NZ Herald officially ejects any pretence at basic respect


This just formalises what has already been happening anyway. There have been articles where John Key has been referred to as Key while, in the same article, Andrew Little was Mr Little – a somewhat childish way to show disrespect and which side the writer is on.

A lot of bylines have also disappeared. Whereas the Herald used to push its own staff as celebrities, turning Fisher, O’Sullivan and Nippert into household names, this hasn’t actually been a good thing. Especially in the case of David Fisher, his byline has become a liability, and any unattributed work is probably read more because of it.

As they prepare for a “merger” with Fairfax (one is actually nearly broke, but the other has a better reputation – you guess which), there will be clashes of interest, clashes of egos and clashes of cultures. There will even be discomfort as people who left one organisation under a cloud suddenly find themselves working with, or even under, previous colleagues. Also, one way to make the disappearance of certain people less obvious is to make them virtually disappear now.

The other change that has been introduced to the point of ridiculousness is the insertion of the Herald’s name into every second or third paragraph, for example “The Herald understands…” and “The commissioner told the Herald that…”.  This is, of course, a side-effect of not being able to refer to the self by the reporter.

The dropping of honorifics is a small step. It will be interesting to see if there is a similar attempt at trying to clean up the inferred slurs by introducing consistency where one person is labeled an expert or commentator, and the other a far-right controversial blogger. We’ve seen Labour candidates presented as independent experts, while true independent experts are vilified with a string of negative and emotive adjectives. Just dropping honorifics won’t solve that and will continue to erode the old paper’s public credibility.


– Twitter


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • ex-JAFA

    While I don’t mind dropping low-level honourifics such as Mister (because you then get into the whole minefield of Miss, Mizz and Missus) or Doctor – which, frankly, generally only convey irrelevant information – I think that people who’ve had a higher honour such as a knighthood should be shown the respect they deserve.

    Just watch the Herald’s hypocrisy on this one. I’ll bet you any money you like that the Right Honourable John Key will simply be “Key” or, at best, “John Key”, but a particularly stupid interfering woman who used to play squash will continue to be identified as “Dame Susan”.

    • Dave

      Better they refer to Ms Devoy, as a retired Squash player, it was something she was very good at.

  • NahYeah

    To be consistent, we should also drop any honorifics with the NZ Herald, and just call it “that Tabloid”, or “that Click-bait Rag”.

    • spanishbride

      It has long been a tradition here to refer to it when quoting from an article as – A Newspaper. For those of you who have forgotten why that tradition started I will remind you. After Dirty politics -A Newspaper stopped attributing information found and quotes taken directly from Whaleoil articles. It would instead say A Blog or A blogger in a deliberate attempt to obscure the true source of the quote or information.We returned the favour. Pete and others may well have stopped that tradition but I avoid using -A Newspaper articles and when I do I always get great satisfaction from calling them -A newspaper.

      • NahYeah

        Thanks, although I think that the term “newspaper” is a little too flattering.

      • johcar

        I still prefer the more descriptive “The Ferald” when referring to A Newpaper…

  • Second time around

    If Jane Kelsey is discussing her field of expertise as an agent of Auckland University, I would expect the Herald to use her honorific as Professor, because that is the weight with which she speaks. If she is just espousing her political views then no special respect is due and she is just plain Jane.

  • Brian Dingwall

    “The Herald understands…” means “we have no evidence for what we are about to write, so long as it fits our campaign we’ll get it from our keyboard”; “The commissioner told the Herald that…”.means “The commissioner said….”
    Appalling stuff

  • Edward Ellis

    Classic. Only The Muddled could be focused on whether to call people Mr when it has so many actual big problems to solve. Viz the quality of its content, the immaturity and ignorance of its reporters, its declining circulation, its garbage website, the collapse in respect of its public…


    NZH is just a hopeless disgrace, big international stories that break on CNN or Telegraph don’t feature on the Herald until that awful red banner saying ‘Breaking….’ starts to appear and interrupt the maori/poor/labour/fat people/criminal loving headlines

    • NahYeah

      More like Breaking Bad.

  • greendogg

    Nippert & Fisher will find a home at the default repository for failed “journalists” Radio NZ where they will achieve their true status of irrelevancy,

  • one for the road

    Dont worry, after the merger and all the roles are sorted out in a year or so, they will be back to their old antics!!

  • Akitio

    I think the best innovation would be to incorporate perforations.