Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What rules are these?

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  • Kumara Republic,

    People like Simon Runting are the very reason why the Leveson Inquiry was held. Even the Oily One thinks Runting is a toilet-door kicker, and that's saying something.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Well ultimately the media interest is in the public interest. As annoying as the cry of “we’re only giving people what they want” can be it is ultimately true.

    I get that it’s easier and cheaper to fill a page with the tosh of Runting and his ilk, or a lightly fluffed press release, than a well-written and fully-reported arts/culture feature. But that’s a choice, and one I think it’s just a little glib and self-serving to blame on some nebulous entity called “the audience”.

    Also, I’d wager the reason the SST isn’t going after shots of Judith Collins has precisely nothing to do with her “illness” and everything to do with being shit scared of her and her (governing) party.

    I'm going to err on the side of generosity and assume that even the Sunday Star Times dimly apprehends that hounding anyone on stress leave from their job reeks of the septic tank.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Dastardly Bounder,

    I think possibly the best way to deal with someone like Runting is socially. Something came across the FB feeds recently calling for a boycott of Runting, don’t serve him coffee, turn him away at your door… never darken this hearth again kind of thing. As group our actions determine what is socially acceptable, and although I doubt he’ll change his style we can certainly tell him that it’s not welcome.

    Or better still, hoist him on his own petard and do an Edward Snowden on him.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • WaterDragon, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    What he said! Buzz off SST

    Behind you • Since Jul 2011 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Well ultimately the media interest is in the public interest. As annoying as the cry of “we’re only giving people what they want” can be it is ultimately true.

    I get that it’s easier and cheaper to fill a page with the tosh of Runting and his ilk, or a lightly fluffed press release, than a well-written and fully-reported arts/culture feature. But that’s a choice, and one I think it’s just a little glib and self-serving to blame on some nebulous entity called “the audience”.

    Yes.

    I should re-emphasise that I'm not demanding a change in the law -- the fact that we can photograph events in a public place is an underpinning of a free press. But we sure as hell should be able to discuss the ethics of any particular case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Dastardly Bounder, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Or better still, hoist him on his own petard and do an Edward Snowden on him.

    Which is exactly what Lorde was doing by posting a picture of him and linking to his FB profile. Hopefully her faithful followers will use the power of the masses to bomb him to smithereens…

    Auckland • Since Dec 2012 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    All is not lost at the SST. Grant Smithies wrote a perceptive column in yesterday's edition about the obsession women's magazines have with Jennifer Anniston, and peverse interest such magazines have with finding fault with celebs (all those arrows pointing to cellulite zones!).

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dastardly Bounder,

    Which is exactly what Lorde was doing by posting a picture of him and linking to his FB profile. Hopefully her faithful followers will use the power of the masses to bomb him to smithereens…

    I wouldn't like to see it descend to persecution, but let's be clear that she has exactly the same rights to photograph Runting and distribute the pictures as anyone else. Bleating on his behalf that this has happened is quite bizarre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Dastardly Bounder, in reply to Russell Brown,

    she has exactly the same rights to photograph Runting and distribute the pictures as anyone else

    Until she follows him when he's on holiday and making an effort to maintain his privacy...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2012 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Dastardly Bounder, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wouldn't like to see it descend to persecution

    Point taken here.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2012 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I get that it’s easier and cheaper to fill a page with the tosh of Runting and his ilk, or a lightly fluffed press release, than a well-written and fully-reported arts/culture feature.

    The point is not the ease, but the return. As much as we might like to pretend otherwise, people prefer the tosh to a arts/culture feature.

    The circulation of the gossip mags far exceeds the more refined alternatives.

    This is the same as the arguments for substantive documentary and drama in place of reality TV and imported shows. They simply don't get the audience.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I didn't follow the Hoskings case, but what exactly is the test of the difference between this kind of papping and stalking/harassment?

    From what I can tell (irony alert), it seems to boil down to being paid to do one and not the other.

    I certainly want to protect the right of members of the public to photograph what and who they like on the public street, but if courts can differentiate between "(ex) friends/partners" or "fans", and stalkers, then surely they can differentiate between those paid to carry out similar actions.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I don't think it's true that people prefer crap. It's perfectly possible to write good popular coverage of pop music and pop stars that sells. But that is harder work.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    But that's the difference between a pop star -someone who is reported on in terms of their work - vs a celebrity, who is reported on "just because".

    It doesn't matter that they are often embodied in the same person - the way in which they are reported on is quite different depending on the objective.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I don’t think it’s true that people prefer crap. It’s perfectly possible to write good popular coverage of pop music and pop stars that sells. But that is harder work.

    In broad terms they do prefer "crap" - in that is sells more copies or rates higher, whatever the metric.

    That doesn't mean it's not possible to create good (and popular) content too, of course, but it's less profitable and that's clearly going to be a significant factor in whether it actually happens and in what scale.

    So because of the marketability of the pulp stuff there will always be people willing to cater to that market.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Price,

    Graeme Edgeler seems to be busy with Kim Dotcom, so I think I have to step up to the plate. Not to disagree with anything in Russel's thoughtful column, but this isn't quite right:

    They failed in the High Court and Court of Appeal because their claim was trumped by the principle of freedom of expression, in particuar because the right to report on what happens in a public place is crucial to a free press. That right applies whether not we like the person doing the reporting, or their purpose in doing so.

    But the Appeal court did, significantly, establish a "tort of privacy" that placed some boundaries on that right. A injured party could sue if they had "a reasonable expectation of privacy" (eg: they were at home) or if publication would be "highly offensive to a reasonable person".

    It's really a tort of "invasion of privacy". An injured party must show both a reasonable expectation of privacy and highly offensive publicity. The expectation of privacy must relate to private facts, and "being at home" may not be enough. For instance, if I publish the fact that you're at home watching TV, that's not going to make the grade. Even if I published a surreptitious photo of you watching TV, that's probably not a private fact either (perhaps depending on what was on your TV). Still, the surreptitious photo might fall foul of another tort called "intrusion" - but that's not established by the Hosking v Runting case.

    Finally, the Hosking case wasn't really about freedom of expression trumping privacy rights, and it didn't really say that being able to report what happens in a public place is crucial to a free press.The judges didn't have to go that far. Certainly freedom of expression was discussed and underscored. But that part of the case is really more about the complete absence of any public interest in the material photographed.

    Also, I think we can give the Sunday Star-Times some credit for its feature that explored the moral issues concerning papping.

    Aside from that, which is mostly nit-pickery... too right.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Chamberlain, in reply to Russell Brown,

    DIsgusting quote from the article: "An Auckland photographer who knows Runting well, but asked not to be named, says the problem with that inference is that Runting is not even slightly creepy, and if Yelich-O'Connor thinks so, she is misreading the situation."

    Nope: if she is being creeped out by him then by definition he is creepy, whatever he thinks he is doing.

    London • Since Aug 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Not only that but she is not one of those celebrities who is held on a tight leash by their manager.

    I just don't think the paparazzi or the big news organisations know quite what to make of her, so they shove her into one of their existing boxes and hope.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I don’t think it’s true that people prefer crap. It’s perfectly possible to write good popular coverage of pop music and pop stars that sells. But that is harder work.

    I suspect it's a symptom of shrinking public attention spans, and it's a worldwide issue.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Camera-action....
    Is there room for an advocate?
    Something like APRA,
    some kind of PAPARRRA...
    - Paparazzi Appropriated Photographic Artist Replication Reproduction Rights Association - collecting high percentage 'eyeball money' on behalf of the photonically licenced, from 'Image-takers' and 'Publishers'...
    including:
    ...a quota on photos?
    ...Flash & Gain Licence essential
    ...a Code of Conduct
    ...High-Viz Jackets
    ...No sitting ducks

    maimai i'm dreamin'

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to Simon Chamberlain,

    Absolutely. I don't care what he may be required to do in pursuit of his profession; he is a middle aged man and she is a teenage girl.

    In what world can that not be creepy?

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Chaz Harris, in reply to Gary Young,

    It's super creepy! She's also technically a minor, right? So a middle-aged man taking semi-naked pictures of a minor in her bikini....hmmmm, there should be laws about that.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Well ultimately the media interest is in the public interest. As annoying as the cry of “we’re only giving people what they want” can be it is ultimately true.

    You mistake the public interest for stuff the public is interested in and they are not the same thing at all.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover, in reply to Chaz Harris,

    Settle down, Chaz and Gary. You two are in danger of frothing yourselves into some kind of frenzy. There are plenty of worlds in which it's not creepy at all.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to stephen clover,

    Not Lorde's world. If she's creeped out then she is, and nobody gets to tell her otherwise.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

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