By Dickens, what a year it has been

Every time I sit down to review the past year, I am drawn to the words of a former reporter on London’s Morning Chronicle.

No matter what the year, the opening lines to one of his better-known pieces of writing seems to resonate: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

And, by Dickens, that sums up the past 12 months.

The New Zealand media’s year has been, to put it far less eloquently than the author of A Tale of Two Cities, one of ups and downs. Of course, media cannot be held entirely responsible for those oscillations. In many respects they are simply mirroring or reacting to what is happening more widely in society and on the global stage. And that world is full of paradoxes – some of the best rises out of the worst. Continue reading “By Dickens, what a year it has been”

Copycat media abuse from ragtag bag of protesters

It is common practice for journalists to share contact details and locations in hostile environments such as war zones. Something is very wrong when news organisations in New Zealand share those details about their staff covering a story in downtown Wellington.

Stuff’s Head of News, Mark Stevens, disclosed last Friday that “competing media have shared contacts of journalists in the field to provide a safety network if things get dangerous”.

It followed incidents during the ‘Convoy 2022’ protest in the grounds of Parliament when journalists were abused, spat on, and assaulted. A Stuff reporter was pushed and shoved and a protester abused a Newshub news crew member and threatened to destroy his video camera. Protesters told reporters to “watch your backs on the street tonight” and that they would be “executed” for their reporting. Placards read “Media is the Virus”, “Fake News”, and accused journalists of treason. One placard parodied a Covid-19 health message: “UNITE AGAINST MEDIA 22”. Continue reading “Copycat media abuse from ragtag bag of protesters”