Guest Post – Nonsense passed off as news

A guest post by Michael Edgar

What on earth can be going on at the New Zealand Herald? The genuine news is accompanied by some of the most mindless drivel this side of the black stump. Take these three headlines, all from the same issue: “The most common weight loss mistakes”; “How I found out dad was a killer”; “Grammy’s red carpet shockers”.  This is the sort of claptrap that now runs in what is still New Zealand’s leading newspaper.

Here is another intriguingly inane headline from the same issue: “Here is NZ’s most wanted newsreader outfit”.  The article that follows is about the clothes female newsreaders wear on TV and the customer demand they generate. It would seem that some viewers watch the news to see what the newsreader is wearing rather than to learn what is going on in the world. Then they rush out to buy the same clothes for themselves. The article makes no mention of the payment made to get the newsreaders wearing the clothes in the first place. How much money changes hands, and who gets it? Or is a payment made in-kind rather than in cash? The article doesn’t say.

As a member of the baby boomer generation, that is to say, the people who read newspapers for news and watch the TV news for news, I cannot grasp why the Herald publishes such inane non-news.  I notice that many if not most of the Herald’s writers are youngish women gazing from the paper’s pages, so perhaps they are writing this “women’s magazine” BS for their peers, people not given to reading newspapers.

Why does the Herald publish their tiresome maundering? If I were an NZ Herald shareholder or the person charged with turning around the Herald’s readership decline, I would be demanding answers from whoever authorises and/or gives the okay to this stuff.

Here are some more odd Herald headlines, still from the same issue: “Life is worse after winning jackpot” and “Best worst and weirdest of red carpet looks”.  Then there is this one: “Rick Hoffman calls Kiwis ‘creepily too cool’.” Rick Hoffman, it seems, is an American actor and I cannot figure out why an American actor should have his opinion published on the coolness or otherwise of New Zealanders. Being a kiwi myself, and being totally lacking in cool, I know he does not know what he is talking about.

Finally, how about this, another story from one of the Herald’s female writers: “Why I gave up Sky”. Is there anyone on planet Earth, apart from the writer’s mother, who gives a toss why she gave up her Sky subscription? Maybe the Herald’s self-aggrandising “media stars” honestly believe there are people outside their family who care if they watch Sky. Or even that they live to an old age and are not cut down in a hail of baby boomer bullets.

But perhaps some people do care: the dwindling crowd who still pay for hard copies of the 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.  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.