Not a good day for Nicky Hager

John Roughan has been forced to release recordings of his conversations with Prime Minister John Key as part of a court case relating to the “teapot tapes”.

Roughan had refused to surrender transcripts and recordings used for his biography John Key, Portrait of a Prime Minister. He was asked for the documents a year ago under the discovery process for a defamation case being taken against Mr Key by freelance photographer Bradley Ambrose.

The Privacy Commission told the columnist last week that his book did not meet the criteria for the Privacy Act exemption which allowed journalists to protect their sources.

Roughan is the third journalist to be captured by a High Court ruling last year which said a reporter’s research for a book did not qualify for protection under privacy rules.

It appears the Courts have pretty much eroded journalistic privilege.   This may cause quite a chilling effect on people coming forward with information that they consider should be public if it means that the courts can order their identities to be revealed. Read more »

Polishing a turd versus letting it stink

So what does ‘In the Public Interest’ actually mean?

Trying to nail down a clear definition of what ‘In the Public Interest’ actually means is quite difficult. In this article I attempt to define it so that we have a set of guidelines that we can apply to situations where journalists have declared that what they did was acceptable because of ‘ Public Interest.’

 Public interest, according to the Random House Dictionary, is “1. the welfare or well-being of the general public; commonwealth. 2. appeal or relevance to the general populace: a news story of public interest.”[1]

1.The welfare or well being of the general public ( the majority )  must be served by the story.

2. The story must have appeal or relevance to the general public which means the majority of people.

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Dirty Media – Who feeds Fran?

A newspaper during Dirty Politics liked to use diagrams.

Well here at Whaleoil we like diagrams as well…we especially like this one.

fran Read more »

So this is the caliber of our journalism

At today’s post-cabinet press conference, Andrea Vance asked the Prime Minister a really pertinent question.   What does he think about the allegations that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has had his meat and two veg inside a dead pig’s mouth?


The fact that Vance thought that was the sort of thing that would get her the valuable answers needed to write for her newspaper is bad enough, but it would have died a nice death in the awkward silence of others who were thinking “did she really just ask that?”, if it wasn’t for her tag-team partner and Media Party communications spokesperson, Katie Bradford, spewing it out for all to see on the Twitter machine.

Seriously, these people can’t figure out why they don’t have your respect.

No love, your journalism ‘degree’ isn’t worth jack

A dopey and clearly un-talented former NewstalkZB “journalist” is cry baby of the week.

She is crying a river of tears via her former employer’s parent newspaper about how hard done by she is being a journalist, trained and skilled and yet only fit for reception work in London.

It was starting to feel like this city hated me. I was angry, broke, drinking a lot, and lacking any of the confidence I arrived with four months ago.

I’m talented. I’m hard-working. I’m blonde. And I can charm the pants off the 60-something-year-old Italian who makes me my daily coffee.

I’m also one of 30,000 Kiwis who have left Middle Earth for a city twice the population of our country. A city of 8.6 million people. A city that will chew you up and spit you out without so much as a farewell pint. So I may be many things, but in London, I’m irrelevant.

Yep, you are irrelevant. Glad you finally worked that out daaaaahling.

Here’s the thing: there are plenty of people with skills better than you at writing nonsense in London.

Just because you believed the hype of your regurgitated press releases at NewstalkZB doesn’t mean you are actually talented. If you truly were you’d have that dream London job as a hack at a tabloid.

This February felt like the right time for me to pack up my life. I had a specialist degree and three years’ experience working for some of New Zealand’s most reputable companies.

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The desperate stupidity of Rachel Smalley

Who is the 'serious' journalist now eh Rachel?

Who is the ‘serious’ journalist now eh Rachel?

Rachel Smalley will tell anyone in the NewstalkZB newsroom that she is the only “serious journalist” in the place.

Desperately unliked except by management, she is also desperately stupid.

After having a mad anti-gun rant at the start of her fill-in for Larry Williams she then, less than an hour later, has this statement to make about the discovery and naming of a new planet.

The stupidity of Rachel Smalley The stupidity of Rachel Smalley "Rachel Smalley confuses the name of an astronomer for the material used to make bullet proof vests." "The stupidity of Rachel Smalley"

The details of the new “earth like” planet are:

NASA said Thursday that its Kepler spacecraft has spotted “Earth’s bigger, older cousin”: the first nearly Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of a star similar to our own.

Though NASA can’t say for sure whether the planet is rocky like ours or has water and air, it’s the closest match yet found.

“Today, Earth is a little less lonely,” Kepler researcher Jon Jenkins said.   Read more »

Karl du Fresne on Nicky Hager

Karl du Fresne, who as far as I can recall, is not well disposed towards me.

However he looks into Nicky Hager’s claims of being a journalist.

Debate about Hager’s book Dirty Politics, which exposed connections between government figures and Right-wing muckraker Cameron Slater, dominated last year’s general election campaign.

Now it has had a sequel in court, where Hager claims police searched his house unlawfully after Slater complained that material published in the book had been obtained illegally by hacking his computer.

(Hager, it should be noted, says he had no part in obtaining the material.)

Perhaps he might like to explain at least three visits to the Dotcom mansion prior to the hack.

Hager’s case hinges on whether he can claim the protection of something known as journalistic privilege, which covers the right to protect confidential sources. His lawyer claims the police didn’t adequately consider this right.

Central to the case, it seems to me, is whether Hager is entitled to call himself an investigative journalist.

That’s apparently how he prefers to be described, and most of the media oblige him by using that term. The court heard that the Crown accepts he is a journalist.

This is helpful for his image because the word “journalist” conveys a sense of professional impartiality.

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75 percent of journalists say that they use Twitter to build their own brand

In what other industry are employees busy building themselves as stars that shine brighter than the company that pays their wages?  In what other industry would that even be acceptable?

Yet the old media continue to fail as they don’t grasp what they need to do.  Weighed down by the need to keep a legacy newspaper going, they are hamstrung against new media platforms.


Can you see how this drives the decline of traditional newspaper subscribers?  The need to turn their work into shareable clickbait simply doesn’t cater for people who have a roll of paper delivered to their letterbox.   And they haven’t got the resources or the nous to run different stories for the print and on-line versions.  Read more »

Hill Cone on NZ journalism

Missed this yesterday as I’m normally not interested in her therapy group sessions and glimpses of personal life, but she actually had the guts to call out some of her colleagues yesterday for … well, you read

As a young female journalist I was probably sadly before my time in shamelessly trying to schmooze my way to notoriety of any kind like an overpainted attention-seeking goose. Back then, how I would have loved to have been in Andrea Vance’s position, the famous Fairfax journalist who brought down a Cabinet minister. How glorious to be feted for your special powers of turning a powerful man to mush, leading him to say he “made errors of judgment” while in your thrall.

Whether their relationship was romantic or not scarcely seems to matter. Although it does seem disingenuous for Vance to now play the victim. Whatever the background, Vance still exhibited a degree of influence – for that week anyway she was more powerful than any politician – that made her the envy of her colleagues.

Especially those who are a little too dangerously in love with the romantic image of their profession – they are the noble crusader, the Katharine Hepburn wisecracker, the reincarnation of Martha Gellhorn. Even if these days being a female reporter is more like being an “It” girl than a hack. Read more »