Hypocrisy and the NZ Herald

hypocrites

A reader writes about the NZ Herald’s paid content…you know that terrible thing John Drinnan has been campaigning on Twitter against…ringing people’s bosses trying to get them sacked.

brand insightHi Cam

I was browsing through the Herald online (I know – more fool, me – in my defence, I only read it for the girlie pictures) and came across the new Brand Insight section (launched September 1 and now featured prominently on the front page).

What is a “Brand Insight”? According to the helpful explanatory popup, it’s this: “New Zealand Herald’s Brand Insight connects readers directly to the leadership thinking of many prominent companies and organisations.”

Sounds terribly worthy, doesn’t it?

Or you could click through to one of the stories, where you’ll find in the small print that Brand Insights are in fact paid content, published on behalf of an advertiser. In a nutshell, this is the Herald’s latest attempt to extract money from advertisers, in what’s called a “native advertising format” (or, as we oldtimers call it, advertorial).

“The high quality content, in line with journalistic standards, is often produced by the company or brand and must be of interest to readers. It is clearly signposted.” Yeah, right.

So how exactly is this different from what WOBH has allegedly been doing, accepting money from companies in return for writing about them?

Oh yeah, “clearly signposted”. Like, “connects readers directly to the leadership thinking of many prominent companies and organisations”.

Sure, that’ll do it.

This is what the Herald describes it as:

The New Zealand Herald’s Brand Insight gives our vast audience a chance to connect directly to the leadership thinking of many leading companies and organisations.

It does so by offering a new outlet on the Herald’s digital platform. The high quality content, in line with journalistic standards, is often produced by the company or brand and must be of interest to readers. It is clearly signposted.

This innovative approach integrates such content into an editorial environment, allowing you, the reader, an extra perspective and fresh sources of information while permitting companies to take advantage of the Herald’s reach.

Let me translate that for you.

The NZ Herald will charge you for featuring your brand on their pages and their website, they will hide it so it looks like a news article and they will feature it. But because they are trusted, and employ decent journalists trained and skilled no one will really notice. They are also merging editorial and advertising, but not to worry they are ethical, so no worries.

Meanwhile John Drinnan, their media writer, is busily contacting people associated with me and asking why they are still working for the companies that employ them. I have the evidence of this. Phone calls and emails. He is hounding people out of a job because they associate with me.

This is the ethical NZ Herald…featuring paid content in articles, creating a whole division called native advertising and bullying people. At the same time they are writing articles decrying that I get paid!

And next year they go behind a paywall so you have to pay to read their “native advertising”.

 

– NZ Herald


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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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