Photo of the Day

Liz Smith with Donald, Ivana and Ivanka Trump in 1987. Credit Tom Gates/Getty Images

Liz Smith

“The Grand Dame of Dish”

She was the most powerful gossip columnist in the 1980s. A tabloid celebrity herself, she could turn anyone into a star overnight. Celebrity culture would be nothing like it is today were it not for Liz Smith, known better as the Grand Dame of Gossip. For decades, her column was the only thing that mattered in showbiz and even today, at 94, she’s still writing about the comings and goings of the rich and famous.

From the time she began her first job at a New York City studio rag called Modern Screen, the renowned journalist has had a ringside seat for every celebrity story and scandal since World War II. Smith, a native Texan and graduate of the University of Texas, arrived in New York in 1949 with $50 to her name and no ticket home. Turns out she didn?t need one.

After working at some of the country?s top publications in various roles, Smith became a new kind of gossip columnist ? one known for wit, humour, extensive legwork and fairness.

Smith became a celebrity herself due to her syndicated gossip column, starting out by ghostwriting a gossip column for Hearst newspapers in the 1950s and landing her own self-titled gossip column at the New York Daily News in 1976.

At the peak of her career, she was syndicated in more than 75 newspapers worldwide, and she eventually went to the New York Post, which let her go in 2009 when she was 86 years old.

She opened up about what it was like to dismissed by Rupert Murdoch, which she said ?hurt my feelings and stature as a columnist.

?I was more shocked than anyone,? she said. ?I thought I was indispensable.?

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Another satirical magazine silenced by an extremist Islamist ? 467Search by image Cartoonist Renald Luzier is overcome with grief during a Press conference to launch the first issue ? 467Search by image
Cartoonist Renald Luzier is overcome with grief during a Press conference to launch the first issue of Charlie Hebdo after the terrorist attack that murdered all his fellow cartoonists

We all know how extremist Islamic terrorists ?silenced the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by slaughtering ?almost all of its cartoonists. ?For a short period of time the remaining cartoonist continued to bravely mock Islam but eventually the strain was too much and they made a public declaration that Islam would be the only religion that the magazine would not satirise.

In an Islamic country that the media have repeatedly ?held up as an example of moderate Islam, you would not expect a satirical magazine to be silenced. ?In Turkey ?however, in the wake of the failed coup by the army whose role is to keep ?mosque and state separate, that is exactly what has happened.

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Photo Of The Day

Beto Ortiz and Ruth Thal?a Sayas S?nchez on El Valor de la Verdad. LUKA GONZALEZ/ARCHIVOLATINO/REDUX.

Beto Ortiz and Ruth Thal?a Sayas S?nchez on El Valor de la Verdad. LUKA GONZALEZ/ARCHIVOLATINO/REDUX.

The Contestant

Ruth Thal?a, a teenager from the outskirts of Lima, Peru, became an overnight sensation on a hit television game show. Then, she disappeared.

The Peruvian version of the international television game show franchise The?Moment of Truth?arrived in Lima in mid-2012. By that time, the program had been produced in dozens of countries around the world, including the United States, where it aired on Fox in 2008 and 2009. In Peru, the show was called?El Valor de la Verdad?(?the value of the truth?), and the format was essentially the same as it had been everywhere else: A contestant is brought into the station and asked a set of questions, some banal, some uncomfortable, some bordering on cruel, all while hooked to a polygraph.

The answers are cataloged. Then, a few days later, the contestant is brought back to go through the questions once more, this time before a studio audience. The answers given are compared to the results of the polygraph, and for each truthful response, the contestant wins money. If she lies??or rather, if the polygraph says she lies??she loses it all. Naturally, the more money at stake, the more compromising the questions become. The contestant has the option of calling it off after each answer.

In Peru, the show?s host was Beto Ortiz, who in a recent national poll was named the country?s most powerful TV journalist. A balding, heavyset man in his mid-40s, Beto has long been one of the more successful and controversial figures in Peru. He is sharp, inquisitive, funny, and has gained millions of fans; the television critic Fernando Vivas, who writes for?El Comercio, Peru?s most influential newspaper, described Beto as ?a monster on the scene, with all the ambivalence implied by the word ?monster.??

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Mediaworks new head of news thinks “quality journalism should be left to die”

Yep, that’s what he said. The new head of news at Mediaworks, Hal Crawford, thinks that??quality journalism? should be left to die.

Ain’t Google grand?

When you come from digital, and your business is only digital, you get a different perspective. Old school newspaper newsrooms are massively wasteful. That prodigal staffing used to be matched by big revenue ? increasingly, it?s not, and that doesn?t worry me. I know you can still make money turning out news, and you can still employ journalists and you can still believe in telling the truth and a good story.

Online journalism isn?t squalid or shallow. It?s as good as the people who write it and the people who read it. And the link between those two groups is closer and stronger than ever before ? for a journalist, there is no hiding from the audience. Real time data tell you exactly how popular a story is, and to maximise your audience size you need to weed out stories that no one wants to read. This kind of brutal treatment can be hard for an old school journalist to take. ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo, by Irving Penn 1947.In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6'7" frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

Photo, by Irving Penn 1947.In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6’7″ frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

The Key to Arctic Survival

Improvised Implements of Excrement

In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6’7″ frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

Freuchen was an arctic explorer, journalist, author, and anthropologist. He participated in several arctic journeys (including a 1000-mile dogsled trip across Greenland), starred in an Oscar-winning film.

Freuchen?also wrote more than a dozen books (novels and nonfiction, including his Famous Book of the Eskimos), had a peg leg he lost his leg to frostbite in 1926.

He was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis before escaping to Sweden, and studied to be a doctor at university. His first wife was Inuit and his second was a Danish margarine heiress, he was also friends with Jean Harlow and Mae West, and once escaped from a blizzard shelter by cutting his way out of it with a knife fashioned from his own faeces.

A woman offered to bite off Peter Freuchen’s toes. He declined. Instead, he chopped them off with shears and a hammer.

These are not tall tales. These are not fake Chuck Norris facts. Peter Freuchen was not the Most Interesting Man in the World. He was a Jewish Danish Arctic explorer, who had to survive glacial Greenland winters. On one occasion, he had to keep wolves away from his makeshift igloo by… singing.

Freuchen did make it out (be it without a leg) and went to… Hollywood. There, a movie was made based on a book he wrote. That movie was the Oscar-winning “Eskimo”, starring the previously-profiled Ray Mala. Oh, and Freuchen had a part as well. He played the villain.

After that, it was back to Denmark, but World War II broke out. So Freuchen joined the Danish resistance, was captured by the Germans, but managed to escape to Sweden.

And, last but certainly not least, with the war over, Freuchen made it back to America, where… he won $64,000, one of the first winners of the famed game show, “The $64,000 Question.?

Alright, maybe Peter Freuchen was the?real?Most Interesting Man in the World.

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Photo Of The Day

Pamela Des Barres.

Pamela Des Barres.

I’m With The Band

?Confessions of a Groupie

David Bowie shouldn?t be shamed in death, Pamela Des Barres says: Groupies know what they?re doing. And she?former lover of Jimmy Page and Mick Jagger?should know. Pamela Des Barres?is one of the most famous groupies of the 1960s and 70s.

Having ruled Los Angeles?s groupie scene, Des Barres?scoffed at the?feminist outrage?over David Bowie?s tryst with another famous groupie, Lori Mattix, who was only 15 when Bowie allegedly deflowered her.

?It?s just ridiculous,? Des Barres, now 67?a super-groupie turned journalist and memoirist has said. ?Yes, she was a young girl. A lot of people think that?s wrong and let them, but this was a very specific time. Lori is 60 years old now and has no regrets or remorse. She?s told her story a million times before!?

Whenever someone famous and influential dies, particularly when that person is as influential as David Bowie, a schizophrenic cycle of mourning grips the Internet.? First come the shocked tweets and brief personal tributes. Then the thoughtful eulogies and remembrances by this famous person?s peers, mixed in with RIPs from people who didn?t know who he was before Facebook informed them that morning.

It?s often those in the latter category who then dig up dirt on the star, hell-bent on tearing down our cultural heroes the very day they pass away.

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Face of the day

Jacky Sutton

Jacky Sutton was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Today’s face of the day is a journalist who has died under suspicious circumstances. Given the Media blackouts being talked about on social media regarding the refugee crisis, the death of a high ranking journalist makes me wonder what she knew that an organisation wanted kept silent.

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And so we begin

Remember these words from Nicky Hager?

Investigative writer Nicky Hager said he kept some journalists out of the dirt in his latest book Dirty Politics in hope of a cleaner future.

In a small Wintec lecture theatre, Hager let student journalists pick his brain about investigative journalism and his book.

During the intimate Q and A, Hager talked about the Kiwi journalists named in his book.

“If you see a name of a journalist in the book, they are the ones I don’t think have done anything wrong, they’re just incidental to the story. Every journalist who had been taking stories in dodgy ways from David Farrar, one of the bloggers, or Cameron Slater or from the prime minister’s office, I actually left their names out. I decided not to do the journalists basically.

All apart from Rachel Glucina, who Hager described as “despicable”.

Although Hager highlighted the problem of media being played by Slater and others, he also said he understood the demands of the industry.

“I think that a whole lot of people had done things which were dodgy and wrong. In other words they knew that their prime minister’s office was feeding them information and you could get really easy stories.

“You were being used but it was giving you another headline in a job which is very busy and competitive, where people want to get stuff, so there’s a ton of horrible temptation to keep being an outlet for Cameron Slater and people.

The people I’m talking about are in the press gallery, senior journalists. Basically I didn’t want to humiliate them, I wanted to give them room to think again and do it differently. That was the reason. Because we’re a small country and there are only going to be the same senior journalists the year after and the year after that, so let them change their minds on it.”

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Karl du Fresne on Dirty Media

Karl du Fresne copped a flogging from bitter lefty twats on Twatter, but also from bitter lefty media in the Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page.

He has a blog so can respond in his own manner, and he does so bluntly.

As I fully expected, I came under attack yesterday from some of my fellow journalists over my criticism of Nicky Hager?s claim to be an investigative journalist.

The usual suspects were represented among the comments posted on the Kiwi Journalists? Association Facebook page. The sleazy socialist journalism academic Martin Hirst popped up like an unwelcome recurring pimple ? the first time I?ve encountered his odious presence since he left the Auckland University of Technology journalism school several years ago to return to his native Australia.

According to Hirst, I?m a tired old 19th century opinion machine who hasn?t been a journalist for years. Hirst wouldn?t have a clue about the work I still do as a reporter (work unrelated to my opinion columns), but ignorance has never been any impediment to people like him.

Hirst is a bitter old communist who rants against almost everything.

A former Radio New Zealand journalist named Colin Feslier had a go at me too. Feslier?s name will be listed in the annals of New Zealand journalism for one reason only. As a PR flunky at the Department of Internal Affairs in 2009, he misled the media about Winston Peters? failure to return a ministerial car after the election. And he made things worse by boasting in an email (wrongly, as it turned out) that he had managed to persuade TVNZ, TV3 and the Dominion Post to ?terminate their interest in the story?.

Sorry, but I?m not likely regard Feslier as an authority on anything to do with journalism. He revealed his dismal lack of understanding when he suggested that by my own definition of ?journalist?, I should have offered Hager a chance to respond to my comments about him. Apparently he fails to grasp the fundamental distinction between a piece of investigative journalism and an opinion column. Or perhaps he does get it, but it suits him to pretend not to.

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When is a leak not a leak?

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 4.47.33 PM

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 4.47.33 PM

My definition of a leak I think is far too narrow for New Zealand’s MSM.

The term ‘ Whistleblower ‘ is usually paired with the term ‘ leak ‘ and this is how I have defined it:

A leak is when someone who knows something illegal or unethical is happening gives confidential information to the Media in order to expose corruption or wrongdoing. A Whistleblower risks their job and jail ( if they hacked it ) for no financial gain, in order to get the truth out because they can see no other way to expose the wrongdoing.

The private and confidential Real Estate information taken by a Barfoot and Thompson staffer did not expose wrong doing or corruption. The information was stolen to give the Labour Party what they wanted to make a political hit. It is even possible that they solicited the information from the employee involved. The employee has now lost their job because of it. I wonder if the Labour Party will offer them a position?

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