labour, Media - Tags:

I’ve meaning to write a wee post thanking Young Labour for inviting me along to speak at their Summer School the other weekend. I’m told it’s a bit of a tradition at these summer schools to have some speakers from outside the party to give a different perspective, which is a bloody good idea. Falling into my natural role of nitpicker, I gave a critique of Labour’s web-presence, which they seemed to take pretty well. Scoop’s Alastair Thompson and I also spoke on the role of the Internet in politics, particularly in relation to traditional and emerging media, including our respective sites. Alastair’s insights were fascinating and, well, I hope I didn’t ramble too much.

I think we’re in interesting times for the media. The creation of the Fairfax/APN foreign-owned duopoly in our print media began an asset-stripping process where maximum profits were extracted by slashing costs (ie the number of journos and their pay), which has led to declining quality of output. The rise and rise of the Internet has dramatically accelerated this process in three ways:

  • Rather than paying for 50 pages of ads and a few articles, most of which they don’t read, people now view the articles they want online for free and with little ad revenue generated.
  • Readers are being lost to largely amateur websites, including the blogosphere, that are very topic-specific and often offer better coverage than the professional media.
  • Most importantly, the print media is losing its traditional cash-cow, classified advertising, to the likes of Trade-me.

Both APN and Fairfax are in severe distress because of this – the Herald is effectively for sale but there is no buyer. And there is nothing to be done about it – the tide of Internet-driven change is washing over the traditional print business model and no King Canute will be able to turn it back.

Now, the prolonged recession is set to make things much worse very quickly. I have heard industry estimates that some major newspapers will see their revenue drop 25% this year, mainly due to falling ad revenue. The inevitable reaction of the owners will be to further slash journo numbers and their pay even (heaven forbid the owners should cut their dividends). That, of course, will only promote the decline in standards and drive readers to other sources of news.

Something new is going to emerge from the long collapse of the traditional print media and the rise, from what are still small beginnings, of the Internet-based media. My worry is whether or not that new something will be able to fulfill the vital, if largely abandoned at present, role of the media in a democracy as the fourth estate.

58 comments on “Worrying, or what I did with my holidays”

  1. Lew 1

    As someone who spends his days and nights knee deep in the media, I recommend Gordon Campbell’s article on the state of such things: http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/the-dividing-line-between-pr-and-news-disappears/

    L

    Captcha: `villain watching’. But are the villains being watched, or doing the watching?

  2. Daveski 2

    An interesting post SP

    I think your general comments are accurate. I noted in Gordon Campbell’s article about the “business of the news” which of course is at the heart of the issue.

    Mind you it’s not news – Gang of Four’s album “Entertainment” – in the late 1970’s canvassed that issue way back then ie news as entertainment.

    Interestingly, one of the criticisms of the Labour govt was the use of comms staff to play the game. While I have some sympathy – that’s the rules of the game now – they have certainly contributed to the control of the news by the spin merchants.

    The conflicting comments from KB and here show that there is never consensus on what the fourth estate should be saying. So long as there is no controls on who says what, I think the future will hold more independent web based sites grouped around issues and themes while the mass media focuses increasingly on entertainment and content that is driven by subscription.

    To that end, the Standard is well positioned to play a significant role in representing views from the left.

  3. mike 3

    I think you will find newspapers around for a long time yet SP, as a lot of advertisers are discovering they do not get the same exposure with the “pull” format of the internet as opposed to the “push” media (newspapers, magazines, mailers) Its’ horses for courses obviously but print media is still the preferred and cheapest method of getting your message to the masses.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    That article by Gordon Campbell is shocking. If ever there was a reason to stop wathcing the idot’s hour of evening news that provides it. And didn’t I say not long ago that Mike McRoberts is Mike McPropaganda.

  5. Redbaiter 5

    The only real ‘print media/um’ in NZ is Ian Wishart’s “Investigate”.

  6. Lew 6

    RB: That statement tells us more about you than it does about the media.

    QtR: Why stop watching, other than to starve them of ratings and drive more actual journalists – yes, they exist – over to the PR dark side? Why not watch, take into account the explicit and implicit agendas, the hidden and not-so hidden distortions and keep yourself sane by comparing and contrasting to a wide range of other media, analysis, opinion and (most critically) primary sources such as press releases? You can’t just ignore the media and hope it goes away – better to arm yourself with the tools to properly contextualise and understand it.

    L

  7. Quoth the Raven 7

    Lew – I do read and watch a wide range of news media. In doing that I think it demonstrates how particularly bad our local media is. They would be more watchable if they were open about their respective biases. There are other reasons not to watch the evening news like their sickening focus on crime.

  8. The print media in NZ have only themselves to blame. People like me who used to buy their newspapers every day – often several – to get a feel for “opinion”, no longer want to buy those papers.

    For one thing, the “opinions” these days are too often either stupid, uninformed prejudice (Garth George and fellow travellers) or overtly slanted in favour of the party that business sees as its own. Of the newspapers imply refuse to print news they find politically inconvenient….as the Herald did in effectively suppressing news stories reporting evidence supporting climate change until AFTER the election…..when we finally got to read many things that had been reported almost daily for months prior.

    Collectively, No Right Turn, The Standard and Kiwiblog give me a more balanced “take” on the news of the day than the NZ Herald or the DomPost. The NZ Herald and The DomPost tend to be mostly Kiwiblog-ish most days…and I know there is more to the news that that. There are other values that must have a voice the newspapers refuse to give them.

    So I don’t buy newspapers as much or as often as I used to. I don’t trust them. Why would I reward them for being untrustworthy by giving them my money?

  9. Redbaiter 9

    There are very few real “journalists” in the NZ mainstream media. Most are fake, Pravda style propagandists for socialism, and this is not anywhere more evident than in their unquestioning endorsement of the shady bat eared crook Barack Obama who can’t even prove he was born in the US, (as the Constitution requires). Yet, when this charlatan and fraud has hidden every facet of his background from public view, the same sleazy impostors who travelled by the plane load to Alaska to dig dirt on Sara Palin, and who subpoenaed George Bush’s dental records, now write in the Herald of how he brings “openness” to government (Audrey Young) and “hope” to the world. (author Paul Holmes, that well known right wing attack dog).

    Now totally discredited for ever, these scum going broke is something they themselves have begged for for years. Writing to suit their ideology rather than their market, they’re dropping like flies. Soon they’ll be extinct, and it can’t happen soon enough in my humble opinion. Good riddance to evil rubbish.

  10. Ag 10

    If the Herald goes, I’ll cheer. It’s run by illiterates anyway.

    Redbaiter is still foaming at the mouth bonkers, I see.

  11. Ari 11

    Redbaiter, you’re as salient as ever. Barack made his birth certificate public, and it shows him as born in Hawaii. (in fact, he posted it to the internet as well, which is a step further than most politicians go when they make something public.)

    Digging dirt is a very large part of a journalist’s job. They’re supposed to do it so that we have some sort of moral enforcement, and incitement to the government to be moral and honest. Sad as it is, digging dirt is only a viable strategy against those who have dirty pasts.

    Oh, and good luck trying to prove the Herald are shilling for socialism by any objective metric. There hasn’t been a bigger bunch of social conservatives publishing together since Rupert Murdoch decided he quite liked the idea of a media conglomerate 😛

  12. @ work 12

    I find it odd how critical some people in the blogshpere can be of the media, but as soon as there is a supposed scandal to be had in what they are saying, the words of the media are taken as gospel.

    (any one else have a bit of a laugh at DPF calling for calm and to wait for the full facts to come out over this police shooting thing?)

  13. Redbaiter 13

    “Barack made his birth certificate public, and it shows him as born in Hawaii.”

    A gross lie. Go away if that pathetic propaganda is all you’re good for.

  14. @ work 14

    Thats not a refutation. Your going to have to give a reasons why he’s wrong or your claim isn’t logically valid.

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    Ari:

    Barack made his birth certificate public, and it shows him as born in Hawaii.

    No no no no no.

    BHO is Malcom X’s secret bastard offspring. ( ‘Barack’ is the mooslim form of Barry, his so called father’s name, plus – look at the ears! Totally the same ears).

    That it doesn’t say that on his “birth certificate” is only evidence of how far back his unbridled ambition for power goes. If they’d fake that then the place of birth is nothing. Anyway, Dan Rather proved accurate equals fake.

    Why do you think he ‘fumbled’ the oath taken on the Bible? HUH?HUH? Why did he not swear on a bible in the private do over??3/!!!1

  16. Redbaiter 16

    “Thats not a refutation. Your going to have to give a reasons why he’s wrong or your claim isn’t logically valid.”

    I’m not in the habit of spoon feeding facts to drooling idiots. Anyone who has read on this issue knows the full long form birth certificate (that shows much more detail than the short form, including ACTUAL place of birth, not ‘place of registration of birth’) is under lock and key in an Hawaiian hospital and Barack has fought tooth and nail to keep it hidden from public view. The left have spread lies to try and cloud this simple distinction, and that is what Ari is doing above.

  17. @ work 17

    By “I’m not in the habit of spoon feeding facts to drooling idiots” I assume you mean that you know what your claiming is questionable at best so your argument sounds far stronger if you just gloss over and pretend its fact. Your argument just is not built on sound premise’s.

  18. Baiter – you’re a legend. Is it true you are a founding member of the National Front?

  19. Redbaiter 19

    “Is it true you are a founding member of the National Front?”

    No, but its true you’re a worthless smearing coward. All you’ve ever been. Ignorant too, or you’d know that Redbaiter’s ideas of small weak government fashioned along the lines of the US Republic after the War of Independence are totally incompatible with the political ambitions of the National Front. The Front are big government believers. That makes them your buddies.

    BTW, now that you’ve got that cowardly smear out of the way, anything to say on the issue of the Herald’s sycophantic reporting on the thug Obama? That’s actually what I’m commenting on, something you probably overlooked in your feverish haste to smear, as usual.

  20. @ work 20

    C’mon sod, your either with us or against us!

  21. I’d like to see some evidence that you’re not, baiter. You seem pretty fascist to me. I’d also like to know if your homosexuality is an issue for your NF mates or whether they’ve become more queer-tolerant.

  22. Redbaiter 22

    Yawn. Like most commies, when you’re confronted with truth and reason, you melt like ice in the sun. Hate, lies and smears are all you ever have. Fuck off bore.

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Its ok – this is RB’s usual MO – bait anyone who disagrees with him using conspiracy theories, made-up terminology and invalid logic, and when called on it, claim he’s above the argumentation he started. That’s why he calls himself redBAITER.

    There’s another prefix I think is rather more appropriate, but anyway.

    L

  24. Redbaiter 24

    Moderator- please don’t feel obliged to publish the previous comment. (presently held in moderation) The unintelligent narcissistic bore is not really worth even that small amount of effort.

    [lprent: did it before i saw this..]

  25. Redbaiter 25

    Conspiracy theories… pfft, more obfuscation. The people trying to get a look at Obama’s long form certificate are lawyers, teachers, politicians, professional people from many walks of life. There’s no conspiracy. All that’s needed is for Obama to cease hiding his original certificate from public view. If this was Bush or any Republican, you’d be screaming to see it, and so would Audrey Young and Paul Holmes. The mainstream media are pathetically beholden to the left, and their fawning over Obama, as in the articles referenced above, and so many similar articles, is enough proof of this to satisfy anyone who isn’t a blind left wing bigot.

  26. Lew 26

    Just for clarity – the so-called `narcissistic bore’ above is me, not PB.

    L

  27. Redbaiter 27

    “Just for clarity – the so-called `narcissistic bore’ above is me, not PB.”

    Well OK, if you say so, but I really meant the low IQ poseur Robinsod, so in love with himself and his self professed intelligence he’ll never awaken to what a boring drone he really is.

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    Gee Baiter, last I heard Obama was so far to the Right of us blind left wing bigots that it must be the right-wing media trying to prevent him from being discredited.

    Otherwise there are a lot of people in the RWNJ KBR crowd (probably all of them excepting your good self) that need you to ‘correct’ their views of the US Democrats…

  29. Lew 29

    RB: So … are you going to argue that the Supremes are also `blind left-wing bigots’? That’d be cool.

    Oh, also … sadly, it seems ‘Sod is the bore, not me. A coveted title indeed.

    L

  30. Oh noz! Baiter haz mocked me! Baity-mate you don’t like my self-love because you think it leaves no room in my heart for you… And you’re right.

    edit: don’t worry Lew – I still think you’re a bore…

  31. Redbaiter 31

    “Gee Baiter, last I heard”

    Yeah Matt, but with sources that are entirely made up of left wing propagandists, why would what you have “heard’ be worth remarking on?? Obama is a hard left socialist, and has already implemented a series of actions that prove this beyond doubt. You won’t read about this in the fawning mainstream media, or any other of the poisonous to democracy left wing sources you are devoted to.

  32. Redbaiter 32

    “Sod is the bore, not me.”

    Make your mind up for chrissakes. Girl.

  33. You won’t read about this in the fawning mainstream media, or any other of the poisonous to democracy left wing sources you are devoted to.

    No indeed! You’ll only find it in brave and peerless web publications such as: http://www.nationalfront.org.nz/

  34. Redbaiter 34

    “The New Zealand National Front is a party of genuine democracy which belongs to its members. Its governing body is the National Council which is an elected body, which then elects a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and other party officers. The policies of the party are determined by its members at an annual conference and all decisions are binding upon the party leadership.”

    Haw haw, this could have come directly from the Internationale Socialist’s website. They’re (the NF) your buddies Robinsod, because they believe in government, the bigger the better, just like you. Now, for the third time- anything to say on the issue, or are off topic feeble and cowardly attempts to smear all your sad tiny little intellect is capable of??

  35. sad tiny little intellect

    You’ve lost a little panache since we last argued bait.What has happened to your long rambling insults peppered with terms like “communist troglodyte”???

    As much as it pains me to say this about a legend such as yourself – you’re becoming dull and uninspired…

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    Again, Baiter, you’ll need to pass that info on to your RWNJ mates of the KBR – they’re the “left wing propagandists” that have been professing that Obama is relatively well over to the right, from an NZ perspective. Try and read comments before replying, you can’t bait someone when you’ve failed to comprehend what they’ve said to you.

    You’re slipping, the fiesty fella of a few years back wouldn’t have failed so miserably to comprehend my comment. Like the ‘sod, I’m disappointed.

  37. Billy 37

    you’re becoming dull and uninspired

    Actually, everyone seems to have become so on this thread. The highlight for me was when Lew displayed his boorish narcissism by assuming that a comment about a narcissistic bore must be directed at him.

    Everyone has become a caricature of himself (with RB starting well ahead of the pack).

    To spice things up, I suggest that ‘sod argue RB’s position and vice versa. Lew should try to be MP (thereby displaying a sense of humour and humility that he does not possess). MP should try arguing like a narcissitic bore.

    I will be like Drew Carey and award points at the end of the round.

  38. Lew 38

    Billy: Hey, but then we wouldn’t be able to have a serious discussion!

    oh, wait…

    L

  39. Billy 39

    Very promising start, Lew. Didn’t sound like you at all. I’m awarding you 800 points.

  40. Billy – I don’t have a position. I have many positions. And I started as a caricature of myself. But I do agree that something, some spark, some sense of spirit or soul is missing from the ‘sphere nowadays…

    I yearn for the simpler times of 2007/08 when I was still allowed on Kiwiblog, I had not a care in the world, all that fun with Cameron was still to be looked forward to and you could make truly filthy comments on the standard without fear of being banned …

    Those were the days, eh billy me old mate? Those were the days…

  41. Billy 41

    I agree entirely. I was only really ever in it for “the crack” and that seems to have been moderated out of here.

  42. Redbaiter 42

    Yawn…… zzzzzzzzzzzz

    What Robinsod yearns for. What Robinsod’s position is. Robinsod had not a care. Who the fuck is interested (besides you) you narcissistic bore?????

  43. Billy 43

    No points for that, I am afraid Redbaiter. You didn’t sound like ‘sod at all. Please try harder.

  44. Redbaiter 44

    lprent- pretty poor you know. I knew the Standard was plagued with knuckle dragging losers, but really, this is how you want it?? Pathetic.

    [lprent: On the odd occasion these things flare up (especially when the ‘sod or yourself or a few others gets involved). I tend to let them run as long as they stay moderately civil. Haven’t gone all of the way back on this burst, but so far it looks no more than mildly objectionable. ]

  45. Billy 45

    Oh dear, you’re not very good at this game, are you?

    Lew has taken a substantial lead and I really don’t like your chances of catching him on your present form.

  46. What kind of lickspittle commie scumbag troglodyte to you take me for billy??? Unlike you and your petty vain and self-important socialist KKKomrades I’m not here to entertain! My sole purpose for writing here is to put the truth in front of people so they can have their eyes open to the freedoms they have lost and the cover-up from the complicit left-wing media and hopefully rise up against the tyranny of government.

    Oh and I’m too scared to leave the house and so have no other avenue for social contact.

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    You guys are making the ‘sphere sound like a microcosm of how the media and right want us to believe the left have made reality…

  48. Billy 48

    …and suddenly a new contender emerges.

  49. What Robinsod yearns for. What Robinsod’s position is. Robinsod had not a care. Who the fuck is interested (besides you) you narcissistic bore?????

    Are you in love with me?

  50. Hey – aren’t you gonna give me some points???

    Cap: “Adios agreement”. Yes. Yes indeed.

  51. Billy 51

    And after the first round the scores are:

    Lew: 800 points
    Matthew Pilott:1,500 points
    ‘Sod: 2,000 points
    Redbaiter: no points.

    So RB concedes a substantial advantage with all to play for in the all important quick-fire buzzer round.

  52. randal 52

    hi folks
    spent some of my holidays reading “Who Says Elephants Cant Dance” by Lou Gerstner about how he turned round IBM when they were up against it so any predictions about the death of the media I would take with a grain of salt.
    and SP
    did you tell the young labourites that the main reason for the death of the old STANDARD was a result of the bluenoses in the party not allwing the paper to print race results?
    anyway the way to go is always counterintuitive
    e.g.
    necessity is the mother of invention
    not so
    invention during the formative years of the industrial revolution came about when attempts were made to reduce labour costs
    okay
    over and out

  53. lukas 53

    Randal, are you PhilU?

  54. Redbaiter 54

    Billy, such a knuckle dragger he sees nothing incongruous in appointing himself umpire when he’s-

    1) Competing

    2) Partisan

    3) Retarded.

    You’ll die happy now anyway Billy, seeing as you finally got the attention from Redbaiter you’ve been so desperately begging for.

  55. Billy 55

    Use of “retarded” alone isn’t going to get you there, RB. Try making an inappropriate joke about my Mum, or porcine bestiality.

  56. Porcine bestiality is no joke when you’re baiter.

  57. Matthew Pilott 57

    ‘Sod, redbaiter refers to redbaiter as redbaiter – I think you lose 501 points for that infraction.

  58. No way dude – I was pretending to be you pretending to be redbaiter (and doing a bad job of it). That means those lost points come off your score-card… Or do they just pretend to…? Shit… now I’m as confused as a Redbaiter in a world without Hitler…

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