We could all do with a laugh

Last week I suffered a rare bout of depression. I was pursued by the Black Dog due to a situation over which I had no control. It wasn’t the Coronavirus pandemic but that didn’t help. Nor did the news media.

I negotiated my way out of the darkness with the help of my wife, my brother and a good friend. I realised most of the stresses in my life – like editing a newspaper – had been matters over which I could exercise a measure of control and my black mood was caused not by the current situation but the fact that I couldn’t fix it.

The depression lifted with the realisation that I had to rely on others to resolve the issue.

Continue reading “We could all do with a laugh”

Post-lockdown NZ media revert to attack journalism

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Journalists endanger one of the cornerstones of their profession when they lose sight of the fact that politics is a contest for power. And in New Zealand right now their vision is blurred.

Emboldened by opposition politicians eager to exploit real or imagined weaknesses in the post-lockdown management of Covid-19, some news media are indulging in a blame game.

They are the eager messengers of ‘knocking stories’ that seek to reverse public perceptions that the Government and its ministries did a good job in containing a virus that is decimating other countries.

Not that the Labour-led government did everything right. It didn’t. However, in the giddy pursuit of accusations and culprits, journalists are losing their sense of balance. And, in the process, public confidence in our health systems is being undermined. Continue reading “Post-lockdown NZ media revert to attack journalism”

[Don’t] read all about it!

mastheads
The latest readership survey shows New Zealand newspapers are very good at reporting other people’s bad news but not their own.

Last September the New Zealand Herald bragged that its Nielsen readership statistics had “soared to record levels” and this year ran an extensive story about NZME titles increasing readership in the February Nielsen survey, which it claimed was “highlighting Kiwis’ love affair with print”.

TUESDAY COMMENTARY

Last week Nielsen released its latest survey. It received no coverage in the Herald or in the Waikato Times or in the Dominion Post or in The Press or in the Otago Daily Times. Continue reading “[Don’t] read all about it!”

That existential crisis again

A Zoom presentation by Dr Gavin Ellis delivered to the Ponsonby U3A on 12 June 2020

The bad news is that journalism has taken a body blow during the Covid-19 crisis. And, like so many in my age group, the damage has been caused not so much because it tested positive to Covid-19 but because it has underlying health issues.

Since the announcement that the country would move into lockdown, close to 600 people employed in the news media have lost their jobs: 237 when Bauer closed down its entire New Zealand magazine operation, 200 from NZME including the closedown of Radio Sport, and 130 from the beleaguered MediaWorks (but not from  TV3, because MediaWorks was trying to flog it off). AGM closed three architectural magazines. There will be others that passed without notice.

Blame for the layoffs and shutdowns was laid at the feet – probably more appropriately the spike protein – of Covid-19. And it undoubtedly played a part. Media company cashflow during the lockdown declined by up to 70 per cent. But it was by no means the complete story.  Continue reading “That existential crisis again”