Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: An appetite for scandal

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    The Herald's website reports this morning that a rugby player named Chris Jack and his wife have just had their first baby.

    That's far more fluffy news than Millie Elder being in court, yet no one gets outraged that the media are reporting the commonplace occurance of a birth.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Well, actually I was if not outraged then mildly vexed last weekend when Louise Nicholas' baby was on the front page of the SST. Where was the news in that?

    Can't find the Chris Jack Baby Shock! story on the main page of the Herald site, come to that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    That's true Robyn, but a birth is about the parents more than the child. And in this case has a massive impact on the country (said father not being available for selection at the mo).

    If that kid grows up to be a run of the mill 19 year-old drug user, or a jailed drink driver, or a senior government perjuror, then having that story make the front pages only because of the celebrity of the parent(s)* is a slightly different issue.

    *Note this is the case in only one of the three cases cited in this thread.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    But to suggest that simply because they have a large readership then what they publish is NEWS - is bollocks.

    Equally, to argue that because lots of folks read the story about Ms Elder's drugs charges then it is NEWS - is also Bollocks.

    Would that make it a pair of bollocks, Bart?

    I'm just saying that the stats on the Herald page show you what was most clicked. That echoes what Damian described a while ago about TV ratings - what people profess to want and what the ratings seem to suggest they want can be at odds, making due allowance for the limitations of the methodology, of course. This isn't to say that people want exclusively one or the other, though, and perhaps that's what's going on here. With obvious exceptions.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'd want to investigate the relationship between being a prominent link on the front page and being the most clicked. I mean, the Herald features "Family devastated by Millie's drug charges: Holmes (+photos)" as the number one National story, and lo, it is most clicked. Surprise!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Stuff readers are obviously slightly more discerning.

    I read this story (in at No. 1) with a shudder.

    God, I hate flying in those small planes...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    yes - my partner and I looked at each other in astonishment that the plane story came second after Millie on TV3 6o'clock news last night!

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • James,

    I'm just saying that the stats on the Herald page show you what was most clicked.

    Won't trivia stories always win on clicks? Person A reads business news, person B reads Auckland news, Graham Reid reads the music reviews, but they all glance at the trivia and schadenfreude section. Does that mean that even one person thinks the trivia article is the most important one they read that day?

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I gotta admit I'm enjoying a good run in the old schadenfraude stakes over the past week or two.
    Last week a particularly odious, stuck-up-his-own-arse former staff member of the local branch of a well-known music retailer was done for "theft as a servant" and now that buffoon Holmes has to wipe up a big mess.

    I suspect that the reason the media is giving it such high priority is nothing to do with any actual news value but everything to do with setting scores with Holmes. Oh the glee that must've erupted when they found out it was Holmes' daughter. Can you see the media wetting their pants with that much excitement if the accused was, for example, Cameron Bennett's kid? (I've no idea if he's got teenage kids, he's just the first name that came to mind).

    This all to do with payback, no two ways about it.

    Also, while the judge did say that the charges Millicent faces were very common, let's face it, she's also deep in the crap: not only 'P', but over $30,000 worth of stolen goods. Given how loaded her folks are, surely she would've had no trouble acquiring the stuff legally?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • noizyboy,

    The Edge, a radio station which I have no love for, absolutely sky-rocket in my good books with this little stunt at the expense of the gnome...

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    my partner and I looked at each other in astonishment that the plane story came second after Millie on TV3 6o'clock news last night!

    It occurs to me that I'm more likely to know someone who has a drug problem than someone who's been in a plane crash.

    While a plane crash is a pretty thrilling news story, a young person with drug-related troubles is something I can relate to more personally than a plane crash.

    I'd rather see coverage of that than plane crash porn. But that's just me.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Bol,

    Interesting comparison between the treatment of Fay & Richwhite's insider trading settlement and Millie Elder's woes. Which of these two things has affected people more?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    It occurs to me that I'm more likely to know someone who has a drug problem than someone who's been in a plane crash.

    While a plane crash is a pretty thrilling news story, a young person with drug-related troubles is something I can relate to more personally than a plane crash.

    Hmm... same, I guess, but it also means the drug thing is less "news" and more naff cliche.

    Also, I fly infinitely more often than I do P, so I'm pretty emotionally invested in the plane crash story.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Good point, Richard.

    But for a money story to break through past sex/death/celebrity/drugs to the top of the bulletin, it needs the essential qualification ... taxpayers' money. That pushes the buttons. Outrage-ometer is on high.

    Otherwise it's just numbers and that's boring as.

    Plus the average age of reporters is 12 and three quarters, and they have no idea who this Richwhite person is. Was he a yachtie or something?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Heather: The story is not Millie's misdemenours it is Paul Holmes - the medium is the message.

    Not everyone flies - but everyone remotely familiar with NZ knows the product of Paul Holmes .

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    The Herald's website reports this morning that a rugby player named Chris Jack and his wife have just had their first baby.

    That's far more fluffy news than Millie Elder being in court, yet no one gets outraged that the media are reporting the commonplace occurance of a birth.

    Fluffy?!?! This means Jack might just be able to play against South Africa this weekend! This is HUGE news!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh come on - the comparison with Paris is flawed in that as far a I am aware Paris' father is not a sanctamonious, opinionated buffoon who as much as anyone else imaginable has been involved in the trivialisation of current affairs reporting in a given country at great personal profit.

    Well, you're right up to a point - as far as I can tell, Rick Hilton's major achievement in life has been to parlay his share of gand-daddy's hotel fortune into some sucess as a glitterarti L.J. Hooker/property developer.

    But let me put something to you: regular viewers may have come to suspect I'm not really a fan of the incumbent Prime Minister - who I regard as a sanctimonious etc, who as much as anyone has been involved in the dumbing-down of political discourse in this country, and reached the top of the greasy pole in doing so. If you want to play shake the family tree and see what rotten fruit falls out, it's a game you can't lose at. I just don't think it's one worth playing, without bringing a pretty offensive level of hypocrisy to bear. Or were you in any way comfortable with the 'public interest' rationale for the sleazy tittle-tattle about the (alleged) sex-capades of Clark, her husband and Don Brash. Myself, I just felt slimed.

    Can you see the media wetting their pants with that much excitement if the accused was, for example, Cameron Bennett's kid? (I've no idea if he's got teenage kids, he's just the first name that came to mind).

    Certainly not, Grant - but I've been reliably informed that Kim Hill will answer any questions you like about her fictitious lesbian affair with Ruth Pretty :), but her daughter (and Hill's relationship with her father) is all the way out of bounds.

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

  • simon g,

    If the plane people wanted top billing they shouldn't have landed safely, should they?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi David

    Yup a great big pair - platinum plated ones:).

    ...what people profess to want and what the ratings seem to suggest they want can be at odds...

    Surely neither you nor Damien believe people should get what they want?

    Of course trivia and gossip rate highly. Good grief if E-news played at 6pm on TV2 followed by 30 minutes of the weather channel neither TV1 nor TV3 would get a look in. (BTW that programming idea is mine all mine).

    But that shouldn't be what the national news programmes are about. News isn't just about getting ratings. A news broadcast serves an important role in society, it is there to inform the public about events of significance and importance. Gossip is neither significant nor important but it does get ratings. Gossip is also extraordinarily cheap to produce and require virtually no intellectual input from the reporters or editors.

    TV1 or TV3 could choose to deliver news at 6 pm. Instead they play for ratings. The NZ herald does the same. There is little of the NZ media that doesn't allow ratings to define what they present to the public.

    Against that background, how can we expect the public to make intelligent choices about events. The news is necessary to inform the public to allow choices to be made intelligently. When the news stops doing that some very bad things can happen.

    The media scream bloody blue murder if anyone tries to restrict their freedom to publish. But forgets that with that right comes a responsibility to publish what is significant and important. I'd argue that given the current performance the media does not deserve a "right to publish" because frankly they've abandonned any real pretense of public responsibility.

    If "it's all about ratings" then I think we ought to take away all the privilages journalists enjoy. They are entertainers and as such should have no special privilage or place in our society.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It occurs to me that I'm more likely to know someone who has a drug problem than someone who's been in a plane crash.

    You're infinitely more likely to know someone who has gotten drunk and been an obnoxious arse in public, or (even worse) gotten behind the wheel of a car. Unless you're an All Black, or some other micro-celebrity, there would have to be a corpse, a wonderfully bizarre wrinkle and/or nothing else happening anywhere on Earth for them to hit page A1 or lead a TV or radio bulletin.

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

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Surely neither you nor Damien believe people should get what they want?

    This reminds me, I heard (Hey, hey it's) Andrew Shaw on the radio the other day, explaining why it's someone else's fault a long time ago that TV programmers shower us with shit each day.

    Am I alone in finding him incredibly pompous?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Lee Wilkinson,

    To me, the news was the plane didn't crash it just landed without wheels. I admit that it is a technically difficult operation and really the pilot should have been given plenty aprobos.
    As far as Holme's daughter goes, can anyone in this forum say that they did nothing stupid and or illegal at that age? At least he had the balls to front to the media and not snick out the side door with a jacket over their heads. ps I dislike him.

    Whangarei Heads • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    Does anyone else see the humour in mentioning Paul Holmes and plane crashes in the same thread?!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    The Herald's website reports this morning that a rugby player named Chris Jack and his wife have just had their first baby.

    That's far more fluffy news than Millie Elder being in court,

    "All Black places wife, child ahead of rugby" is, I would submit, still bigger news than you might like to believe in New Zealand. One need only look at the coverage is decision to pass up playing in this week's test recieved.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    This all to do with payback, no two ways about it.

    Perhaps; if so it's unfortunate that there are so many odious people happy to throw shit at someone's hitherto largely anonymous children to get back at them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

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