Yesterday’s papers

Newspapers continue to decline.

Who wants yesterday’s papers?, the Rolling Stones asked in 1967, and the question is still valid.

It seems the answer is “nobody in the world”.

Clay Shirky writes about the ongoing demise.

Journalists have been infantilized throughout the last decade, kept in a state of relative ignorance about the firms that employ them. A friend tells a story of reporters being asked the paid print circulation of their own publication. Their guesses ranged from 150,000 to 300,000; the actual figure was 35,000. If a reporter was that uninformed about a business he was covering, he’d be taken off the story.

This cluelessness is not by accident; the people who understand the state of the business often hide that knowledge from the workers. My friend Jay Rosen writes about the media’s “production of innocence” — when covering a contentious issue, they must signal to the readers “We have no idea who’s right.” Among the small pool of journalists reporting on their own industry, there is a related task, the production of ignorance. When the press writes about the current dislocations, they must insist that no one knows what will happen. This pattern shows up whenever the media covers itself. When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Timesran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.”

The future of print remains what? Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

Meanwhile, back in the treasurer’s office, have a look at this chart. Do you see anything unclear about the trend line?

adrevenue

Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade. (If you work at a paper and you don’t know what’s happened to your own circulation or revenue in the last few years, now might be a good time to ask.) We’re late enough in the process that we can even predict the likely circumstance of its demise.

Read more »

Tagged:

Bob Jones has the solution for cheaper houses

Bob Jones has a brilliant solution for solving housing affordability and the supposed housing crisis.

I have a solution which may induce initial antagonism, but viewed calmly, it’s perfectly logical. National’s policy of providing more cash for first-home buyers is certainly not addressing Auckland’s problem. Instead it will heighten it by increasing demand, although outside of Christchurch it will have merit in assisting first-home seekers.

Recently, we legislated that our worker standards must apply to foreign trawlers fishing our waters. On face value that appeared virtuous. In fact, it’s utterly hypocritical.

Our living standards rely on incredibly cheap goods from Asia. They’re cheap thanks to low labour costs, as on the foreign fishing boats. So to be consistent, why not impose the same fishing boat rules to imported goods? There are two answers.

First, in terms of moral inconsistency, it’s analogous to the abortion debate. What can’t be seen, namely Chinese factories and unborn babies, conveniently doesn’t count.

The second excellent reason is that free trade is unquestionably mutually beneficial, and as with Japan and increasingly Korea, in a few years, fast-rising Chinese living standards will see this low labour cost manufacturing continue its westward move to Southeast Asia, then the Indian sub-continent, and if robots haven’t by then killed off menial jobs as inevitably they will, then on to Africa. Everyone’s a winner.

Actually, minimum standards are imposed by America, albeit not the same as Western equivalents. A few years ago I met a young American woman in Bolivia who was taking a break from her job as an inspector overseeing Caribbean factory and labour standards.

If they weren’t up to scratch she could block their exports to the US. Her concerns were wages and working conditions. America has similar inspectors in Asia following a public clamour after revelation of some Chinese factories’ then appalling standards.

So accepting that low Asian labour costs are mutually beneficial, the answer to attaining a mass supply of housing in one fell swoop, is to emulate Dubai and, as a one-off exercise, import an army of cheap sub-continent labour. Dubains reject manual work, aside from which they’re too small in population to achieve what they have without outside help.

Read more »

Mental Health Break

If filming up womens’ skirts isn’t being deviant, what is?

This gets my back up

A man who filmed up a woman’s dress in a Wellington department store has been discharged without conviction because a judge considered the offending was “towards the lower end” of the scale.

Alessandro Doria, 46, made eight other recordings on his phone on May 30 of the legs and lower torsos of women on the streets, Wellington District Court was told yesterday.

But Judge Bruce Davidson deemed that only the recording of a woman in Farmers on Lambton Quay could amount to an intimate visual recording.

And all that could be seen in that recording was a very brief view of black stockings or leggings and a dress, the judge said.

Although the offence of making an intimate visual recording of another person without permission was generally viewed quite seriously, he considered what happened in Farmers was towards the lower end of the scale.

What is it with invasion of privacy that is just so acceptable these days?   Decisions like these provide fuel to the people who like us to suffer the idea we have rape culture in New Zealand.    Read more »

Map of the Day

Byo4SKzCUAE_-7E

Blaeu’s map of the world, 1662

Click here for a larger version

 

Pick which party is considering these policies

Let’s say a party  had these policies

– Increasing minimum wage, twice during the next term

– Income tax free threshold up to $25,000

– People on minimum wage pay no income tax at all

– 40% tax rate at $100,000

– 100,000 new homes to be built, 20% cheaper than they are now, with foreign buyers banned

– Increase health spending in real terms, every year, until 2020

Can you guess?

Read more »

An anti-Muslim backlash in New Zealand?

nn_05ami_isis_140819.nbcnews-video-reststate-480

NZ Muslims are terrified of an anti-Muslim backlash if New Zealand sends the SAS to deal with ISIS, but perhaps not the way you think.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque’s Secretary of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, Tahir Nawaz, says supporting the fight in Iraq would be a bad idea.

“We are a very good community here, we are very co-operative,” Mr Nawaz said.

“Once New Zealand troops are sent there, our public attitude could change. At the end of the day there would be people living here whose roots are in the countries where New Zealand would send the troops.”

That reads as much as a warning as it does a threat.   A promise?  Or just the reality of allowing Muslim immigrants to settle here.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Coco Chanel: 1883-1971; The French fashion designer Coco Chanel ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes - such as petticoats and corsets - that were prevalent in 19th century dress. Among her now-classic innovations were the Chanel suit, costume jewelry, and the little black dress.

Coco Chanel: 1883-1971; The French fashion designer Coco Chanel ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes – such as petticoats and corsets – that were prevalent in 19th century dress. Among her now-classic innovations were the Chanel suit, costume jewelry, and the little black dress.

Coco Chanel

Read more »

Midday madness

Good afternoon. The Whaleoil General Debate posts appear at 7 am, noon (Midday Madness) and 6 pm (Backchat). You don’t have to stay “on topic” in these posts like you do in all others. Feel free to share your own stories, links to other news or catch up with friends. If you haven’t tried it before, signing in to a Disqus account is free, quick, and it is easy.

New commenters should familiarise themselves with our Commenting and Moderation rules. Thank you.

 


Trouble commenting on Whaleoil? You can receive free help.

Just email [email protected] with your concerns.  Please be polite and as precise as you can be.  Remember: this is a unpaid volunteer service provided by other Whaleoil readers.  Only contact them with commenting related problems.

Will the real Labour Party leader please step up?

He’s lacked the naked lust on display by Cunliffe and Robertson, but being an interim party leader is causing people to cast an eye over David Parker

David Parker is one of the nicest blokes in politics. Unfailingly polite, considered in his answers, almost a little too honest for his own good at times.

He can be stirred to anger over matters of high policy and is stubborn. He had a reputation among his officials as a minister who wouldn’t follow advice nearly willingly enough.

He surprised even himself with the strength of his live TV interview performances ahead of the election.

Nice? I wouldn’t call stealing the missus of a stroke victim particularly nice. I bet Not Given Lightly isn’t played very much these days.

By standing aside from the Labour leadership row and stepping up as acting leader, he is choosing more the role of kaumatua than rangatira, keeping the seat warm and tempers calm while Labour goes through whatever it’s going to go through now.

But what if Parker is part of the problem?

Or more specifically, some of the most cherished elements of the economic programme Parker has spent six years honing and which signally failed to ignite sufficient public support on election day?

The three biggest problems: a capital gains tax as the answer to the country’s misallocation of capital; raising the pension age to 67, and an electricity policy so complicated it left power company executives begging for price regulation instead. Read more »