Whaleoil, a shadow of its former self and dying?

I always listen to our critics, because they are the most ruthless in assessing your own performance.  And certainly, after 2014 when we were at the center of everything, 2015 has felt a lot quieter.  But is Whaleoil dying?  Let’s take a look.

(all tables and graphs are page views)


So we lost about 6,000,000 page views since 2014 during a year when we were no longer the story and when everything was pretty boring politically.  There was no high profile scandal, there was no Labour leadership battle, and the whole year was basically just one flag debate with the occasional smattering of crimes in various contexts.

As you can see, the blog peaked during the election – and as a political blog, that’s pretty much to be expected.     Read more »


Whaleoil commenters are a cut above

In spite of the moderators feverishly deleting everything that isn’t nailed down (or so I’m told), the Whaleoil commenting community is healthy and vibrant.  Let’s have a look.

First, the most commented on post:


I’ve been trying to get our Whaleoil Ground Crew to embrace “multi-screening” where live events are followed by our readers and they share the experience as if in the same room together.  Our World Cup Cricket Live Blog set a new record:  1157 comments for a single post.   Read more »


New words, old words and words that reveal your age


At dinner last night I told my adult son and seventeen-year-old daughter a naughty joke. They laughed but told me my joke was dated because the punchline was..’ you can’t hear the radio’. They said that they never listen to the radio. My daughter listens to podcasts and my son gets most of his information from Youtube. When they want to listen to music while driving they plug their ipad or ipod into the car and listen to music they have downloaded.

It made me think about how how our language dates us. Cam and I, for example, talk about the video store even though video stores no longer have video tapes. In fact soon video stores will not even exist as more and more are closing or slowly going out of business thanks to Netflix and other providers.

Words like technology are soon out of date

Words like technology are soon out of date

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Can you give Pete and the Team a hand?


As you may know, I’m currently in Dubai with my family before I travel onward with Dad to Gallipoli.  As a result, I’m working on different time zones as well as at a distance.   Although I’m sure we can keep the blog going, there might be the odd gap here and there. Read more »


Face of the day


Nicky Hager

Today’s face of the day is the author / journalist who used material stolen from a blogger/ journalist to write a book then was outraged when his ‘ journalistic ‘ privacy was ignored when the Police used a legally obtained warrant to search his home. They were looking for evidence of the identity of the Hacker that he did business with in order to illegally obtain a blogger/journalist’s private correspondence with confidential sources as well as his personal correspondence in order to sell a book and make money.

This is a guy with more cheek than a fat man’s bottom.

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Andrew Sullivan’s last blog post on media and blogging

Andrew Sullivan has quit blogging. He suddenly announced his retirement about 10 days ago and has quickly wound down to yesterday’s last day of blogging.

His last blog post is about one of his first and echoes my thoughts on the medium perfectly.

Thirteen years ago, as I was starting to experiment with this blogging thing, I wrote the following:

[T]he speed with which an idea in your head reaches thousands of other people’s eyes has another deflating effect, this time in reverse: It ensures that you will occasionally blurt out things that are offensive, dumb, brilliant, or in tune with the way people actually think and speak in private. That means bloggers put themselves out there in far more ballsy fashion than many officially sanctioned pundits do, and they make fools of themselves more often, too. The only way to correct your mistakes or foolishness is in public, on the blog, in front of your readers. You are far more naked than when clothed in the protective garments of a media entity.

But, somehow, you’re liberated as well as nude: blogging as a media form of streaking. I notice this when I write my blog, as opposed to when I write for the old media. I take less time, worry less about polish, and care less about the consequences on my blog. That makes for more honest writing. It may not be “serious” in the way, say, a 12-page review of 14th-century Bulgarian poetry in the New Republic is serious. But it’s serious inasmuch as it conveys real ideas and feelings in as unvarnished and honest a form as possible. I think journalism could do with more of that kind of seriousness. It’s democratic in the best sense of the word. It helps expose the wizard behind the media curtain.

I stand by all those words. There are times when people take this or that post or sentence out of a blog and make it seem as if it is the definitive, fully considered position of the blogger. Or they take two sentences from different moments in time and insist that they are a contradiction. That, it seems to me, misses the essential part of blogging as a genuinely new mode of writing: its provisionality, its conversational essence, its essential errors, its ephemeral core, its nature as the mode in which writing comes as close as it can to speaking extemporaneously.

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The ‘unassisted suicide’ of old media

Andrew Sullivan ceases blogging today, and one of his final posts is a discussion of modern media developments by old media companies.

CBC interviewed him about native advertising:

Sullivan’s case against native advertisement is powerful and succinct. “It is advertising that is portraying itself as journalism, simple as that,” he told me recently. “It is an act of deception of the readers and consumers of media who believe they’re reading the work of an independent journalist.”

Advertisers, he says, want to buy the integrity built up over decades by journalists and which, in the past, was kept at arm’s length. Now they will happily pay to imitate it: “The whole goal is you not being able to tell the difference.” Sullivan’s argument is so doctrinaire, so principled, that it makes bourgeois practitioners of the craft, like me, squirm.

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Let’s just totally ignore the High Court’s ruling shall we?

A decision to clear Cameron Slater of Privacy Act breaches could result in all bloggers being exempt from the legislation, the Director of Human Rights Proceedings says.

The director’s lawyer, Simon Judd, told the Human Rights Review Tribunal today there was nothing to distinguish Mr Slater from any other blogger who expressed their opinions on the internet.


Nothing? Really? How about a High Court ruling that he is a journalist?

A court’s recognition of WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater as a journalist reflects the changing media landscape, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA) says.

Slater has won a High Court nod that he is a journalist and that his blog is a news medium


That is a pretty strong distinction don’t you think?

 But Mr Judd told the tribunal the case could set a precedent and result in every blogger being exempt from the Privacy Act if the charge was not upheld.

-RadioNZ   Read more »

Andrew Sullivan decides to quit blogging

One of my big influencers in blogging has decided to quit after 15 years.

One of the things I’ve always tried to do at the Dish is to be up-front with readers. This sometimes means grotesque over-sharing; sometimes it means I write imprudent arguments I have to withdraw; sometimes it just means a monthly update on our revenues and subscriptions; and sometimes I stumble onto something actually interesting. But when you write every day for readers for years and years, as I’ve done, there’s not much left to hide. And that’s why, before our annual auto-renewals, I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future.

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough – and finally forced me to get real.

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Some advice for the opposition from Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide tells the opposition to find a better cause.

The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because – and I say this even more caringly and kindly – Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.

His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left’s The Standard and The Daily Blog.

I’m not sure The Standard or the mouth breather at The Daily blog will appreciate that Rodney Hide enjoys their hate fuelled rants.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It’s true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy’s. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don’t blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there’s been politics.    Read more »