Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bad Judgement

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  • James Littlewood*,

    Tau was truly lame. First "It's not a mistake Geoff. That's not a _mistake_!" And then, a minute later, asked what should come of the TVNZ inquiry: "Well, there's not much you can do. Say sorry, he did wrong, move on."

    Stark-staring mad.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    A very interesting 2005 story from the Herald

    Got a link for that?

    Duh. Yes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    if [we] are unconnected with policy development or are not in a managerial role, we will usually be free to be politically active

    Which is the case for nearly everyone, and quite right. You can’t gag a huge percentage of the workforce like that.

    Quite. David Farrar seems to be saying at the moment the other staffers shouldn’t have been politically active (and should be sacked now) because their jobs are taxpayer-funded. So someone in a purely admin job is denied the right to be politically active?

    This is, of course, a little ironic when you consider the ultimate source of much of Farrar’s income.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to nzlemming,

    Thank you very much for that very helpful reply, nzl.

    We both work for a CRI, though I'm a subcontractor rather than employee. I can't see CRIs in that list of organisations covered by the state servants code of conduct - can that be right?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Duh. Yes.

    Thanks. I liked this bit of honesty:

    "My usual response [to accusations of bias] is that it is hard enough putting a paper out every day, and that I'm not smart enough to run an agenda, too."

    But overall, I'm still uncomfortable with the pretense of objective truth. I prefer the European approach in which everybody knows the editorial and political leanings of each newspaper before they pick it up. Seems a bit more honest. Still, objectivity is something I hope and believe most journalists actively strive for.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I think people who don’t want another three years of Key government should concentrate on the real issues.

    And it’s really bad form to moderate or tone police a forum where you don’t have actual moderator privileges.

    No, you’ll have to take an unpaid leave of absence for the period of the campaign, generally speaking

    Quite – it’s something Parekura Horomia and his managers at the Department of Labour managed quite easily when he stood for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti. It's only rocket science if you want it to be.

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

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'm sorry Mr Head Prefect Craig:

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But overall, I’m still uncomfortable with the pretense of objective truth. I prefer the European approach in which everybody knows the editorial and political leanings of each newspaper before they pick it up.

    Up to a point, Chris. Yes, you’d have to be a complete idiot not to realize that (say) The Guardian is editorially center-left and The Daily Telegraph... isn't. (Which, by the way, is very different from being glorified newsletters for the Labour and Conservative Parties, which neither is.) But I very much doubt Ian MacGregor or Alan Rushbridger would be allowed to treat editing a major metropolitan daily as a sidebar to establishing a political career. That’s not only ethically cretinous, but very bad business.

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

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It's Rusbridger. (If I'm allowed to correct a prefect's spelling under the rules)

    Also, Boris Johnson moved seamlessly from the Daily Telegraph to the Spectator to parliament and then the London mayoralty,, overlapping as he went. He still writes a column in the Telegraph.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Up to a point

    And that's pretty much the point I want it up to, though I wouldn't want to restrict a journalist's ability to change career, as, as Rich points out, at least Boris Johnson has done.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It’s Rusbridger. (If I’m allowed to correct a prefect’s spelling under the rules)

    Thank you, Rich, but I do prefer it without the lingering passive-aggressive chaser.

    As for Boris Johnson? He was the first to admit that the tiresome scut-work of editing a weekly magazine was firmly delegated to full-time deputies. (One of whom, Siôn Simon, ironically enough quit when he was elected to Parliament as the Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington.)


    What he’s more (and atypically) discreet about is whether he flat out broke an undertaking to then-leader William Hague that he’d resign if elected to Parliament. The issue was forced a few years later when David Cameron made clear to Johnson he could be a full time member of the shadow Cabinet or a job-sharing magazine editor and backbencher.

    And I’m one of those Spectator readers who thinks having a full-time editor who is totally independent of Westminster is a good return to form.

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

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    because their jobs are taxpayer-funded

    A convenient distinction for those whose politics involve promoting the private sector.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When I was at TVNZ in Auckland, we used the Ruru meeting room to hold an after hours meeting in which the guys of the department were ranked in order of hotness. But I would not have organised a political meeting.

    It surprises me a bit that the TVNZ staffers were using their work email to organise non-work-related things. But then, this happens. Some people don't ever have a personal email address. Their email address is always their work email, wherever that is. The concept of having a personal email address might be a totally new idea. But this is the sort of thing that an employer needs to sort out, like an intro to the basics of a personal account.

    As for the issue of bias on Te Karere, when I was editing the subtitles on the show five years ago, back then I'd say the content had a lot more editorial commentary than the 6pm news ever did, and they definitely got away with saying stuff that wouldn't pass at 6pm.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Sacha,

    Shows how TVNZ ceased feeling like a public sector organisation many years ago. Not part of the culture.

    I'd say there was a definite awareness within TVNZ that actions of staff, both on and off the job, may be scrutinized more closely because of who they work for. I'm not sure if that's because TVNZ is owned by the government, or because it's a media organisation (and other media organisations seem to delight in reporting on their competitors).

    Not long after I first started working at TVNZ I created (in my own time) the "Should-A.org" website to parody the anti-smacking referendum. It got some media attention (and also a legal threat from Elections NZ) which freaked me out - I quickly talked to TVNZ legal who said they weren't worried, but it was a quick lesson for me in being careful about how my actions could potentially reflect.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    What he’s more (and atypically) discreet about is whether he flat out broke an undertaking to then-leader William Hague that he’d resign if elected to Parliament.

    I didn't realise his transition to politics was that messy. I agree there should be a nice, clean distinction between the two roles.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    I still find the idea that TVNZ (or it's staff) are taxpayer funded to be incredibly infuriating. It's simply untrue. Although in this case it's marginally more accurate than when usually levelled (because the Maori and Pacific department programming is largely funded by NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho) it's still fundamentally untrue.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But overall, I’m still uncomfortable with the pretense of objective truth. I prefer the European approach in which everybody knows the editorial and political leanings of each newspaper before they pick it up. Seems a bit more honest. Still, objectivity is something I hope and believe most journalists actively strive for.

    Objectivity seems to be some kind of luxury when the media landscape happens to be cartelised, like with the Granny in AKL and the Dom in WLG. It's not easy to de-cartelise it without coming across as censorship, or getting both barrels from the intended target ("It Was The Sun Wot Won It").

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    This really is a distraction and very small cheese. So, if I use my university email address to forward on messages from Labour or the Greens, I am breaking some vow?
    There are more than enough National toadies and shills for vested interests (eg Mike Hoskings) working for TVNZ and TV3. What of Tony O'Brien, whose job it is to spread genteel corruption around Parliament on behalf of his employer Sky?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    (if you think “digital producer” sounds like a cool, influential job, you may be disappointed).

    Lolz! This is what I did at TVNZ. And yeah, it's not an influential job, but it was pretty cool (at least my particular role was). It's basically running the website/s for various TV shows, a lot of which involves the time-honoured skill of copying and pasting. No power lunches, unless you count the time we all went out for pork sandwiches from the Naenae bakery.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • matthew, in reply to Josie McNaught,

    My thoughts exactly.

    auckland • Since Nov 2013 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Ethan Tucker, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    de-cartelise

    Early WOTY contender?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I can’t see CRIs in that list of organisations covered by the state servants code of conduct – can that be right?

    Yep. CRI’s are corporate entities (essentially companies) with their own legislation.
    Cabinet appoints a Board for each CRI. Each Board — intended to comprise business, “professional” and science expertise — operates according to the Companies Act as well as the CRI Act (1992) and other relevant Acts. Each Board produces an annual report and reports to the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit (CCMAU), (part of The Treasury) which represents the shareholders. Parliament also scrutinises each CRI on a regular basis. SSC is not directly involved but has liaised with CRIs and Science New Zealand (was ACRI), particularly where CRIs perform contracted services for multiple government agencies.

    Day-to-day, CRIs operate as any commercial company would, acting within their strategic statement of intent (agreed with the Shareholders) that aligns with the CRI Act purpose and principles.

    Best guess, ask your (or his) boss if they’d be comfortable with it. Quite possibly they’ll be fine, so no hoohah. But, if I was a CRI around grant funding time, I might not want my staff putting out political material/statements, especially if they’re critical of the government of the day.

    [and yes, for those keeping score, I did crib most of this from Wikipedia. I tire of reauthoring the wheel]

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’m one of those Spectator readers

    Ah, well, there's your first problem, right there ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I’m not sure if that’s because TVNZ is owned by the government, or because it’s a media organisation

    Probably a bit of both. I know people at RadioNZ who are very well aware of the ownership issue.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to nzlemming,

    Well, thanks again for your sage advice. Guess we'll leave those hoardings down for the time being, or just flash them at sympathetic passers-by.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

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