Letter to Tim Murphy

Editor
New Zealand Herald

February 23rd 2012

By Email & Blog

Re: Complaint about Simon Collins’ Article on Tania Wysocki

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you under the rules laid out by the New Zealand Press Council about Simon Collins’ article on Tania Wysocki. The article may be linked to here:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10785857

Having discussed this case at length with Ms Wysocki I wish to make complaints on the following grounds:

Accuracy, Fairness & Balance:

Collins’ article is inaccurate, unfair and unbalanced. I believe he has omitted (for effect) significant relevant information about Ms Wysocki, information that you will find in four posts on my blog.

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/02/pimping-the-poor/

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/02/pimping-the-poor-ctd/

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/02/pimping-the-poor-ctd-labour-collude-with-herald/

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/02/pimping-the-poor-ctd-the-issue/

I specifically wish to take issue with the serious over dramatization and exaggeration of claims that relate to Ms Wysocki’s choices.

This runs contrary to the principles outlined here: http://www.presscouncil.org.nz/principles.php “An independent press plays a vital role in a democracy. The proper fulfilment of that role requires a fundamental responsibility for the press to maintain high standards of accuracy, fairness and balance and public faith in those standards.”

I believe in his coverage of Ms Wysocki’s story, Mr Collins has betrayed all of the above principles.

1: Accuracy – Mr Collins ignored significant relevant details and chose not to publish these details in his story.  He sensationalised suggestions that prostitution was a serious and legitimate option for Ms Wysocki.  Sadly, she now believes she has been ‘used’ by the media.

2: Fairness – At no point did Mr Collins contact the Minister of Social Development despite his collusion with the Opposition spokeswoman on these issues.  In fact, Mr Collins received his ‘tip’ for Ms Wysocki’s story via the Labour Party spokeswoman.  At No point was this declared.

3: Balance – Mr Collins chose to present a one-sided view of the truth and failed to outline all relevant details pertaining to Ms Wysoki’s circumstances. This is despite numerous subsequent opportunities. Mr Collins and the NZ Herald have failed to provide sufficient context/background.

4: Public Faith – Public faith in the media has been eroded because of an irresponsible and sensationalist approach to Ms Wysocki’s circumstances. The public have not been able to draw a reasonable conclusion about her situation because Mr Collins and the NZ Herald have not fairly explored relevant aspects of her position.

Please be aware of my intention to complain formally to the Press Council if the NZ Herald fails to reasonably deal with this gross misrepresentation of the facts.

Kind Regards

Cam Slater
Editor
Whale Oil Beef Hooked


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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