Posts tagged media

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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naked-drunk-woman

Drunk women are targets? – WELL DUH!

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Today the Christchurch Press lead story online was Drunk young women ‘sexual attack targets’

I have criticised the media (especially newspapers ) for misleading headlines a fair bit in the past, but this time I am gonna take the contrary view and say the headline is so obvious there is no story.

The 1st line of the article says it all:

Young women found grossly drunk and alone on Christchurch streets are “easy prey for sexual predators”, say police.

Ummm, yep.   But how is this NEWS?    That’s always been the case.

Although as is typical with anything about personal responsibility, the media still manage to screw the story up with quotes like this:

He did not blame those who abandoned the women as much as the alcohol industry, which marketed liquor to women and young people.

It’s good to see the person quoted didn’t blame the friends.  But blaming the alcohol industry is rather simplistic.  He missed the most important person in the whole situation: The Drinker.

Personal responsibility, together with good friends that say stop is the key to addressing this.

Black and White Version: Media love reporting obvious facts and then try to make it news with a new spin.   Drunk people are drunk coz they drink to much, and they shouldn’t – that’s the story.

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nothing_to_see_here

A recap of the (non) news of the week

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There is certain lot’s of non news this week.  And another story that has a limited news-worthiness (is that a word?) that’s the lead on WAY to many media’s pages.

Here is the summary:

But the biggie for overplayed news story of the day goes to this:

  • Some guy called William is getting engaged.  OK it is news coz he’s the Prince of something, 2nd in line to something else (the British thrown they say) but being the lead story is WAY overplaying its importance (slow news anyone?).  But what’s really bad is  doing stupid stories like this saying Local Couple Delighted is just a waste of my screen space.  They could do a story about a local blogger bored with lack of journalistic stories, as that would be true too, but I fear this won’t happen soon.

Black and White Version: Nothing to see here, move on.  Oh, wait Prince William got engaged, not a biggie I know, but yeah, slow (news) blogging day for me.

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Grindr, gay men, sex and the NZ Herald

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For those that don’t know, Grindr is an iPhone (and now Blackberry) application that uses location based search (i.e. it knows where you are) to tell you where other people using the same application are.  It has a simple image of each person (a photo you pick) and a short profile and basic stats (height, weight, age etc).   For anyone reading this, it’s easy to see that this is used by gay guys wanting to hook up ({f you don’t know what I mean by this check out this meaninglook for Slang Meaning 3(b) }.

Anyway, I have done a wee review of Grindr before, but had to laugh when the NZ Herald had this article today on Grindr. The headline was Gay men embrace GPS dates. That headline is quite wrong on a few levels:

  1. Grindr isn’t always GPS based – it’s LOCATION based.  An iPhone 2G uses cell phone triangulation to work out where it is.  But that’s a minor issue.
  2. How does one put this nicely?  Ummmm, Grindr is NOT about dates, it’s about HOOK UPs.  Cute that they say GPS dates, but yeah, no, not really.

It also quotes former Gay New Zealand editor Matt Akersten:

“You might not be in the traditionally gay areas like Ponsonby or Grey Lynn or the inner city – you could be in one of the smaller centres – and you just plug it in and realise you’re not alone, and there are other people like you out there, it’s a great networking tool,” he said.

Euphemisms are so cute..  It’s a great networking tool. Well if by networking you mean HOOK UP then sure, it is.

On a more serious level, Grindr works best in big cities with lots of users – like Sydney or bigger.  But when you go to Oamaru and you are the only person on it, it kinda falls down.   As they say, I am the only gay in the village. There is one downside of the super large cities: Since Grindr only lists a few pages (100 I think) of the closest people, in places like Sydney there might be 100 people within a few km, meaning you only see those people and not people further out.  In places like Auckland you see everyone (coz there are often only a few dozen online withing 10-20km at any given time).  Also as I have blogged previously, the application has to be running to work (no background push services unless you want to pay a monthly fee), so it kills the battery super quick.

That’s all.  Not a major issue, in fact it’s kinda nice that the media don’t write the headline Gay Mean use technology to have more sex, coz that would be true.  Mind you it would be true of MEN generally, not just gay men.

And fear not, new versions are coming:

A version of Grindr for lesbians and heterosexuals is expected by the end of the year.

Black and White Version: It’s nice to see a misleading headline (and story) that’s actually written more positively that the potential underlying story.

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pig

Credit Card Scandal for Labour’s Ministers

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Well the mainstream media and blogs are awash with news on this one since it broke two days ago. (the best humorous post by far is this at one at the Dim-Post).  Even AirNZ got in on the act with another relevant parody ad (on the right).  For those interested there is further in depth editorial here and and a useful round up by Kiwiblog here.

Anyway .. here’s my take (the black and white version):

(more…)

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grindr

Grindr – the ultimate gay iPhone app?

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Any gay man with an iPhone will have heard of Grindr.  But since not everyone is gay, and not everyone has an iPhone (although based on my observations of San Francisco, everyone who is gay has one), here’s the run down for you:

  • Grindr is an app for the iPhone (although Grindr for Blackberry is coming soon).
  • It is a simple app that allows users to locate (using the iPhones GPS) other nearby users of Grindr.  It shows people in order of distance, with the closest first, as well as showing who is online now.
  • It allows the user to have one profile picture, and a few lines of text as a profile, as well as location details (it shows how far away the person is, not their actual location, but this can be sent by the other user they want to).
  • You can message the other people.
  • You can tag users, so you can re-message them more easily later.
  • And, most importantly, it can (and is) used by guys to meet other gay guys (hook up even?)

(more…)

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smashed-iphone

Vodafone fails (again) but no hate FaceBook pages or random rants

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Today the NZ Herald reported how the Vodafone network failed on Saturday.

Now normally I would say “it happens”, but in this case I don’t see a flood of FaceBook hate pages, nor demands that Vodafone “fix” it, or silly stories about how poor wee Jane couldn’t call the fireman to get her cat down out of the tree (yes I made that last bit up – but you get the idea).  Why not?  It seams good enough for Telecom’s XT. As I have blogged previously it’s NOT because Vodafone hasn’t done it before  – in fact Vodafone’s 3g network fails MORE than Telecom’s CDMA network does – it’s just it has a back up (ie their 2G network frequency) so many people don’t notice it.

Anyway … I do think Telecom have major issues with XT, the most significant of which is not the hardware issues – but the loss of public confidence in the Telecom brand (result in major customer loss, and even questions about Telecom’s ability to deliver on the 1.5 billion broadband roll out package – a question that wouldn’t have been asked 6 months ago).  BUT, and this is the point here, failures happen, and rather than rant on about it on FaceBook crying over spilt milk, DO something about it (that or just shut up).  The media need to make sure they are balanced here – lets see how the report the next Vodafone failure – and will they call for a Government enquiry or not.

Black and White Version: XT bashing seams a bit one sided to me (and no I don’t mean XT should go out and bash people – that WOULD be a PR disaster!)

Disclaimer: Anyone from Vodafone’s legal team might want to read by disclaimer page, but in case you want the short version this entire blog is my OPINION.  So there.  I am allowed to be wrong, coz its what I THINK (although I THINK I am right!)

PS: The irony of me ranting on about people ranting on about stuff is not lost on me.  I am smiling on the inside. :-) :-P

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boxing

XT bashing

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I think the only place that has more XT bashing at the moment than the mainstream media is FaceBook.  Appears the in thing to do is post ‘I hate XT’ or any deviation.  A witty link to something else topical helps, but doesn’t appear compulsory.  FaceBook fan pages, status updates, and links to TradeMe auctions about XT lemons. It’s all the rage this week.

Interesting to see the extent really, since unlike something like power supply in New Zealand, we actually have choice when it comes to mobile networks.   Yes they all rip us off (well I guess 2 Degrees is at least trying to help there), and yes the interconnect/termination rate is WAY WAY to high, BUT we actually have simple portability (you can take your # with you if you swap networks) and as has already been identified, NZ has one of the highest rates of people having 2 mobiles (aka 2 different networks).   Anyway .. lets explore this some more: (more…)

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Now this is news!

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As I have stated before, I will avoid this blog turning into random YouTube posts, but this was WAY too good to pass up.

Here is Charlie Brooker’s clip on how to report the news.

Black and White Version: This is funny

HatTip: Kiwiblog

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cellphone

Telecos may rip us off at times, but where is the user responsibility?

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A NZ Herald headline today was Salesman ‘crippled’ by internet charges.

This was due to what NZ mobile teco’s charge when roaming- $30 per MB in most countries.  So that’s $30,000 per GB – which compares to around $10-$20  per GB if on a plan in NZ (and no, that’s not a mis-print – $30,000 per GB).  (Btw, OZ is one of the few cheaper countries, and ‘only’ $8 or $10 per MB depending if you are on XT ($8) or Voda($10)).

Now I agree with DPF on Kiwiblog here that this is a rip off, but I think some serious points are overlooked in the media analysis: (more…)

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