Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election,

    Just watched some of the Newstalk ZB leaders' breakfast stream. Key gave a long, lucid answer to Hosking's questions about how the votes will fall in the Maori electorates and elsewhere. He's really not stupid and he's very good at weighing the odds.

    The contrast between that and the evasions and recitations he makes under pressure really is very striking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election, in reply to andin,

    Wrong again, Jack Sparrow. Your not too clever are you.

    Give it a rest, please. Address each other's arguments rather than calling each other stupid.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Danielle,

    ETA It occurs to me that the stated advertorials are “actual money to buy a page of advertising that looks like an article” and the mascara reviews are “using people employed by magazines to promote your product by giving them supplies of free stuff”, so there is obviously a difference. But to me it’s a bit of a whiffy one.

    The lines are getting very blurred in the era of “native advertising”, where advertising is designed to look and feel like as much like editorial content as possible. I’ve been pitched “native advertising” which isn’t so much inappropriate as idiotic. Literally “when an airline has excess inventory in tickets to Fiji, we send you something to run about how awesome going to Fiji for a holiday is.”

    One of the reasons that’s popular is that we’re all kind of switching off advertising now. It’s no accident that PR campaigns are commonly accounted to the client in terms of equivalent TV minutes – ie, that value of that time as paid advertising.

    Otoh, I don’t have a problem with clearly-signalled sponsored posts from organisations looking for a conversation, as we’ve done for the Law Commission and NZTA. It’s not all one thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    With all due respect, Russell, I think there’s everything wrong about it because it erodes the distinction between editorial and advertising. If you’re treating some consumer product as a news story, then I think “lay viewers” shouldn’t have to be media hep cats about where the story is coming from.

    No, it doesn't, largely because there has to be a story in it and producers and editors can still say no, which they do 95% of the time. But if someone's made a world-beating widget, then maybe there's a story in it. And the product isn't necessarily an object -- it might be a concert that the promoter needs to sell tickets to, some other kind of event, or new research that the University of Auckland wants to brag about. They all end up on Seven Sharp or whatever because someone pitched them.

    That said, there was, a few years ago, a rather dark period for Campbell Live where it wasn't unknown for all three stories in one show to be pretty much transparent (and often unresearched) PR plugs. That got depressing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Oh, and for the record, that’s why I don’t like him as PM.

    That, and the DM I got from him yesterday

    The what now?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to simon g,

    So, there’s a story on the TV news. People in the know will say “of course that must have started with a press release, and the reporter was simply invited along”. But people eating their dinner or shouting at the kids or otherwise in normal news-watching mode … well, we don’t know. And we aren’t told.

    Consumer PR companies pretty much hammer the producers of the 7pm shows every day with pitches for stories on products, events, ideas. There's nothing in particular wrong with that -- apart from the fact that lay viewers don't know how the stories came to be there. When you're trying to tell the world about your thing, it makes sense to pay for someone with the skills to do the telling.

    But even non-consumer "news" is quite frequently driven by press releases and I think there's more of a problem there.

    Especially where there isn't a press release: see the non-story about Mojo Mathers using (gasp!) transport to get to a community radio station speaking directly to her constituency in the disability community.

    Exhibit one: The March 2 Herald on Sunday story that opens with the magnificently passive-voiced words "Questions are being asked ..." and goes on to quote Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers' Union about what an outrage it all is.

    The same morning, Whaleoil piles in.

    When people note the whiff of Taxpayer's Union about it all, Jordan Williams writes a "who, me?" post and denies feeding the story.

    In the end, no one can work out where the story came from or why the hell it's even a story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Sacha,

    Apparently she did speak against restrictions on prospecting and mining at some stage in the show.

    Really? That does change things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Anna Connell,

    Many of us, including PRs, spokespeople and journalists are paid, in our day jobs, to carefully manage our communications. I don’t think it precludes us from having a voice. If there’s a transactional relationship, this should be disclosed but I think it’s dangerous territory to imply jobs should over ride people’s right to be politically engaged. Ultimately everyone’s got a barrow to push.

    Yes, I think we’re talking about the wrong thing here. I’d be looking at the undeclared interests of one or two guests on The Panel, or Charles Finny “reviewing” Dirty Politics as a lobbyist closely connected with the networks the book is about. Or, of course, a crapload of what’s actually in the book and in subsequent reporting – especially the appearance that law enforcement agencies were undermined in a paid campaign on Mark Hotchin’s behalf.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Deborah Pead, under her own Twitter handle, rather than PeadPR doing a very nice round of spin

    Eh, pretty sure that’s just what she really thinks.

    Yeah, it is. She's not being paid to say it and has as much right as anyone else to share her opinions.

    BTW, I deleted Sara's original comment at Sara's request, although it does make the thread look a bit confusing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    By not being seen to simply wanting to impose an ideology, Key has promoted a winning empathy with a public weary of hidden or partly-hidden agendas.

    With Key, what you see is mostly what you get….a Prime Minister whose narrative is as clear-minded and open as it was when he was a highly-successful businessman.

    His task is to get things done.

    Yes, the non-politician politician. That has worked very well for him, no doubt.

    Along the way he has shown the common touch which comes from his state-house background.

    There’s quite a degree of myth-making around this. I went to school with Key and I know the suburb he grew up in (and lived for several years in a state house) – it’s a fairly wealthy suburb pepper-potted with good-quality older public housing and, more importantly, is adjacent to once of the best state schools in the country, Burnside High. It’s not as if he made his way up the ladder in Otara or Porirua.

    I think the first time I was really appalled by Key was when he was in Opposition and dismissed a plan to incorporate public housing into the redevelopment of the Hobsonville air base land as “economic vandalism”. It was exactly the philosophy that gave him his start in life and all he seemed to care about was the property values of the relatively wealthy.

    He’s still at it: his crack during the Christchrch debate about how the poor should bear some"personal responsibility” for living in unhealthy state houses might actually be the nastiest thing that’s been said in this election camapign. It was just vile.

    I also happen to be friends with Jon Stephenson, who was subject to some disgraceful ad hominem smears from Key when he reported things the government didn’t want people to know about. Yes, Clark used to do that, but i think you need to go back to Muldoon for a PM who so constantly responds to being challenged like this. And nothing about Jon's reporting has been disproved.

    Despite his detractors claims and imaginary machinations, John Key has yet to be proved to be anywhere near as culpable of the duplicity and dark dealings that they would have us believe.

    To any reasonable observer, his account of matters that are his direct responsibility around the GCSB and the SIS release are unsatisfactory and frequently contradictory. I also do not share your confidence that he was innocent of any and all of Slater’s unpleasant activities.

    And any commission that concentrates on the dirty politics stuff in particular and history in general will establish that innocence I believe.

    Well, let’s be having the Royal Commission and establish that, then.

    Key’s most notable achievements are seen in the delicate guidance he imposed through the global financial meltdown along with Bill English… and the positive impact he has had on foreign shores including China.

    I thought the comments from some of the CEOs in the Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom survey were interesting. He was seen as polishing his image while English did the hard work, and as lacking in long-term vision.

    I might not agree with everything English says or does, but I regard him as a decent and principled man. I honestly can’t muster the same feelings about Key.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18837 posts Report Reply

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