Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tired and emotional, for reals

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Fran O’s columns have an inverse bell curve of quality – she either writes decent investigative stuff, or she writes complete bollocks, with not much in the middle ground.

    She has excellent contacts and at her best can really cut to the quick of an issue. And some days, yeah, she's not so good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    ETA: Before anyone points this out, yes… I’ve long expressed my strongly held opinion that the revolving door between newsrooms and political/corporate PR needs a padlock put on it sooner rather than later. (It would also be fair to say it’s one of many subjects Russell, Damian and I agree to disagree on.)

    But Edwards wasn't even in a PR job. He worked in a Parliamentary office for six months in 2001. The amusing thing, of course, is that Trevor Mallard was (groan) last year attacking him for allegedly being in bed with the forces of the right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fair enough. I still think it was completely out of order for Tim to go and hype it on the basis of one of his own writers being “put in his place”. That’s just shitty, as is Fran attacking Bryce Edwards on the Herald site.

    And at the risk of trolling, if Edwards was such a far-left hacky “parasite” blogger who won’t left the facts get in the way of a sick burn on real journalists (or something) doesn’t that reflect on the editorial judgement in hiring him in the first place? Or is that a “robust debate” too far, Mr. Drinnan?

    But Edwards wasn’t even in a PR job.

    No, he wasn’t Russell. My point is that Mr. Armstrong shouldn’t use Bryce’s CV as an offensive weapon when two can play that game – and to nobody’s credit.

    The amusing thing, of course, is that Trevor Mallard was (groan) last year attacking him for allegedly being in bed with the forces of the right.

    OTOH, it puts Bryce in pretty impressive company. If you listened to the wrong people, Mark Prebble was the meat in a Helen Clark-Richard Prebble sandwich. Which doesn’t bear much thinking about – at least not while sober. And at the height of the pledge card issue, Hooten and Haare would go on National Radio and argue that somehow the Auditor-General was both colluding with National to bring down the Government and plotting to protect it.

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

  • Michael Hogan,

    Vanity Fair article on Obama is superb, thanks Russell. I still argue to friends and colleagues that the journalism (political and otherwise) in VF is routinely superb, despite the typical American obsession with celebs. At least they know their market. I miss Hitchens though.
    Lewis puts much more of Obama's intellect and personality in perspective as the election draws nearer.
    It would be nice to think that mattered to American voters.

    Waiheke Island • Since Nov 2006 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Jdrinnan,

    My opinion, John Armstrong opens up a festering issue about bloggers and the relationship with mainstream media. Personally, I would not have used Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards to illustrate the issue. ( that's me speaking not the Herald)

    Auckland • Since Sep 2012 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    opens up a festering issue about bloggers and the relationship with mainstream media

    Almost as if nobody else had been writing about it during the last decade.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    I would not have used Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards to illustrate the issue

    Yet he did.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We actually have super-powers. They make up for the crappy pay and poor future job prospects.

    So Peter Parker rather than Bruce Wayne?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Jdrinnan,

    Its his opinion and he stands or falls on it - at least he puts his name to what he says.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2012 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    as do Edwards, Campbell and many other NZ bloggers - and most of us discussing it here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Jdrinnan, in reply to Sacha,

    Not pointing any fingers ...PA more open than a lot of blog comment - he made inflammatory comments and getting heat - but Campbell and Edwards aren't shrinking violets

    Auckland • Since Sep 2012 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Michael Hogan,

    Vanity Fair article on Obama is superb, thanks Russell. I still argue to friends and colleagues that the journalism (political and otherwise) in VF is routinely superb, despite the typical American obsession with celebs.

    I subscribe to two magazines: Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. I find American newspapers fairly pompous, but their best magazines are just ... the best magazines. Granted, there is the odd disappointing issue of VF.

    I first read The New Yorker when I was minding my ex-girlfriend's flat in Paris in 1987. Reading its vast two-part story on the New York art scene was a revelation with respect to what magazines could do and be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    Not pointing any fingers …PA more open than a lot of blog comment

    As I said, I tend to avoid the political blogs these days. I rely on Bryce to read them for me ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    opens up a festering issue about bloggers and the relationship with mainstream media

    Yeah, nah.

    Well to be fair it might be a subject for discussion around your table at tea time, but out here in the rest of New Zealand (and I'm going to use a royal we here) we don't really care that much if the news comes from a blogger or a "real journalist".

    What I care about is news and analysis. I get that from a combination of sources that I trust to varying degrees. The level of trust is earned according to behaviour not as a result of being published on dead trees. If Edwards and Campbell have a strong following perhaps it is because they have earned the trust of their readers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    but Campbell and Edwards aren't shrinking violets

    I'm not clear what you're trying to say, John.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to BenWilson,

    So Peter Parker rather than Bruce Wayne?

    Superman, rather, since journos aren't technically human. (Bonus! Modern Clark Kent is a "social issues" reporter who lives in a dilapidated apartment block.)

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Jdrinnan,

    They have opinions and are not shy about expressing them - and they both have a medium to reject the allegations.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2012 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    Superman, rather, since journos aren’t technically human. (Bonus! Modern Clark Kent is a “social issues” reporter who lives in a dilapidated apartment block.)

    I actually always was a Superman fan. Can't say whether Clark's journalism thing was a part of the appeal though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jdrinnan,

    Ta for clarifying. Perhaps I was wrong imagining it had some relationship with your comment about Armstrong: "at least he puts his name to what he says".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would add the Atlantic and another (sadly now closed) _Stop Smiling

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

  • Stephen Judd,

    What I find perplexing and a little sad is that in my experience, professional and otherwise, bloggers and social media bring readers to journalists. Anyone who is responsible for a popular website knows that referring links account for a great deal of page views. If Bryce Edwards makes a sarky note about Armstrong, he will link to Armstrong, and I will read it -- in fact these days, that's probably the only reason I will ever read Armstrong. If someone mentions an article disparagingly, I will probably still read it if there is a link. Perhaps Armstrong should ask whoever does the Herald's web analytics where his readers come from.

    The kind of thing that Edwards in particular is doing can be seen as a new form of editorship, an editorship divorced from the operational tasks of running a publication and focussed entirely on selection and commentary. I have wide interests and a limited budget and limited time and a huge world of quality online writing. I find people willing to sift and cull things that might interest me very valuable. Between bloggers and my Twitter and Facebook contacts, I have a distributed editing team who assemble my day's reading for me.

    Seen in this light Edwards is not a parasite. He is a symbiont.

    (Why Campbell is lumped in with content-pillagers I have no idea. He writes long pieces that in no way rely on links or quotes from others.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    (Why Campbell is lumped in with content-pillagers I have no idea. He writes long pieces that in no way rely on links or quotes from others.)

    Hmmm ... he will sometimes focus on a handful of linked sources, but generally it's something I haven't already seen and always fairly attributed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I actually always was a Superman fan. Can't say whether Clark's journalism thing was a part of the appeal though.

    No doubt the appeal was wearing the underpants on the outside.

    The media pundits have become, in their own minds, the news - they seem to all have the same heavy sinus infection and are blowing their noses in public.

    It distracts from Key being an embarrassment abroad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I find American newspapers fairly pompous, but their best magazines are just … the best magazines. Granted, there is the odd disappointing issue of VF.

    Sure, and just between us while I love the New Yorker's long-form pieces on principle the magazine's mandarin house style can tip over into self-parody. I'm trying to remember who said, in the latter days of Wallace Shawn's tenure as editor, that the magazine's notorious fact-checkers could query every clause of a piece and still miss the point.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Completely off topic, but this Campbell Live story on the poverty gap as demonstrated through school lunches at decile 1 vs decile 10 schools is pretty good journalism I thought:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Lunchbox-differences-in-decile-1-and-decile-10-schools/tabid/367/articleID/269617/Default.aspx

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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