Don Rowe interviews respected journo Martin van Beynen

via Stuff

Martin is being interviewed about his journalism surrounding the David Bain case

Q: I noticed when I Googled your name that the first few results which come up are Kiwiblog and Whale Oil endorsing some of the more inflammatory columns that you’ve written in the past few years. How do you explain the difference between that sort of stuff and this seriously in-depth and rigorous journalism? And which do you prefer?

A: Right so I’ve been a columnist now for 14 years, and I’ve written a couple of columns which take a stand on certain issues and have created a bit of a fuss, but there aren’t that many. I think most of my columns are pretty thoughtful, nuanced and even commonsense sort of columns. Occasionally I’ve written a few provocative columns and I don’t apologise for that – it’s only if you don’t make a stand that you’ll never make any enemies. I don’t endorse anything Whale Oil has done, I didn’t know Kiwiblog had endorsed me, I don’t go looking for it, but I think even my columns on child poverty are pretty mainstream stuff really. But I try and be equally unfair to everybody. I suppose the bleeding heart handwringers do attract my attention now and again, I do give them a serve, but you can’t do columns for 14 years without upsetting people.

I’ve enjoyed writing columns but it’s a good question whether a journalist’s credibility is damaged by their column writing, and I haven’t really resolved that yet. I sometimes think it does actually. Sometimes I think I probably don’t need that sort of branding, but on the other hand it’s been a great help in my journalism because people recognise me and they feel as though I’m part of the furniture I guess. I’m recognisable and it can often get me in the door because people know of me, even just through my columns. And I guess maybe some people don’t talk to me because of them too. But I don’t think they’re that far off. If you look at the hundreds of columns I’ve done over the years you’ll see patterns emerging, but there are enough bleeding heart leftie columnists around New Zealand without me joining them. I know you guys have had a crack at me, I know Alex had a wee go, and that’s fine. If you put yourself out there you have to expect a reaction and I’ve had some horrible reactions but you expect that, and it’s better to be talked about than not if you’re going to be a columnist.

Nice to be talked about, except when I do it.  Got it.   Must make waves sometimes, except when I do it.  Got it.  And you can’t do good work without making enemies.  Except when I do it.  Got it.

Some people really need to get over this “Whaleoil” thing and have the courage of their own opinions.


– Don Rowe, thespinoff

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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.