Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Now, here's an idea for our top journalists!

Adam Smith is lamenting how New Zealand's top journalists are holding a huge PR event to advise businesses on how to spin a story to the media.
At $2000 a pop I'm glad they are not giving away such valuable advice for nothing.
As a journalist since the 1980s, I feel it's time to make the most of my experience and in these depressed times, any chance to earn a crust won't be turned down.
Certainly there is much business has to learn in how to handle the press. We are not all jackals out to stitch people up. Sometimes organisations are too secretive or cautious for their own good and this can raise suspicions. Openess is the key. Damn! those few words must have been worth a grand!
Now, Adam thinks the conference shows how the Fourth Estate has sunk. Indeed, it is a poor reflection on them but it also recognises the reality of newsrooms lacking sufficient staff to serve their readers and viewers properly; and a confession of how much the media relies on the PR and Comms industries.
Thus, the media groups seem to be telling business how best to serve up their stories so the media organisations then can get away with operating on even fewer resources, if businesses pre-package their tales to perfection.
Now, in Britain I am heartened to see that journalists still carry out a bit of fresh investigation.
Full marks this week to the Sunday Times Insight team for their expose on Liarbour politicians in the UK House of Lords who said they would happily take money from lobbyists and changle government legislation to benefit their donors.
I am sure New Zealand journalists must be capable of making such investigations themseleves. I am sure there is corruption out there. There certainly was under the old regime but more could have been done to expose it.
I am sure we need more Phil Kitchens and Ian Wisharts to keep the politicians honest.
Of course, the New Zealand press gallery is relatively small to that of Britain. I bet government probabkly has a file on every journalist in the country, so it knows who it is dealing with.
Indeed, it might be hard for the better known ones to try and pass themseleves off as someone else while under cover.
But I am sure there is still potential for such investigations to take place using the lesser known journalists.
And as helping to keep the pollies honest, such cracking investigations might well develop such great stories the papers might sell more copies, or the 6pm news attract more viewers.
And that way, they become less dependent on the spin sector and the need for such media events that Adam Smith laments is lessened!


LaFemme said...

It has finally gotten to the point for me where I scan Stuff (to see what tragedy has occured most recently) and read blogs, plus scan the world's papers daily. I don't, however, bother searching out other news outlets in NZ, unless one of the blogs I read highlights a particular story. I did watch a bit of TV 1 last evening with my husband, but ended up feeling embarrased by the cub reporting on the discovery of US military secrets in Whangerei! This was an issue to be laughed at, jeered really, but TV One hyped it with a cold war style mentality and melodrama.
They sounded silly.
And now they're going to instruct businesses to sound just as silly are themselves?!
It'll be interesting to see how our "Old" media spins the next petrol hike, post Media Biz 09.

Anonymous said...

A Biz conference won't be worth going to until DPF, whaleoil, Darnton and Creswell are giving the keynote addresses -

and yes, until the Standard and the rest of the lefty crap has been shut down

Clunking Fist said...

"and changle government legislation"

Hey, I like that new word.

(And word verification needs a definition, too: "redro" it could be a retro style that we redo to make it more appealing to the new audience.)

KG said...

"Top journalists"?
What, both of them?

James said...

Geez Wishart looks like shit in that pick....HIV positive anyone...?

No Im not saying he is...just that that is the look...skinny,stubble etc

Or he's trying to land the lead in the next Borat film....



Of course, there might be a good thing from this conference.
If business is able to provide more 'oven-ready' news that needs little doing to it, this might leave more time for proper investigation.
Certainly the government has its hands full dealing with the fall out from the corruption involving those labour Lords and there is now acres of coverage on the matter.
What news and corruption goes unreported in new zealand, i wonder?


And yes, i am sure a few bloggers giving journalists a rocket up their arses would be most interesting.
The freelancers usually have a conference in May.