I suspect media bosses get a lot of emails like this one

A former Fairfax subscriber tells a media boss exactly what they think:

Subject: Cancelled subscription
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:25:43 +1200
From: [REDACTED]
To: Victoria Guild <[email protected]>

Hello Victoria

I confess it’s  with considerable relief that  I’ve now cancelled  my subscription to the Nelson Mail.

It’s taken me a very long time to do this (and I still must follow up my complaint to the Press Council), but I felt at this stage that I had little choice.

It’s a shame to see how basically third-rate, non-objective and biased this newspaper has become – as have all in the Stuff stable, I understand,  from feedback all over the country.

I used to review for the Nelson Mail (as well as for the Christchurch Press, National Radio and so on) under a very good editor. We got on well – he was basically an historian, well-educated and fair-minded. We had some great discussions.

It was the same when I wrote as a columnist for the Dominion for seven years, under one of the old school newspapermen with an insistence on facts, correct language usage, and fair, independent commentary. (It was  a pleasure to be taken to lunch whenever I got to Wellington!) That the Stuff media chain, including the Nelson Mail, is now foisting off on the unfortunate public Joel Maxwell’s obsessive Maori triumphalist columns and ridiculous adolescent crudeness shows how little it understands what has been lost.

The change from quality newspaper writing to feel-good, think-bad, basically trashy print media is a great shame. This has certainly happened to  the Mail under your watch – although to be fair, it had already been sliding downhill. But it’s certainly accelerated with other under-educated journalists, consistently slanted “news”, and a barrage of utterly one-sided political cartoons – plus the rubbishy “The Little Things”. Worse has been the deliberate suppression of good, relevant letters when you or someone  on your editorial team doesn’t like them.

This has been one of the most important ways in which you have let down the reading public:  i.e. the inexcusable withholding of letters to the editor from  well-informed, very highly regarded correspondents who have presented facts which you have not allowed Nelsonians to access – even when it has been a question of correcting highly politicized assertions from those with an activist agenda.

When, in addition, the paper is padded out with trivial, unimportant, Women’s Weekly-type  reading – with much that is very important in the world today never presented – it’s time to call it a day.

We’re at the  stage where Malcolm Muggeridge’s warning about the degradation of the media comes to mind. Noting the downward spiral, this highly experienced  newspaperman  warned that with the increasing degree of ignorance and dearth of balance in commentary  – in short, the  lack of well-informed,  genuinely literate,  well-educated journalists and columnists – the impression would be that the adults had gone. As he foresaw, so many  pushing their own simplistic, know-all “thinking” would give the impression that the children were now running the show.

He was right, and this country is not well served by this deterioration in media standards – to which the Nelson Mail is very much contributing.  It’s a shame that this has happened to a once interesting and useful community newspaper.

I have no doubt that nothing I’ve said here will make any difference to the downward slide of the Stuff media, but do know that all over the country others agree – which is certainly contributing to the abandoning of the print media and the loss of subscriptions.

Sincerely

[REDACTED]


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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.

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