Hurricane in the neighbourhood


Community newspapers

News is like a hurricane: The closer it gets, the more important it becomes to you.

Right now, it feels like we are in Tornado Alley, staring down a twister dangerous enough to cut a path of utter destruction through our own community.

Our hurricane has been designated Covid-19 and we face it without our most locally focussed media. Continue reading “Hurricane in the neighbourhood”

Adversity journalism


Tomorrow the country will be at Covid-19 Alert Level 4 and reduced to essential services. It is time for New Zealand media to shift to adversity journalism.

This will require journalists and news organisations to see themselves as part of the national effort to defeat the enemy and not as dispassionate observers. They continue to have a role in holding power to account, but in ways that contribute to that national effort. Continue reading “Adversity journalism”

Balanced on Covid-19 tightrope


Surviving members of the Flying Wallendas high wire act would tell you: Balance is a tricky thing. Get it right, and you earned public acclamation. Get it wrong, and you fell to your death.

That’s what the public came to see. They were drawn by the possibility that the aerialist could fall to the floor of the Grand Canyon or the pavement between two skyscrapers.

Harnesses or safety nets now minimise the risk and treading a tightrope between New York’s tallest is, you might say, tightly regulated. Nonetheless, professional pride means there is nothing more ignominious than dangling helplessly from the end of a safety harness.

Losing balance is equally degrading for news media. Continue reading “Balanced on Covid-19 tightrope”

Shell-shocked by RNZ barrage

RNZ alienates allies – RIP AAP? – Readership


I’m no heavy metal fan but Radio New Zealand is forcing me to identify with a song by Metallica. The title of the track is Confusion and it is about post-traumatic stress disorder.

The state broadcaster is giving me a serious case of PTSD.

First it embarked on an ill-conceived strategy to effectively kill off RNZ Concert and, in the process, undermined audience trust and lost some of its credit balance with the Minister of Communications.

Now it has swept away the trust it had built with private sector media by embarking on another ill-conceived strategy: A ‘knocking’ advertising campaign that reeks of grandiose delusions.

rnz ad 2

Continue reading “Shell-shocked by RNZ barrage”