A curious post at The Standard makes a number of suggestions for substantially changing the blog in order to become a major player in changing the Government.
Guest post: What now for the Standard?
A guest post by Ad where he advances some challenging thoughts on how the Standard could improve.
Does it strike you that one of NZ’s very few leftie institutions (either party or media) to come out of the 2014 election unscathed is The Standard itself? Let’s roll that little aniseed ball around our mouths for a moment.
Unscathed? I wonder how many potential voters The Standard encouraged to vote left versus deterred from voting left.
Television may still wield the sharpest media chainsaw in this rainforest, but the medium that will rebalance our entire political ecology is the one best suited to hand-held devices. A modern truism, with consequences for The Standard.
This sounds fanciful. Social media is changing how some people do politics but the vast majority of people can’t be bothered with politics most of the time and many still ignore politics and elections all the time.
The Standard is most powerful leftie instrument in New Zealand. No union now has as much power as The Standard (regrettably).
Overstating their power and influence a tad. Power within a blog is quite different to political power.
Less unsuccessful than The Daily Blog perhaps.
I suspect the Labour Party and the Green Party in particular would argue with “The Standard is most powerful leftie instrument”. Mana activists would too.
The Standard was a strong supporter of making David Cunliffe leader of Labour and was involved in the so-called coup attempt that failed. And they were powerless to prevent Cunliffe’s exit from the top job.
Their power didn’t seem to have much positive influence in the election. In comparison two leftie get out the vote campaigns actually at least tried to do something, as did a number of protest organisers.
So it would make sense to make it a vital part of the Labour post-election review.
It seems a bit late for that, the review must just about be complete.
The Standard is to Labour what Whaleoil is to National.
They are quite different, several party activists versus one self-interested campaigner. A number of people actively involved with the Labour Party are also actively involved at The Standard. Cameron Slater acts more independently with his own political and business ambitions.
I’m sure reading that feels like getting your legs waxed. Left and right and MSM can now see the power of blogs – what they have done and can do. This day was coming – it’s time.
The power of blogs tends to be overstated by some bloggers.
Continuing as is, however, the Standard will become to politics what TransportBlog is to transport: preaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted.
It is already p[reaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted, and actively ostracises and expels anyone deemed an enemy to the narrow conversational base of the converted.
And therefore changing nothing. The Standard must march its banner out of home, or remain a media adolescent.
I want to put it right out there: The Standard can take the next step in New Zealand’s political order, and it should.
I did not start it, and am not an editor, so my comments are highly presumptive. But here’s my points for the Wittenburg Door:
1. Article authors should have expertise. Qualified authors will then be broken into the MSM with immediate quotability and echo. The Standard need not presume to contain debate within its amateur and largely anonymous ranks. Named authors will confront MSM dominance head on and become new media figures. Then let all commenters pour in.
At least one current author is not very happy with being judged as inexpert enough, Bill: “But, but, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to preen and pose in the shadow of a glib and glossy piece of manufactured packaging? Ah -the glow of reflected sheen! Bring it on! (Then please. Pass the sick bucket over here.)”
2. The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world. Kill their own sites. Become the dominant portal for the future coalition. The Standard brings activists together like no other media in either digital or analogue worlds. That latent political potential now needs converting, I think with both Open and Members-Only sections. Not saying it will be easy.
I’d be very surprised if the Green Party would be keen on making The Standard their default online dialogue.
And I doubt Labour would either, unless they could control it, and we know how well that worked at Red Alert where they even banned Labour members.
The Standard represents just a part of the broad Labour base, and barely represents any of the Green base.
3. The Standard should broaden out its targets. Check out the Australian site Crikey. It tracks its own power against Murdoch on a monthly basis. It has earnt its own swagger by taking on causes, egos, and winning.
4. The Standard needs to be reformed as a company. It needs a Board and shareholders, an advertising base that gains corporate and NGO respect, and have ambition. Have its own weekly (hell daily) editorial committee that directs theme and positioning – like grownup media do. It should seek to at least become NZ Site Number 2.
NZ Site number 2? Dreaming. NZ blog number 2? Possible.
Why attempt this at all?
Not for its own sake, but because The Standard is the most powerful non-party leftie force in New Zealand. Neither Labour nor the Greens nor the Unions nor any leftie NGO can now live without it.
Because we’ve been bitching and moaning about how stuffed the entire leftie movement is for months now, when part of the answer is staring us in the face.
I suspect Labour and the Greens could live without the bitching and the moaning that’s been happening for much longer than a few months.
Because if we leave it as is, the default policy and political content on everyone’s devices this time next year will be Television Goddam New Zealand and the NZ Goddam Herald. They have massive marketing programs to achieve this.
With continued redesign, The Standard should be the default app for all leftie cellphone users.
That’s if they can cater for the wider left and not their own narrow interests – and not abuse and drive away anyone deemed not left enough as they do now.
And those identifying as ‘leftie’ are only a small segment of the voting population.
With redesign of its author system, The Standard can break more stories than Whaleoil.
They will have to find new authors who have the time and ability to do this. Unpaid?
With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.
That would make it a very different site.
Let’s use this site to help get from We Lost to We Can Win, by doing and altering media our way.
I believe The Standard can and should be the primary media voice for installing and then critiquing the next leftie government. But The Standard needs to accept its own power.
Political activist media.
It is time for The Standard to Put On The Ring.
The post seems to be supported and endorsed by blog management. Mickysavage:
I suggested to Ad that he should write a really provocative post on TS because we need to have a good discussion on things. Ad did this with bells on. He is a free independent thinker and also a committed progressive.
He put the ideas out there for us to consider. Address the ideas …
I’d point out that this post is just a guest post. It has been the subject of some backend comment and discussion between authors. We’re now throwing it out for commenter viewpoints. But think of it as a preliminary discussion paper from one angle…
So The Standard seems to want to seriously consider re-inventing itself.
‘The lost sheep’ commented on “freedom of comment and expression”:
TS is miles ahead of any other political blog in terms of the excellent format, constant updating of articles, and IMO.
If blogs are to become genuinely significant, TS has given itself as good a chance as any of being influential.
One thing I really enjoy about TS is the strength of the moderation.
I would never ever want to lose that.
+1 Tight moderation encourages better and deeper political and personal expression…it’s vital.
But lprent had already demonstrated how freedom of expression sometimes works at The Standard, ‘higher standard’ had commented:
And you call Whaleoil delusional ……………..
This got a standard moderator response:
[lprent: Where exactly did Ad call Whaleoil (a blog or even Cam Slater) delusional, or even use that word in a comment? I did a quick hunt without success. Banned 2 months unless you can come up with an instance. You either just attacked an author with a lie, or alternatively you just made a comment imbuing a machine with intelligence. Either get my irritation levels up. ]
An author (Bill) actually agreed with the comment that unleashed a typical lprent ban:
And in lieu of wasting more time responding to this tosh – what both Higherstandard and Pascal’s Bookie say at comments 6 and 7.
Seriously reinventing The Standard would need reinventing lprent’s moderation style. Freaks don’t give up their power easily.