Cartoonists and when amateurs try broadcasting news

There’s a much wider range of people breaking news these days, or trying to. Trying to beat the crowd or beat up on the enemy a bit too hastily has risks.

On Wednesday at 1.12 pm Bryce Edwards tweeted:

Fairfax shocker: most cartoonists being sacked. Fairfax provincial papers to become uniform with 1 cartoonist.

The next morning at The Standard – Then they came for the cartoonists

Written By:   Date published:11:34 am, June 17th, 2015
Categories: cartoons, Media – Tags: , 

Kill off Campbell Live. Drive Mihingarangi Forbes out of Maori TV. Sack a bunch of sub-editors. Then they came for the cartoonists…

They displayed Edward’s tweet plus another:

The death-march to a ‘platform’ of ‘user generated-content’ and royal baby photos continues 

There are currently 58 comments on that thread, all rubbishing the current state of Fairfax and the media in general.

But The Standard, Mclauchlan and all the commenters seem to have failed to check the story further, and ioncluding failing to notice a continuation of Edwards’ twitter exchange.

?? Last changes to cartooning were last year and reflected a decision by editors to choose the best for readers.

Boucher is Executive Editor for Fairfax Media.

I’m going on what 2 reliable Fairfax insiders have told me today. But is saying the cartoonists are all safe

Last revision of cartoonists was a year ago and nothing current planned or being discussed.

So that was a clear denial of any changes to cartoonists from Fairfax’s Executive Editor and will have been noted by Edwards.

And also on Wednesday:

We’ve confirmed our new newsroom plans today. 159 roles to go and 174 new editorial jobs created. We’re hiring at ,

But Mclauchlan and in particular The Standard repeated the story anyway, the following day. And there’s no sign of any correction – they may still not know the story looks like being false.

The alternatives to old media aren’t filling the vacuum very well yet.

Bloggers rushing to reinforce their agendas with whatever pops up will probably never be a great replacement.

Fairfax ditches editors, moves more online

Fairfax media have announced changes that involve centralisation of editors and more emphasis on online interaction, moving further from print media and local input.

Non-Fairfax journalists are not very complimentary.

Everything about this decision is fucked in the head

Agreed. It started with subbing hubs and has got progressively worse.

Feels like a new low…replacing journalism, news, writing with “digital”. Ugh!

And that Stuff nation gets staffing ahead of the sort of journalism that used to define a masthead

Predict that within 12 months their NZ operation will be reduced to 3 people writing clickbait headlines.

NBR explain the changes in Fairfax Media rolls out new newsroom model:

Fairfax Media New Zealand is rolling out a new model for its newsrooms nationwide and regional newspaper editors are disappearing in favour of regional editorial managers based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Fairfax Media says it will have larger teams working on video, social media and the Stuff Nation website, which asks readers to contribute stories.

“We’re investing in our people and systems to reinvigorate our newsrooms, strengthening our ability to deliver news and information,” Sinead Boucher, Fairfax Media’s executive editor, said in a statement.

Journalists will package their stories with video, images and links to encourage interaction with readers in an editorial and production process that will be driven first by the needs of digital platforms rather than traditional printed products.

So interaction will take precedence over journalistic quality?

Seven jobs are being disestablished and 12 new senior roles are being created, focusing on audiences in local regions or in specialist content areas.

The restructuring involves a reshuffle of senior managers, according to industry sources. The role of newspaper editor has been slowly disappearing and three editorial managers work below Ms Boucher, one for the Auckland region, one for Wellington and one for Christchurch. These direct reports to Ms Boucher are former newspaper editors who now have a wider regional role.

The roles disappearing are expected to be editors in smaller regional centres.

Television ‘news’ overage in the regions has already been severely downgraded by centralisation (or Aucklandisation). Fairfax are downgrading their regional offices, inevitably downgrading their regional news news and minimising editorial input.

Under the newsroom changes journalists will edit each other’s stories.

Why bother? The PR hacks edit their stories before handing them over to journalists.

Fairfax Media has two national, nine daily and more than 60 community newspapers, 25 plus magazines, and publishes the websites Stuff and Essential Mums.

Three editors for all of that?

Kudos for Beehive Live

It won’t be Stuff’s most popular page but kudos to their Parliamentary blog Beehive Live. It provides a good insight into what is happening at Parliament. It started late last year but has been refined, now only running on sitting days.

Yesterday – Beehive Live: TPP on the agenda

It’s the last sitting day – and last question time – of the week.

There are a couple more select committees on this morning, with oral submissions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement at the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

Tune in here for live updates, newsbites and occasional weirdness, which can only be found in the halls of Parliament.

It provides an informall journal of key happenings in select committees and in the House on sitting days (I hope they run it on other days of particular political interest).

A number of Fairfax journalists contribute but the yoounger ones are more engaged, particularly Stacey Kirk and Aimee Gulliver.

They’re providing something interesting and worthwhile for political junkies and those who might be curious about Parliamentary process.

I think it’s good anyway.

Fairfax rates Key generously

Fairfax has rated twenty seven MPs in Front bench report 2014’s winners and losers.

I think John Key’s rating is generous.

John Key: 8.5/10 Secured a sweeping third victory in the teeth of the Dirty Politics allegations and still the party’s most important asset. But has been in danger of breaching his own directive against arrogance, by ducking questions and defending his conversations with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater. Feels perverse to ask after such a big win, but is the gloss starting to wear off?

The “sweeping third victory” probably had more to do with a backlash against Kim Dotcom than Key’s performance, which has been patchy and at times poor.

National have been steady under English’s financial management (at least as much as an asset as Key) rather than outstanding.

While I agree with Key’s flagship policy – we should have a chance to decide if we want to retain or change our flag – it’s hardly a major legacy type policy.

Key has to lift his performance and lift his ambitions if he’s to rate more than “was popular and did ok apart from some crap”.

I’d rate him 6/12 for this year’s lumpy effort, with definite room for improvement.

More on Norman versus Trans Tasman and Fairfax

Russel Norman had a hissy at Fairfax yesterday for publishing Trans Tasman MP ratings, especially of Cath Delahunty. See Russel Norman versus Trans Tasman.

David Farrar also comments on this in Norman attacking the media:

So we have a party leader publicly berating a journalist because the journalist wrote a story on the ratings. Really? Isn’t this what a certain other party leader used to do in the 1970s? As for the smearing of Trans-Tasman as “far right” (a term used in Europe to describe neo-nazis), that’s idiotic. Certainly it is a business publication and like the NBR has an editorial tone that is pro-business. But it is no more “far right” than Radio NZ is “far left”.

There are lots of ratings different people will have different views on. You would expect a party leader to say he disagrees with the ratings for his MPs. But to smear the newsletter as “far right” and berate a Fairfax journalist for daring to do a story on it is a form of bullying.

Attempted bullying.

Now he is hysterically claiming the newsletter “hates” his MP” because she is so effective, and is instructing the journalist to print his words.

But this isn’t so much about the rankings, but Norman’s behaviour. In the last two weeks we’ve had:

  • Norman lambasting a journalist for writing a story he didn’t like and demanding he print his views on his own MPs
  • Norman smearing a media newsletter as “far right”
  • Norman barging past the PM doing a media stand up and shrieking “Resign” at him
  • Norman using the 2014 post election review conference to effectively blame the SIS for the left losing the 2011 election

I should’t give free advice, but I think such behaviour is a big turn off. It’s an ugly look. He could have made a case for the Trans-Tasman ratings being too harsh on some of his MPs, without doing it as an attack on the media.

The pressure of a hard three years followed by a frustrating election campaign are taking a toll.

The next two lowest ranked Greens were men.

Steffan Browning 2.5
David Clendon 3.0 (equal with Jan Logie)

That seems reasonably gender balanced – not that gender should figure in performance ratings.

Norman didn’t complain about both him and Kevin Hague being rated higher than Metiria Turei.

And it’s not just Norman.

Danyl expanded on the Green attack at Dim Post.

Stuff has a cut’npaste story up on the TransTasman newsletter’s annual rankings of MPs, a yearly ritual in which a bunch of elderly right-wing journalists pour praise on their favorite right-wing politicians and scorn on their most despised left-wing enemies. Whatever.

But what struck me reading through the rankings is that there seemed like a big difference in scores between male and female MPs irrespective of any left-wing/right wing bias. Even female National MPs I rated quite highly were ranked lower than totally undistinguished male Nats. And it’s even worse for Maori, who all seem arbitrarily low regardless of party, or how well they perform.

The data breaks down like this: Average score for a Male Pakeha MP in the Transtasman ranking is 5.4. Males overall have an average ranking of 5.1. Pakeha overall average 5.1. Maori are way lower than Pakeha with average rankings of 4.6. Female MPs are way lower with an average ranking of 4.4. If you compile the rankings for Labour and the Greens, the men get an average ranking of 5.2, but the women are dragging them down with an average ranking of 4.4.

Here’s a list of the TransTasman writers. I’m informed that the sole contributors are the authors listed at the bottom of the report. You might not be shocked to learn that they are all white men. But what that means is that TransTasman’s inequality in their rankings and staggering bias towards Pakeha males has nothing to do with identity politics. See, identity politics is just something the left does to privilege women or Maori.

It’s a form of political correctness gone mad in which people value gender or ethnicity over actual merit, but when white guys get privileged, or when we coincidentally overwhelmingly favor other members of our race and gender that’s definitely nothing to do with identity politics. Or racism or misogyny. It’s always just because we all deserve it. Shame on you for doubting the analysis of the impartial, objective white guys at TransTasman!

He sounds as frustrated and bitter as Norman. As do some of the ranks at Dim-Post.

They can’t just disagree and offer their own ratings. Instead they attack the messengers.

If Fairfax took Norman’s advise and didn’t publish anything that could be seen as politically leaning then Green PR would be at least as verboten as Trans Tasman.

More bad poll news for Labour

The July Fairfax/IPSOS is out this morning and while it has a slight improvement for Labour they are only up to 24.9%.

There are some variations to the Roy Morgan moll that came out yesterday.

  • National 54.8% (down 1.7, Roy Morgan 51)
  • Labour 24.9% (up 1.7, Roy Morgan 23.5)
  • Greens 12.4% (up 0.5, Roy Morgan 15.0)
  • NZ First 2.6% (down 0.6, Roy Morgan 6.0)
  • Conservative 1.3% (up 0.4, Roy Morgan 1.0)
  • Mana 1.2% (no change, Roy Morgan Internet-Mana 1.5)
  • Maori Party 0.9% (up 0.2, Roy Morgan 1.0)
  • United Future 0.2% (up 0.2, Roy Morgan 0.5)
  • ACT 0.1% (down 0.6, Roy Morgan 0.5)

Tracey Watkins comments on the poll in Could National lose the unloseable?

The number of National voters contacted by our pollsters has not markedly changed since our last poll in June – the real movement is among Labour-leaning voters, who appear to have become a highly volatile bunch at this point in the electoral cycle.

And in the Stuff poll report National holds on to huge lead:

Today’s poll, which follows Labour’s recent election-year congress and a series of targeted announcements on education policy, shows more decided voters, with Labour clearly benefiting from the change.

But 15.3 per cent of voters still don’t know who they will vote for.

Analysis of other polls has indicated similar patterns of stable support for National and volatile support for Labour. Much may depend on whether support firms up for Labour in the poll that matters or if it deserts them.

And much may also depend on late swings to small parties, which can be a lottery for opportunists. There’s a big difference in results for NZ First and a notable difference for Greens between these two polls.


Click here for full graphics.

Roy Morgan results.

Fairfax/IPSOS – National 56, Labour 23

A very grim Fairfax IPSOS poll result for Labour:

– National 56.5% (+8.9)
– Labour 23.2% (-6.2)
– Greens 11.9% (-0.8)
– NZ First 3.2% (-0.5)
– Mana 1.2% (+0/7)
– Conservative 0.9% (-0.7)
– Maori Party 0.7% (-1.2)
– Act 0.7% (-0.2)
– United Future 0% (-0.1)

Internet-MANA combined – 2.1%

This sort of extreme poll result would normally be expected to come back into line later but polling was complete before yesterday’s news on Cunliffe and Liu.

National won’t be expecting to stay that high through to the election but Labour will be getting very worried.

Fairfax/IPSOS poll demoralising for Labour

The May 2014 Fairfax/IPSOS poll must be demoralising for Labour. Theoretically National should be suffering but they have only dropped a little to 47.6% but Labour have dropped 2.3 to 29.5% in a continung trend downwards.

  • National 47.6% (-1.8)
  • Labour 29.5% (-2.3)
  • Greens 12.7% (+2.7)
  • NZ First 3.7% (+0.1)
  • Maori Party 1.9% (+0.8)
  • Conservative Party 1.6% (-0.4)
  • ACT Party 0.9% (+0.3)
  • Mana Party 0.5% (+0.2)
  • United Future 0.1% (no change)

Labour should also be concerned about David Cunliffe’s drop in Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 48.6% (-1.0)
  • David Cunliffe 13.4% (-3.9)
  • Winston Peters 3.4% (+0.6)
  • Russel Norman 1.8% (+0.2)
  • Metiria Turei 0.3% (-0.8)

The poll was conducted between May 10 and May 12, surveying 1011 people by telephone. It has a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent. Percentages are based on the 826 decided voters who intend to vote. Those who are undecided or do not intend to vote are excluded.

Fairfax IPSOS Party poll results

Stuff: National-has-no-need-to-pull-rabbits-out-of-hat

Mixed poll responses on replacing the NZ flag

Fairfax/IPSOS included a question on replacing the New Zealand flag in their poll released over the weekend.

  • Don’t want change – 38.6%
  • Replace with Silver Fern – 18%
  • Replace with something else – 23.7%
  • Not bothered either way – 19%

Stuff report in Low support for keeping flag:

Surprisingly, the poll shows the strongest support for the current flag from those aged under 30 (47.2 per cent). The mood for a change was highest in the 45-64 age bracket.

That age preference curious. Will we get the choice? That’s only a maybe.

Key said the result was a strong starting point, with a narrow majority even before a campaign had begun. “My instinct would be that more coverage would more strongly make the case for change. I take a lot of heart from the poll.”

Most political leaders have supported a debate about the flag and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae also said it was time to look at choosing a fresh flag.

Cabinet is expected to decide soon on whether to go ahead with a referendum on the flag; a possible two-step process that would gauge the mood for change and then pick a favourite in a run-off.

“Whether we push the go button and how it works are the things we are talking about,” Key said.

One thing potentially against change is that many of those favouring a change of flag don’t see it as a high priority issue, while a minority will always be against any change. Uncluding…

The RSA has been among the most vigorous defenders of the status quo.

When a change was mooted its president, Don McIver, said a large majority of his members would not want a change. “It has a significant emotional hold on our membership.”

That is despite the silver fern being a significant symbol of our military for over a hundred years – see Silver fern is NZ history. and Silver fern emblem used in Boer War.

While the silver fern is New Zealand’s most identifying emblem some people aren’t happy having a black flag, and many would like to see the Southern Cross stars retained. One of the most popular alternatives mixes most features that people want is the Kyle Lockwood design:

Kyle Lockwood flag

Fairfax exclude small parties from poll results

Fairfax released their latest IPSOS poll on Saturday. How did the small parties fare? It’s been difficult to find out.

If you go to Stuff’s See the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll you’ll find detailed breakdowns of support for National, Labour, Greens and NZ First, but nothing at all for other parties (apart from a mention in the projected make up of Parliament.

I did manage to find a mention of all parties in a non-Fairfax report, so they must have shared the results.

So I’ve included all parties here: Fairfax/IPSOS poll good for National.

But in what appears to be the main Stuff coverage of the poll – National on wave of optimism – poll – the Conservative and Internet Parties get a mention (neither are currently in Parliament and the Internet Party isn’t official yet and Kim DotCom has promised to self-destruct it if as expected it fails to poll above 5%) . But there is nothing for Maori Party, Mana Party, ACT and UnitedFuture.

I tweeted my disappointment on the exclusion of over have the parties:

@dpfdpf @tracy_watkins @avancenz @VernonSmall @michaelfoxnz Very poor not publishing full party results.

One of them responded:

Not poor. Party vote breakdown in the paper and on Stuff. Where were you looking?

I didn’t see the print version, but I’ve searched Stuff and can’t find it. I asked Tracey:

I’ve looked on Stuff in all the references to the poll I can find. Can you give me a link?

I didn’t get a reply to that.

The small parties don’t get much support in polls, including this one, and this won’t be helped when major media exclude them. The Fairfax poll coverage favours the large parties and larger small parties.

UPDATE: an Australian tweet with a link to an Australian news site has the full results.

Roy Morgan@roymorganonline

NZ PM’s National could govern alone: poll  via @newscomauHQ



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