Posts tagged Christchurch Press

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More non-news, based on very sloppy research

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Today the Christchurch Press reported, that ‘Sex stereotype proven‘, and the byline ‘University students have long been stereotyped as promiscuous – and new research shows it is true.’

Unfortunately, when one reads the article, NOTHING in it supports this claim.  The research makes a whole bunch of findings, such as:

  • 20 per cent of respondents reported at least three partners in the last 12 months.
  • Ten per cent reported having sex with between 10 and 20 people
  • 3 per cent reported more than 20 sexual partners.
  • Out of those surveyed 32 per cent had been drinking when they last had sex.
  • Almost half of the respondents reported at least three sexual partners in their lives.
  • 57 per cent of people reported only one sexual partner in the last 12 months.

All good so far, so now for the comparison with some agreed norm, or with some other group, right?  I mean the headline read promiscuity is proven right?

Either we need to see a comparison with other persons of a similar demographic (age, gender etc, perhaps say compared to Polytechnic students, or even just people of a similar age not in higher education) or they need to make an absolute reference to some agreed norm on what is promiscuous.  Is having two partners a year promiscuous, or three, or ten?   We don’t see ANY comparisons, just a bunch of findings.  So what we have is just a whole bunch of percentages measuring how much uni students have sex, and that often alcohol is involved (although note this doesn’t mean it’s caused it, they just imply that, they could also have found that 50% of people ate a meal before having sex, would they then imply food causes promiscuity?).  Ummm, so what?

Anyway, my point is, this is a good example of research that says nothing but a bunch of random facts, and provides little in real information.  There is no comparison to any control group for the purposes of comparison, there is no comparison with any agreed norm about what promiscuous is, and no comparison with say, ten years ago, to show any change over time.

The article’s text even admits there is no comparison:

Canterbury District Health Board clinical director of sexual health Ed Coughlan said it was “really difficult” to say how the sexual behaviour of Canterbury students compared with the rest of the country. 

The only thing remotely worth of the team ‘research’ is a passing comment at the end of the article:

The study also found students who reported being attracted to both men and women were “significantly more likely” to lose their virginity before the age of 16.

That finding is worth further investigation, as it indicated a certain group is more likely to pre-16 sex (which is both illegal, and also has been associated with higher risks of pregnancy and/or STI transmissions).  Perhaps this group could be targeted for education and/or condoms and/or something else.  But no, they prefer just to post random figures about who does who and how often and call it research.   Research should provide meaning information to help inform decisions – and the one bit that did that was glossed over!

I think I’ll do my own research, and here is a finding: 90% of research is twisted and misreported by the media.. (I made that up, but you couldn’t tell right?)

Research needs to be meaningful.  For this, any claims made needs to be factual, or at the very least, strongly indicated by the research.  ‘Proven‘ and ‘show it to be true‘ are strong claims, and in this case there is nothing to support the headline.

Black and White Version: Some research is crap, some media misreport things.  It looks like this is both.

 

 

 

 

 

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hand out

IT Hub for Christchurch – but needs money

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I read with interest today an article in the Christchurch Press (online) about an IT hub plan to spark revival.

The idea was it was a group of businesses planning to set up an IT hub in the Christchurch CBD to help reinvigorate the city after the earthquake (remember most of the CBD is still off limits, and many businesses have moved out).  Great idea I thought.  But as I read on what struck me as amusing was the lack of a business sustainability here:

The IT business group, Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (Epic), has asked the Christchurch City Council, which owns the 4000-square-metre block, to grant it site use for three years at no cost.

and

Anderson said the cost of setting up the IT campus would be substantial and the group had approached the Government for funding.

OK, so let’s get this clear: They want the council to give them free use of the land for 3 years, and the government to pay for the cost of setting it up?

Although it’s not all one sided:

Epic co-leader Colin Anderson, director of IT consultancy Effectus, said a cluster of IT companies would add much-needed vibrancy to the central city because IT workers were socialisers, had more disposable income than many people and were aligned to inner-city living.

I was wondering if I offered to move back to the CBD and buy my groceries there, would the Council give me free land, and the Government build me a house? Probably not.

Black and White Version: Sometimes I wish the media would actually analyse a story more that just printing an idea.


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Media frenzy

Christchurch earthquake – the media are leeches.

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This post has been a long time coming, and I will cut to the chase.

The way many mainstream media report the Christchurch earthquakes in the hours and days after it is nothing short of sensationalist gutter journalism. IMO, it’s the lowest form of journalism, it’s lazy, manipulative, but above all, extremely damaging to many people at a time where they are already emotionally fragile.

Case and point.  A headline in the Christchurch Press the day after the June 13 6.3/5.5 combo shakes.

Christchurch earthquakes: ‘It’s like being on death row’

What a load of CRAP.  It’s NOTHING like being on death row.  Being on death row means you are going to die, it’s just a matter of when.  Living in Christchurch can sure be stressful, and some might even say dangerous, but it’s not, and never has been, death row (or anything even close to it).

Now the Press will defend themselves by saying We were only reporting what someone said.  Well that, I fear, is bullshit.  Just coz someone said it doesn’t mean you have to report it.  Clearly it was an overreaction by a stressed out person (and I don’t blame them for saying it).  But I do hold accountable the Christchurch Press for reporting it, and worse, making it the headline.  The only reason they reported it is coz it’s sensationalist.  In fact one of the Press Councils 11 Principles is that headlines must accurately and fairly convey the substance or a key element of the report they are designed to cover. This doesn’t, since the story is nothing about death row, and it’s simply a lazy reporter finding the most extreme quote they could, and making a headline about it.

Can you tell I am pissed off?   Coz I am! Why?  Because right now there are many fragile people in Christchurch.  Putting up with aftershock day after day, and major shocks every month or two that results in sewerage entering your house, and 2 weeks of cleaning up water from your carpet can be demoralising.  Just when things seam to be on track to get some normality back, a quake sets things back six months.  Not to mention picking up smashed glasses for the 4th time isn’t many people’s idea of fun.  The media have an obligation to think of these people before reporting such drivel.

The same article goes on to report:

Dominion Post columnist Jane Bowron was at the airport when the first quake struck, and said there was mass panic as people ran for safety. “The whole place started rocking – it seemed to go on for a very long time.”

Let’s dissect that quote a little: People ran for safety and she calls that mass panic. Maybe it was because the reporter was from Wellington, and hadn’t been around many quakes, but I think running for safety is a GREAT idea during a major earthquake (as long as it means running away from things that might fall on you, for example).  I’d like to see her calmly walk towards the exit next time one hits.  Get real – people ran, so what?  Get over it, and stop reporting SENSATIONALIST CRAP!

TV isn’t any better though.  I was away the day of this series of quakes, and saw some late night news coverage.  A reporter found a crying women and ask her how she was (kinda like a set up isn’t it?).  The women replied she was worried about the children that were with her.  The reporter must have though they had hit the jackpot – crying women over missing children – WOW have I got something to report now!   So the reporter asks ‘Where are they’ to which the women replies ‘They are over there, they are fine, I just worry about them.’ Gee, now that’s good NON NEWS: Women found crying over children that are fine (print that headline!)  Oh wait, there was a WOMEN CRYING, that’s the news story – let’s report that. Let’s show that soft emotional impact. CRAP CRAP CRAP I say.  Lazy manipulative journalism.

So here’s my advice to the media: Next time (and I hope there isn’t one) there is a major quake in Christchurch how about doing something useful.  Report on some stats, report on any USEFUL information that people in Christchurch could use (like the radio station Newstalk ZB did for ages after the September 201 quake) and avoid at all costs any manipulation of headlines or using crying people to manipulate stories so people read/watch them.  Actually the media CAN do this, coz they do already – an example is here of what Stuff (the owners of the Press) did for post June 13. Editors need to start saying no to sensationalist manipulative crap.

Black and White Version: Finding sensationalist headlines during natural disasters is easy.  Being a proper journalist is harder.  Time the media tried more of the latter.

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Misleading Press, and scaremongering Labour MP

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Today the Christchurch Press reported Chch door open for asset sales, and quoted ChCh Central Labour MP was today on National Radio saying that the ‘sale of assets must be stopped’. The Press reported:

A legal loophole means city ratepayers’ stakes in Christchurch City Holdings Ltd’s (CCHL) assets – including electricity company Orion New Zealand, Christchurch International Airport Ltd, Lyttelton Port Co, Red Bus and City Care – could be sold to help pay for the estimated more than $20b rebuild of the central business district.

Well it’s all just rubbish. Here’s what wrong with this story:

  • The headline is misleading.  This is no open door.  The door was never closed.   There is also no loophole. The Council can, if it chooses, sell any asset it owns, and has always been able to do this.  There is no new provision that the CERA act creates that didn’t already exist.
  • Labour are trying to make a story put of this by trying to ‘block CERA from forcing sales’, yet the Minister for Earthquake Recovery (Gerry Browlee) is VERY clear that it’s a CCC decision, not CERA.   Mayor Parker (both Browlee and Parker were also interviewed on National Radio this morning) agrees and says the Council aren’t even considering this, and if they did it would be done with full community consultation.
  • The Government and the Council are both clear on their roles here.  Only a Labour MP (and the ChCh press) seam to think there is an issue.

The Press should know better that running such a misleading headline (that or just being stupid and falling for the spin from an MP).

While it’s not my intention to make this post about the merits or otherwise of selling such assets (my gut reaction would say keep em), it was interesting to note that the CCC has $2 billion in assets, that reportedly returned $600 million over the last 10 years.  So that’s $60 million a year, or a return of 3% (that’s simplistic, since I have assumed the asset’s value was $2 billion throughout the last 10 years, and its very likely that the assets have increased in value over the period).   Based on that I might suggest that at the very least this issue is looked at and the question of are they a good investment?, earthquake or not, is asked.  The problem with ideological approaches of don’t sell or always sell is that such questions aren’t asked.  IMHO, asking that question would be a far more interesting and valuable story.

Black and White Version: Just coz an MP says it’s true, doesn’t make it so.  Media need to do their job and RESEARCH before printing misleading headlines.

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More news – one person stuffs up so they want everyone punished

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Today I read in the Christchurch Press for a Call to rid pubs of pokies, after a women gambled away all of her money.

I was interested to see what  the angle on this was – did the pubs do bad stuff to trick her, or was there some underlying issue with the way pokies are run?

No .. it’s simpler than that, as quoted:

Christchurch woman Lynette Whale, who lost everything she owned including her home, to pokie-machine addiction, said she hoped Gamble Free Day would raise awareness and mobilise people.

“I want to let people know that they can say no,” she said.

So let’s get this right: Ms Lynette’s message is “People can say no”.  Hmmm.  Well I have a few issues with that

  1. If it was that easy, why didn’t SHE say no?  Clearly it’s not that easy (for some)
  2. If saying no is the answer then great, leave it to people to say no, we don’t need to ban anything.
  3. Why is it that because SOME people can’t control their behavior EVERYONE has to be punished (ie banning them).

(more…)

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