journalist

Compare and contrast

It is interesting to compare articles by different media on the same topic.

A case in point was yesterday when they were reporting on Cam in the High Court.

First up lets check out the headlines.

Blogger wants journalists’ privileges
-Stuff.co.nz -

Blogger argues for media protection
-New Zealand Herald

Whale Oil flaunts Canon award as evidence he is a journalist
-National Business Review

Journalist/Blogger complex debated today
-Newstalk ZB

Read more »

Face of the day

He wants to set the record straight.

He wants to set the record straight.

Horan: our side of the story

MP Brendan Horan has cut a lonely figure since his sacking from the NZ First caucus amid allegations he took money from his late mother’s bank account. Today, he and his wife, Miranda, tell David Fisher how the crisis has affected them and why they plan to fight back

- NZ Herald

Politics is a tough arena. It is not for the faint hearted and it is particularly hard on spouses who often get caught in the cross fire.

I can understand his wife Miranda wanting to try to set the record straight but it is foolish of them both to try to do so.

You need to get to a place where you do not care what other people think if you are to survive the Political world. Journalists like David Fisher are not your friend. They are not there to help.¬†¬†¬† Read more »

du Fresne again on sneaky journalists

Karl du Fresne has another post about sneaky journalists and bias.

This one too is worth a read, but the conclusion is most interesting,

… I struggle to accept that being a political journalist necessarily requires you to neuter yourself as a citizen.

The crucial issue, surely, is how you do the job. Journalists should be judged on the fairness and impartiality of their reporting and commentary. It’s possible to be a party member and still be even-handed as a journalist. And since a journalist’s work is, by definition, highly visible, it’s relatively easy for the public and the employer to judge whether he or she’s doing the job honestly.

I can think of relatively high-profile journalists who hold strong left-wing views in private but still manage to do their work with integrity, as the journalists‚Äô code of ethics requires. There are also journalists and commentators (Paul Henry and John Campbell, for example) who quite openly lean one way or the other ‚Äď but since their politics are no secret, viewers can decide for themselves how much weight to place on whatever they might say. ¬† Read more »

Brian Edwards on Shane Taurima, Linda Clark and Conflicts of Interest

My good friend Brian Edwards has this to say about Shane Taurima and his actual conflict of interest:

There was nothing terribly complex about Shane Taurima’s situation with regard to his job as Head of TVNZ’s  Maori and Pacifica Department once he had, albeit unsuccessfully,  sought the Labour Party nomination for the Rawhiti Ikaroa seat following the death of Parekura Horomia. Taurima had very publicly nailed his political colours to the mast. In doing so he had effectively disbarred himself from any further involvement in News or Current Affairs broadcasting with the state broadcaster. The potential conflict of interest could not have been more clear.

Television New Zealand apparently did not see it that way. Perhaps they thought that Taurima’s failure to actually win the nomination made all the difference. He had been a would-be Labour candidate, not an actual Labour candidate.  (And, as it turned out, would be again.) That rationalisation is so facile as to be laughable. Taurima was politically tainted. He should not have been re-employed in his previous role. But he was.

When he took things even further and  turned his TVNZ office into a Maori/Pacifica Labour Party branch, Taurima did his employer a favour.  Without actually hanging portraits of Savage, Fraser and Kirk on the walls, the conflict of interest in which he and others in his department now found themselves could not have been more patent. To his credit, Taurima had the grace and good sense to resign.

He resigned because the case was so clear cut there was no other option. Unfortunately for Shane Taurima he thought Labour would stand by their electorate chair, instead they have given him the cold-face and turned their back.

There is actually nothing new about all of this. The list of television and radio  broadcasters working in news and current affairs who are or have been simultaneously engaged in activities which conflict with their obligation to be and be seen to be utterly impartial in all matters relating to their jobs, is extremely long. They may well be in the majority. Conflicts of interest among such practitioners abound.

Read more »

Dutch journalist interviews Mayor. Briefly

Tagged:

So, I’m a journalist now

Cameron Slater went to the High Court last Thursday to overcome the next legal hurdle in the defamation case taken out against him by Mr Matt Blomfield.

For those of you late to the story, Whaleoil was given access to information about Mr Blomfield’s business dealings regarding Hell Pizza. ¬†Due to a series of events, allegedly supported by Mr Blomfield’s own documents (allegedly, because we’re still subject to legal action), some of Mr Blomfield’s business dealings ¬†were reported on, especially those surrounding Hell Pizza and Hell Pizza sponsorship.

Mr Blomfield took exception to having his business emails published and took Cameron Slater to court for defamation. ¬†Part of this process is that all the articles about Mr Blomfield on¬†Whaleoil have been removed from public view, and we are under a suppression order from the Court that stops us from revealing any new information about Mr Blomfield – anything that isn’t already out in the public domain.

As part of that legal tussle, Mr Blomfield wanted to know who provided Cam Slater with access to the emails and documentation. ¬†Whaleoil doesn’t reveal sources. ¬†We never have and we never will, so Slater respectfully told the judge he couldn’t do that, and invoked protections under the law allowing journalists not to be compelled to reveal their sources by a Court.

The next legal step was therefore obvious to Mr Blomfield: ¬†insist that Cameron Slater isn’t a journalist, and Whaleoil isn’t part of the media.

A District Court judge found in Mr Blomfield’s favour, and insisted Cameron Slater reveal his sources. ¬†Again, this was resisted, even though Cam Slater was now clearly in contempt of court. ¬† Read more »

Southland Times editorial on Press Council changes

The Southland Times editorial is very good on the changes the Press Council is making to include bloggers.

Sometimes the news media need to grab their ankles for a health check.

This being the case, it’s a welcome development that bloggers and other digital media are being offered to partake in the process, by means of membership of the Press Council.

It’s a body that weighs up complaints against principles including accuracy, fairness, balance, privacy, confidentiality, discrimination, the use of subterfuge, the distinction of comment and fact, and conflicts of interest.

Inviting independent digital media to succumb to such extra scrutiny not only brings more accountability but, equally, credibility.

It doesn’t do any news or current affairs media any harm to be found out when they have seriously erred, nor to have their judgments independently endorsed, as occasionally happens too.

Nowhere is it written that those running their own websites must now form an orderly queue and join up. But the absence of a self-regulatory body has become an issue for those bloggers and sites that have become heavy hitters. And those who aspire to be. So they should be willing to join up.

[This is provided the yet-to-be-confirmed costs aren't disproportionately high compared with their income and that they are fairly represented on the complaints panel.]¬† Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Unknown source

Unknown source

 

The Hyena Handlers of Nigeria

 

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Journalists as politicians

With the alarming uptake of journalists moving to grab jobs as politicians, mostly for the Labour party it might be timely to re-visit an article from 2010 about this very same issue in Australia.

Sure it is from Australia and from four years ago but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.

Peter Costello, now a civilian, has bagged the practice of journalists going into politics.

From Channel Nine’s 2010 election commentary panel, the former lawyer and Liberal treasurer (1996-2007) was remarking on the defeat of Labor’s Maxine McKew , a former ABC current affairs presenter/interviewer and¬†Bulletin¬†journalist, in the seat of Bennelong.

In his column for The Sydney Morning Herald on August 18 he wrote:

“Every so often a journalist chances their arm in real politics. Maxine McKew is one. Her underwhelming parliamentary career shows how much harder it is to do than it is to pontificate.”

Putting the possibility of partisan bias in Mr Costello’s dismissive remarks to one side, the issue of journalists crossing over into politics is worth thinking about.

Is it a good idea given the role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy?

Journalists are meant to be independent ‘pontificators’, objective observers of governance and a key part of the accountability process. They are not meant to cross over into party politics with all the vile distortions (spin doctoring) which accompany contemporary adversarial games.

Journalists, particularly political journalists like Maxine McKew, know about the viciousness of politics in Australia. They know about vested interest influence peddling through slush funding practices. They know about factionalism, tribalism, smear, character assassination and zealotry. They know about media management and focus group rhetorical and policy manipulations which pervert honest engagement with the electorate.

When a journalist decides to leave journalism for politics without a cleansing career change in the middle it does bring into question their ethics and leanings for their most recent work. It is much the same if a politician immediately becomes a lobbyist straight after bowing out of politics. It smells a bit whiffy and looks slightly dodgy.¬† Read more »

The changing face of media freedoms

There seems to be developing a narrative amongst some media elites that unless you travelled their path then you are no journalist.

The sanctimony and finger pointing is hilarious, then there is the personal animosity if your politics or beliefs or even behaviour don’t match their own.

But if you can’t stand up for the freedoms of your political enemies then who will you stand up for.

Glen Greenwald is suffering from this. Now his politics are not my own, I doubt we’d agree on much and I am unlikely to ever meet him, but he is facing this exact criticism, simply for telling a story, even if it is the story of a traitor.

Among the dozens of reporters, editors, and commentators who have worked on articles sourced to Edward Snowden, just one, Glenn Greenwald, has been subject to a sustained campaign that seeks to define him as something other than a journalist. NBC’s David Gregory¬†asked¬†him why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a felon.¬†Representative Peter King declared that “legal action should be taken against him.”¬†Representative Mike Rogers¬†charges¬†that he is a thief who sells stolen material.¬†The New Republic¬†published¬†a piece¬†alleging that he has a nefarious, secret agenda. Why this unique effort to discredit him in particular?

Countless American journalists have published classified documents in the modern era. All were paid for their work, and in a world with Bob Woodward, it’s unlikely that Greenwald has been paid the most for revelations of classified material. Greenwald isn’t even unique in writing about secrets stolen by Snowden, or in being paid as a freelancer for his work upon the publication of those articles. Nor has Greenwald authored the Snowden articles denounced most bitterly by the national-security establishment. That distinction goes to the talented Barton Gellman.

So what is different about Greenwald?

The news organizations he works with are different. Rather than publishing in the¬†Washington Post¬†or the¬†New York Times,¬†institutions that have particular, unique, and often cozy relationships with America’s ruling class, he started out with a personal blog, later moved to¬†Salon.com, started publishing stories sourced to Snowden at¬†The Guardian’s¬†U.S. edition, and has worked with the foreign press.

His approach to journalism is different. Rather than trying (or purporting) to be objective, he is transparent about his opinions and explicitly argues for their validity. He criticizes fellow journalists for being insufficiently adversarial. Unlike most mainstream-media reporters, he voices contempt for certain American officials. And when he believes that they have broken the law, he doesn’t shy away from urging that they be prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes. It is no accident that there is no love lost for him in the national-security state. ¬†¬† Read more »