Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media3: Panic or Peril?

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  • Stewart,

    Craig, you beat me to it on the "where are the parents" angle.

    If parents were able/enlightened enough to discuss age-appropriate(?) sexual matters with their progeny from the get-go I think the children will be in a much better state to weather the 'sexualisation storm'.

    Caveat: A non-breeder, but savvy & loving uncle, speaking

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment Attachment Attachment

    Just the facts…
    We’re from the Government,
    we’d like to help…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    My daughter has just turned 15 and is in a group of friends who are all just turning 16 – young for her school year, etc. They are no more sexualised than the 15- to 16-year-old girls were when I was that age. As a group, they are high achievers at school and mainly come from two-parent, middle class homes so that makes them a certain niche. However, they fawn over movie star and rock star boys, are experimenting with first boyfriends, and hear/watch some explicit songs/videos mainly because of the quantity of that material now available, and the quantity of channels to deliver it, i.e. phone, net, TV, print, etc.
    I would say that the theme for these children is good parenting (excuse me including myself here) and, as Craig said above, reasonable boundaries. They know some material is “don’t watch for your own good” and they turn it off. Ever since the internet became a normal thing in the household, there has always been the danger of the children seeing objectionable material. We sat both of them down (son who is now 18), early on, and explained that we simply couldn’t stop them going to unpleasant sites or receiving some horrible material, if that’s what they decided to do, but they would regret venturing to those dark places for reasons A, B, C. We continued to repeat the message every now and then, and set limits on what DVDs we watched as a family at different age levels.
    Limits can be set, children can understand why and they can self-monitor if there is a sound culture around them of looking after yourself and each other. Again, my daughter and her friends are very strong advocates for their own physical and mental health. They understand what surrounds them and how to get the best out of what is available rather than the worst. Of course there are hiccups along the way and short, sharp pulls on the reins by the parents every now and then, but that is normal.
    Most of the above applies to the boys of the group my daughter socialises with and those of my son. If the rules are there along with an explanation of why, they understand and respect the reasons.
    And, as pointed out by Ben and others, let’s not forget that it was not so long ago that girls of 13 and above were married off, pregnant and dead from complications at birth.
    Sorry for the rave.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    And, as pointed out by Ben and others, let’s not forget that it was not so long ago that girls of 13 and above were married off, pregnant and dead from complications at birth.

    Western European society has been characterized by a high age of first marriage (mid-twenties) for some centuries now, actually. (C.f. this US Census data for the last 120 years.) The median age of marriage has been rising steadily since WWII, which makes people assume it must have been even lower before then, but in fact it had dropped dramatically during the 40s/50s, and took decades to return to late-19th C levels. This is one social norm which is very responsive to environment (i.e. the cost/benefit of having children in whichever society you're in.)

    Which isn't to say girls have never been married off and had children in their early teens, but it wasn't normative in the way you're implying for the majority of people.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    What, no 'Sex and the Grandparent'..?

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    Just the facts…
    We’re from the Government,
    we’d like to help…

    Yeah, my Mum sheepishly produced the "Sex and the adolescent boy" pamphlet when I was in my late teens. I appreciated the thought and care behind the gesture, and it was very funny to read the government's take on a what I'd known for the best part of a decade.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    I'm the guy who did the 'Selling the News' infographic Shayne Currie was talking about on the show. I'm pleased he took the project in the way it was intended and was respectful of the results.

    As to his contention that the Herald had improved since the redesign, I went back and looked at the data. He's right: Crime decreases from 10.5% of all stories before the redesign to 6.4% afterwards, which is a big change. Other significant results: Entertainment drops from 15.2% to 13.5%, Tragedy goes from 6.2% to 5.1%, and Sport falls from 12.3% to 11.5%. Lifestyle, however, increases from 11.1% to 13.9%, Social Issues drops slightly from 6.0% to 5.1%, and Self Promotion rises from 5.3% to 10.1% (which makes sense as they were promoting their new look and features).

    I'd caution that these results are based on a smaller sample size than the rest of the year (Jan-9 Sep for pre redesign, 10 Sep-Dec for post redesign) and therefore aren't as robust as the overall results. But it seems like he's correct and the Herald is on a better path.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    I should note if I get the time I'll add a new graphic to the site showing these results.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James W,

    I’m the guy who did the ‘Selling the News’ infographic Shayne Currie was talking about on the show. I’m pleased he took the project in the way it was intended and was respectful of the results.

    I was very impressed by his response. He took no convincing to come the show.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Voerman, in reply to James W,

    James,

    Do you have any intention of continuing your research for this year?

    My (unscientific) impression of the Herald is that after an initial 'improvement' to match the change in format, the front pages have become trashier more often in recent weeks.

    Of course, I'm not seeing the front page as often as I once was (you can't seem to buy a Herald in Christchurch) and my 'trashy' is obviously a subjective, personal view.

    edit: Also, thanks for the infographics in the first place, really interesting stuff.

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2012 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • James W, in reply to Andrew Voerman,

    Hi Andrew,

    No, no plans to continue the research. It was simply too time consuming to juggle with a full time job. I may do something similar in the future but nothing planned.

    I think what you've noticed is what Currie admitted in the interview as the outcome of the "silly season." At the end and beginning of the year there's less hard news, and the paper resorts to more lifestyle, sport and entertainment stories. You can start to see it in Fig. 5 at my site where the colours on the front page change from categories like Social Issues to Entertainment and Lifestyle as the year nears its end.

    However, we're now in April so the silly season should be well over with. Maybe they've relapsed and they're back to "trashier" fare, or maybe it's just your perception – which is what I set out to investigate with my project in the first place.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks, James. Nice work.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

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