That's the place! The Swan and Dolphin... really quite hideous. Surreal from memory (mostly blacked out now).
It was always entirely up to us as reporters to find a good story. There was never any pressure on me to come back with something friendly about the company who paid - quite the opposite. I suspect several editors (myself included when it was my turn) took great delight in finding serious dirt on a company that had shelled out in that respect.
One particularly awful trip included flying halfway round the planet for an announcement about a major contract that, it turned out, hadn't actually been signed. We all (roughly 400 journos from around the world) sat in the auditorium and asked awkward questions of the CEO about the deal he couldn't announce and his recently woeful quarterly figures. He resigned not long after.
And that does tend to imply that some sort of editorial influence may have been exerted or that your opinions may be coloured. I think it’s better without that to be honest. Assuming that the person in question has integrity.
Oh I disagree. It’s worse to hide that. If Publication A gets sent to LA biz class, wined and dined and given access to a CEO on an exclusive basis then that needs to be disclaimed and all too often is not.
I got treated exceptionally well on almost all my trips overseas and that certainly coloured my view of the things that went on. I felt uncomfortable enough accepting these things with the disclaimer – if I’d hidden that from readers then I’d have had no choice but to turn down the trips and so miss out on the good bits (the access to people who don’t generally front up to Kiwi IT journos) as well as the buttering up.
The audience needs to know if you’ve been influenced – I trust them to make up their minds as to whether or not they can trust my copy.
The whole question of paying (or giving something away free in return for a review etc) is not new and something journalists have juggled over the years in many guises.
As an IT reporter I got to travel all over the world to numerous events. Generally speaking these were described as junkets and I can hear your heart bleeding from here at the deprivation of having to go to Sydney, Stockholm or Disney World (actually that last one was particularly strange) in order to attend some event or other.
But the serious side to it is simple – they (the vendors) buy your time but don’t buy your copy. They can’t decide what you should/should not write and often times are unimpressed with the results of their spend.
I remember one colleague being flown to some event in Beijing, I think, only to file one story based on an interview given on the last day with an analyst who completely refuted the company’s statements on productivity gains – that was the story of the conference.
If they’re paying directly and have editorial control over the content of the tweets/posts/whatever then it’s an ad. If it’s an offer of a trial unit/device/product/service/whatever with limited or no control over the final copy then it’s not.
As a note – we used to ensure we put a “Brislen travelled to Fantasy Land courtesy of Giant Conglomerate Corporation” disclaimers on every such story – that’s should go without saying but not all newspapers or TV networks are so up front about it.
I must say I was quite staggered when he declared he'd had his knife taken off him. I travel weekly and carry a Swiss Army knife and have long since learned to chuck it in the grey tub alongside my phone and iPad when I go in. The blade gets measured and is let through without any problem.
So what on earth was he carrying? Presumably some kind of locking/hunting knife?
I know it's a minor point in a turgid story but he does seem a tad unhinged.
Lovely piece that helps frame up how far we've come (and how far we've left yet to go). Thanks for that.
sadly the one-lane road from Dev to everywhere else precludes any hope of doing that. I dropped someone at the ferry once after a meeting at my office - took us nearly an hour to get to Dev from Takapuna. One way.
We have all this water, why aren't we using it to move people about I wonder.
I don't think Aucklanders want to drive in their cars any more than any other city dwellers... far from it. But the lack of choice is incredibly limited. Trains cover part of the city, buses get squeezed out - bicycles are fine but my ride of choice (scooter) just became too dangerous over the years and having been killed three times I refuse to go on the motorway on one at all, which meant I had no alternative but to buy a car.
I've got a photo of Auckland taken in the 1930s showing untold ferries arriving and leaving from the CBD - today we're lucky if we have more than a handful and typically they're aimed at tourists or the islands. I was stunned to learn I couldn't get a ferry to Takapuna and the only choice for me was to drive over the bridge.
Give us some [safe] alternatives and we're likely to take them up.
You'll be Ng'ing regretting this, mark my words.
Levesentimental. Looking back to an era when journalists were trusted to bring us the truth not car crash porn.
BOB IS AWESOME can he come round and help at our place? What do you charge him out at?