Category: social media

Down Time In Provincial Print

Caption: The art deco Daily Telegraph building symbolised the steady, secure nature of provincial newspapers in the 1980s.

An old journalist colleague of mine, Mike Johansson and has a unique take of the changes facing print media. He started out as a cadet reporter at the now defunct Napier Daily Telegraph in what is now remembered as a strong and stable era for New Zealand print journalism.  Provincial newspapers were buoyed by classified advertising and had enough resources to sustain a rounds system that covered local news with some detailed understanding. He also worked as a sub-editor at The Press, in Christchurch, in what was, in retrospect, a golden era.

Johansson earned a Rotary scholarship to the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in Upstate New York and after that he made a career nearby at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester owned by the giant Gannett Corporation.

“In 1986 when I landed in Syracuse, readership was in very slow decline,” he says.

Continue reading “Down Time In Provincial Print”

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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Why Did The Human Rights Commission Back Tabloid TV?

The Human Rights Commission has been pumping up the”race row” in Real Housewives of Auckland. It reminds me of its unorthodox action back in 2012. Then Equal Opportunities Commissioner Judy McGregor, a former tabloid newspaper editor, went undercover as an aged care worker, and publicised how aged workers are underpaid. It was a worthy cause, but an unusual approach

Former EEO Commissioner Judy McGregor went undercover
Former EEO Commissioner Judy McGregor went undercover

I said in the NZ Herald media column:

The former Sunday News editor’s report comes across as a ripping yarn about the life and devotion of staff.

But did anybody else think it was a bit odd for a commissioner to go undercover like this? And would the elderly patients mind if they had known they had been showered by the EEO commissioner.

We asked the former editor and member of the Broadcasting Standards Authority if she had used a false name and whether she had access to personal medical records on her undercover stint. We asked what physical tasks she performed but got no answer.

We also wonder if the Privacy Commissioner was involved. After several attempts to get details of the undercover arrangement, the Human Rights Commission refused to comment.

That was four years ago. There seem to be similarities with Real Housewives of Auckland racial incident wherever Julia Sloane used the N word about Michelle Blanchard, who is black, and who was understandably furious. It seems like the Human Rights Commission was pre-warned by producers and knew there would be a broadcast of a bleeped racial comment. It does not appear to have tried to prevent the show going ahead, Instead it seems to have been taking the producers view that it would be helpful to race relations

 The Human Rights Commission was approached for comment but declined while it was awaiting legal advice.

unknown-54 The Commission was advised by RHOAKL broadcaster Bravo on June 23 about the incident but the Commission chose to say nothing about the broadcast until after it ran last Tuesday. On September 1 the Commission launched “Thats Us”  digital ad campaign against racism and in a tweet Race Relations conciliator Dame Susan Devoy singled out the use of the N word. The theme for Real Housewives is about bitchiness and meanness.

I’m not backing Sloane, whose comment was clearly foolish  and hurtful  to fellow housewife Michelle Blanchard. I question the Commission hyping a tabloid TV and contorted a foolish statement by an individual represents the state of race relations.

Julia Sloane: Screwed up and apologised. But still attacked by Human Rights Commission
Julia Sloane: Screwed up and apologised. But still attacked by Human Rights Commission

Why has a government agency aligned itself with tabloid “reality” TV channel?

Meanwhile, The Spinoff website had been giving extensive publicity to the reality series and heavily supporting Bravo and the RHOAKL production team from NBC Universal. A podcast published on September 21 examines that looks at the episode and makes it clear its supports the decision to highlight the slur and criticises people who do not hold that view. In my opinion More information needs to be made available by the Commission for its approach.   Turning on an individual three months after the event, does not seem to be more about publicity than fighting racism.

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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Why does the media love itself so much? Ginga of the Nation Replaces St Hilary

CAPTION: I imagine Sam Hayes will develop a warmer style now she is on the weekday 6pm bulletin.

Congratulations to Samantha Hayes for winning her new role as Newshub newsreader. And good luck for her transition to the permanent 6pm role. To be honest, I have always thought her delivery somewhat cold and aloof  – but as a TV3 insider told me – she is experienced now and capable of changing for the new role. My understanding is that Hayes was always the first choice. She has weathered the celebrity storm in the past. As one pal pointed out, Hayes was hammered by the gossip columnist Rachel Glucina. But that is not going to happen while Glucina works with TV3.

Continue reading Why does the media love itself so much? Ginga of the Nation Replaces St Hilary

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Why the long face? Mr Ed straight man dies, aged 96

The Hollywood Reporter wrote (abridged):

“Alan Young, who answered to the name “Willburrrrrrrrrrrrr” on Mister Ed, the wacky 1960s sitcom that revolved around a talking horse, has died. For six seasons Young played straight man to a golden palomino. He died of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Home in Woodland Hills, Calif.  Mister Ed started out in syndication in January 1960 on about 100 stations. CBS picked up the show, and it aired until February 1966.”

For the full story:

As a kid, I occasionally wagged school to watch afternoon TV shows like  “Mr Ed” and  “My Mother The Car” Those two shows summed up the wacky excesses of sixties American sitcoms. They did not make it into New Zealand prime time, but I’d argue the laughs for Mr Ed, though hokey, are better than for some sitcoms on screen now.

Mr Ed was made to look like he was talking by putting a piece of nylon thread in his mouth. (I doubt it would not pass muster with animal rights rules nowadays). Alan Young was reported as saying Mr Ed had  learned to move his lips on cue when the trainer touched his hoof. The voice of the real star – the horse of course – was actor Allan Lane, though he was not credited. According to Wikipedia, the voice belonged to “an actor who prefers to remain nameless.”


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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Twitter to ease tight squeeze Change could happen in two weeks

Good news is ahead for twitter users who struggle to send messages within the 160 character limit. Twitter users will tell you the limit is handy for keeping message short and sharp. But it can be a hassle when two or three people are in a conversation and they are listed in the tweet, leaving no room for an actual message.

Bloomberg reported yesterday (Tuesday):

“Twitter Inc. is making a major shift in how it counts characters in Tweets, giving users more freedom to compose longer messages.
The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.”

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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ