......... for Adolf to start buying The Herald again after ten years of non subscription?
The announcement yesterday of impending sweeping changes at The Herald prompted this question. Thirty years ago The Herald was a fine newspaper from which which one could be reliably informed of events national and international without having to sort out the political biases of the respective reporters. The paper carried gravitas and was widely repsected.
Not any longer.
It has sunk to the depths of banality and cheap sensationalism where the majority of its so-called news consists of unquestioned and unchecked Labour Party or Greens Party press releases.
So, Adolf was fascinated to read the following::-
The New Zealand Herald will undergo the biggest transformation in its 150-year history, with confirmation today that the weekday newspaper is moving to compact format.
The format change in September will coincide with a redesign of the award-winning nzherald.co.nz website and will modernise New Zealand's biggest newspaper to further meet the needs of readers.
As well as the change in size - making it easier and more convenient for readers - the new-look Monday-Friday paper will have more columnists, new pages and sections and a reinforced focus on investigative journalism.
With an increase in pages, editorial space will not decrease.
That got me to thinking "What would it take for me to buy it?"
For me the key issue is the current dearth of intelligent informed commentary on a range of issues. So here's what I'd do, if I were in the chair ringing in the changes.
- Sack the current editor and headline writers forthwith and require their replacements to ensure a separation of reporting from opinion
- Retain the current stable of political commentators - John Armstrong, Fran O'Sullivan and Audry Young.. On the whole they do a pretty good job.
- Get rid of McCarten, Hickey, Oram and Morgan They long ago lost all credibility.
- Keep Rodney Hide, John Roughan and Brian Rudman. Rudman adds balance to an otherwise weighted lineup and sometimes talks sense To these I'd add Chris Trotter.
- Offer a monthly column to each of the three major political party leaders, Key, Shearer and Norman - with instructions that they are to avoid being overtly partisan. For example, I'd be extremely interested to hear John Key's views on exactly how NZ might be affected adversely or positively by the default of Spain and/or Greece. Or by the collapse of the Euro should Germany finally tell the indolent spendthrift Greeks to'Verpissen und ein fremdes Geld leihen.' Equally I'd be interested in David Shearer's opinions on current goings on in the Middle East and in Russel Norman's take on the ructions between Australian Labor and the Greens. Or for that matter, any subject any of these interesting people might choose.
- Look for more commentary from genuine captains of industry on industry issues. At present one hears infrequently from John Shewan and Brian Gaynor. So what about senior figures from the fishing industry, the dairy industry, banking, transport, tourism to name a few? Where is the recently retired CEO of CBA, Sir Ralf Norris? I bet he'd have a few entertaining stories to tell.
- Ask our respective ambassadors to the US and the UK to provide monthly columns. They report regularly to the Ministry so why not report via The Herald directly to the people who pay their salaries?
- Demand reporters ask the simple but obvious questions which scream from political press releases. Three strikes and you're down the road. There are plenty more lining up for your job. I would also demand a significantly improved standard of grammar and command of the English language.
I wouldn't pay for most of the junk printed today but if the quality is good, people will pay for the product.