A dodgy liquidator discusses StuffMe merger

Damien Grant discusses the proposed StuffMe merger:

It is deeply satisfying to see the heads of Fairfax and NZME grovel before the inquisitors of the Commerce Commission in a forlorn attempt to stave off the day they will need to all get real jobs. For the past two decades we have had to watch as journalism has been debased from an ancient and noble craft to a festering swamp of leftists who confuse advocacy with reporting.

On the mezzanine floor of the insolvency firm where I work sits a century’s worth of the Truth, once a proud and respected newspaper, which chased the modern equivalent of clickbait by dropping real reporting for page three girls and pandering to whims of the sex industry.

Its liquidation is a harbinger of the demise of the newspaper as we know it and in an attempt to stave off their own oblivion and searching for a business model that can sustain some semblance of news Fairfax and NZME want to do a deal.

Read more »

Talk about stupid from Fairfax

Fairfax really are seeking relevance with retarded stories like the one about what happens to John Key’s security detail when he resigns.

For the past eight years John Key has been flanked by a team of Diplomatic Protection Service agents who have kept him safe. But come Monday, he may be fending for himself.

Police, along with Key’s office, declined to comment on Tuesday whether or not he would retain any of his security detail once he steps down next week.    Read more »


Idiot journalist doesn’t know election laws

..or how to count.

In the article about Labour taking a dive to help the Greens in Nelson, Tim O’Connell makes the following statement:

The Green Party was bequeathed $250,000 by an anonymous donor, with the condition it was used in the Nelson and West Coast-Tasman electorates.

Maybe Tim O’Connell doesn’t know the election laws.

Maybe he does not know how to use Google to find the laws or the donation register.   Read more »

A reader writes to Fairfax

A reader copied me on this email to Fairfax:

Good Evening Mr Crewdson

Please note…

The majority of the public are getting extremely annoyed with your website www.stuff.co.nz for the fact it is left-wing, biased, and preaches hate against right-wing, normal views.

One example is that it has never contained any positive articles about Donald Trump, who got in as President-elect with a large majority while your website and hundreds of other left wing MSM attempted and failed in manipulating the public about the election. I am not necessarily a supporter of Donald Trump, and consider myself with central political views, but I am genuinely appalled at the low quality and bias of your website.   Read more »


ComCom favours rejecting Fairfax/NZME merger #StuffMe


The ComCom has issued a draft determination rejecting the bid by Fairfax and NZME for a merger of the two companies.

NBR reports:

The Commerce Commission says a proposed merger of New Zealand’s two biggest media companies will substantially lessen competition and lead to reduced editorial quality.

In  draft decision published this morning, the regulator said its preliminary view was to decline to authorise the merger.

The two companies had sought clearance or authorisation to combine their businesses in New Zealand, which include the two biggest news websites stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz.

NZME owns eight daily and two weekly newspapers, 24 community publications, six magazine titles, ten radio stations and 38 websites.

Fairfax operates the largest print media network in New Zealand, featuring nine daily and three weekly newspapers, 61 community publications, ten magazine titles and six websites.  Read more »


Guest Post – Paying for Service

On Tuesday you had an indignant article about not paying musicians who might be asked to play for events – in this case, Fairfax.

This is a very common experience for those of us who speak at events, whether as keynote speakers, workshop facilitators, or topic experts.  We usually get a call from a conference organising company asking if we would like to speak at xxxxx.  I enthusiastically say I would be delighted to do that, what, when and how much?

The response on the other end of the line is usually as follows:

“Our guest speakers usually are happy to do it for free, for experience”.

That is downright insulting.  I speak for a living and have done so for many decades.  Furthermore, I tailor my presentation to fit the organisation and that takes time and energy and a high level of expertise.  Then I have to travel to the venue and travel to and from may take up to two days there and back.

They might pay for the travel costs, but not of course for the travel time.  Or the accommodation.    Read more »


Fairfax journalists aren’t actually paid. They just work for the exposure

Ridiculous, right?

Earlier this month, Sydney-based reggae band Black Bird Hum turned down an invitation from Fairfax to play at the company’s popular Night Noodle Markets event.

In a Facebook post, they wrote: “We’re flattered to be on the radar of a company with an annual ‘Total Group Revenue of $1,830 million’ (FY2016). We have, however, decided to decline the invitation to perform at the event on account of you deciding not to pay us.”


“In October alone, we will have performed 15 gigs across three states as Black Bird Hum. We will have been paid for all of these gigs, often by companies with annual total group revenues probably less than 0.1% of your company’s.

“So to you, and any other corporation perpetuating the line that it’s ok to have musicians work for free – don’t call us. We don’t want to work with you.”

Surely Fairfax was asking them to work for free…. for a good reason?  It was an event where everyone else was donating their time?   Read more »


Sky TV takes Fairfax/Stuff to court over Olympic “fair use”


Sky TV [NZX: SKT] has confirmed to NBR that, having been unsuccessful in getting an injunction against Fairfax NZ over its use of Rio Olympics footage, it will now take its issue with the publisher (and recent entrant into the “video content space”) to a full trial.

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet told NBR Radio going to trial is the only way to get a resolution on the issue. Read more »


Will local news media become like boutique breweries?

In 2012 I was invited to speak at the New Zealand Community Newspapers Association awards dinner.

I made my speech about how the future of publishing news was in their hands and they didn’t even know it.

As Fairfax and APN (then, NZME. now) got bigger they had ignored the local news. They concentrated more and more on Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.

Those papers that did the basics well locally were actually able to grow if they just thought about it and got even more parochial. Even in Auckland there were opportunities, like the Howick and Pakuranaga Times…unfortunately they were at the time in the thrall of a couple of wide boys talking the big game in digital without even bothering to understand their audience or what they were even doing.

Karl du Fresne has a blog post about just those sorts of sentiments, that “boutique” is profitable and lucrative and perhaps the way of the future for local news.

It’s rare these days to hear about any development in the news media that’s worth celebrating, but the announcement that the Wairarapa Times-Age is reverting to local ownership is a tonic.

After 12 years in what is now the NZME (previously known as APN) stable, the Masterton-based Monday-Friday paper is being bought by its general manager, Andrew Denholm. My guess is that other local money is involved, although I have no inside knowledge.

The news is encouraging for several reasons. For a start, it represents a tiny reversal of a trend that has greatly diminished the relevance of local papers.

The process of agglomeration by which provincial papers such as the Times-Age were gobbled up in the late 20th century by the two big industry players of the time, INL and Wilson and Horton, was once overwhelmingly positive for the industry.

It gave small, previously family-owned papers access to capital with which to invest in vital new technology. It brought them into a nationwide career structure that lifted professional standards and it also meant that small papers were less likely to be captive to local parochial interests.

That all worked well while the two big companies remained in New Zealand hands. The turning point came when the Australian outfits Fairfax (which acquired INL) and APN (which bought Wilson and Horton) moved in.

Australian ownership has not been good for the New Zealand print media. Their disregard for the New Zealand way of doing things was never more obvious than when they dismantled the New Zealand Press Association, thus ending a system of news sharing that had lasted more than a century and ensured that newspaper readers in Whangarei and Gisborne knew about things of importance that were happening in Invercargill and Greymouth.

Sharing wasn’t the Australian way, so it was scrapped.

[…]   Read more »

Feel the fear, that sound you hear is journalist’s knees knocking together

The Media party are shaking in their boots.

After years of degrading their mastheads to the status of clickbait sites they are now facing mass redundancy.

Trade Union leaders are worried that a merger would have serious consequences for NZME and Fairfax NZ staff.

Hundreds of New Zealand journalists face an uncertain future if the planned merger gets the green light.

Media companies Fairfax and APN have told the New Zealand Stock exchange they are in talks about merging their New Zealand businesses by the end of 2016.

NZME – the New Zealand arm of APN – owns several North Island daily papers and radio stations, while Fairfax’s media portfolio includes newspapers, magazines, such as Cuisine, TV Guide and NZ House & Garden, and the country’s most-visited news website Stuff.co.nz.    Read more »