Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who owns the news?

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  • Sacha,

    Meanwhile, Rachel Glucina gets a citation

    In an academic report? Joking, surely.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    I'm be really interested to understand how ownership models impact on editorial decision-making. I know there are a lot of people here, not least Russell, who know a lot about the working of newsrooms, but it's quite foreign to me. How does a story get into print/on screen? And what does squeezing editorial resources actually mean? I realise these are really basic questions to a lot reading/writing here, so I appreciate your forebearance.

    Orcland • Since Dec 2007 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    My impression is that 'editorial resources' aren't particularly squeezed. Both big newspapers seem to have loads of editors, deputy editors, web editors, news editors etc. It's the actual journalists that are thin on the ground.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I did intend "editorial resources" to include the newsrooms -- which have shrunk alarmingly -- but you do have a point. There are fewer reporters, more people engaged in churnalism.

    There are also fewer sub-editors -- whose jobs have been outsourced to central hubs in both chains. The loss of local sub-editing is an issue on which the JMAD report should have had a lot more to say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It finds that three major players – APN, Fairfax and MediaWorks – now own more than 80% of New Zealand media.

    And from the paper:

    Four companies, all overseas owned, dominate the New Zealand news media.

    I'm surprised they've not heard of TVNZ.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I'm surprised they've not heard of TVNZ.

    I've not read the report, but do they start by excluding publicly owned media and is this primarily focused on print? I don't know about others, but the media I consume is a broad mix of print, radio and online and equally a mix of on- and off-shore sourced. I seldom watch live TV and almost never for the news. I'll find time to look at the report but my initial reaction was to wonder why focus on ownership in a specific geographical market?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I’m surprised they’ve not heard of TVNZ.

    They have, clearly, but given that nearly the whole of the newspaper market is owned by APN and Fairfax, and nearly the whole of the radio market is owned by TRN (also part-owned by APN) and Mediaworks, and Mediaworks has a substantial chunk of the TV news market … they do have a point.

    I’m inclined to think that the problem is less foreign ownership than an alarming lack of diversity of ownership. The only sector where independent companies have a decent presence is in magazines, where some local companies, like Tangible Media, have been more nimble than the big guys. But even there, most of the market is with NZ Magazines (APN), ACP and Fairfax, and that’s consolidating further.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    an alarming lack of diversity of ownership

    Is that a consequence of changes in the underlying business model and economic context across all broadcast media? If so, how are other nations responding to the same trend?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m inclined to think that the problem is less foreign ownership than an alarming lack of diversity of ownership.

    Or to put it succinctly, cartellisation.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3907 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I fear I'm being a pollyanna, but don't we all expect the current business model to rapidly collapse. AFAIK, the NY Times has a successful paywall, but are there many others? With broadcasters losing unquantifiable $$ from torrents too, I'm anticipating a business model where I can pay a fee and access any/all publishers of any content accessible online and through whatever device I prefer.

    In which case, I'd likely buy content from ABC (Aust), BBC, RNZ and HBO plus a full PA feed, access to the All Blacks and Blackcaps site and totally ignore TVNZ and any/all newspapers.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I’m anticipating a business model where I can pay a fee and access any/all publishers of any content accessible online and through whatever device I prefer.

    The structural resistance to this in the TV industry is very significant. The whole business is territorial, and it sort of works.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Does it work? I guess it does to the extent that I'm not yet prepared to go totally rogue and give up Foxtel and simply torrent the sport I watch live... it's only live sport that's keeping me with Foxtel and I do question the comparative value of extending my ISP agreement with maintaining my current subscription.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Myllylahti hinted at an agenda in this comment on Clare Curran’s blog.

    This would be the same blog where Trevor Mallard did whatever the hell he does - not really holding my breath waiting for value adding media commentary from that quarter.

    ETA: And should someone make the Herald print a disclosure along these lines atop every column Drinnan writes: "Don't hold your breath waiting for any reportage of the proprietors of this newspaper, while running egregiously inaccurate trash-talk about its competitors"?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • insider,

    Just read the report in about 10mins - it is that lightweight. Just because it is written by an academic doesn't make it of academic standard - using Facebook likes as a measure of trending public concern about ownership was just one "oh FFS" moment.

    For a self described "New Zealand Media Ownership Report" there is precious little on ownership and its effect. There are a couple of small tables on the top shareholdings in the main media companies but nothing on how that has changed, who those people might be - apart from calling one person who owns 1.5% of Fairfax a media 'mogul' (whatever that might be). There is no consideration of ownership and viewership - Ironbridge may 'own' mediaworks but how's it doing vs TVNZ say in the ratings?

    If you want questions Russell, I'd ask her what she thinks this report has added in terms of knowledge of NZ media and why? I'd also ask what does it matter who owns these things, isn't it what we see and hear that is most important?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The whole business is territorial, and it sort of works

    Works for who though? The media companies, perhaps. Aren't we seeing the regional thing break down with instant global online news alternatives and even TV entertainment programming being forced to reduce lag between territories?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Works for who though? The media companies, perhaps.

    Production companies too. For all the talk about "long tail" revenue, nobody sees much of yet. OTOH, even the pitiful sums available from onselling to some shithouse cable channel do actually constitute money. There are trade shows to do deals at, formats to sell multiple times. Even the likes of Disney find is simpler and less risky to simply do a supply deal with the likes of TVNZ.

    That's not to say it doesn't have to change. But the incentives aren't really there at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Things are however getting scary when the Fairfax-owned Dom Post decides to tell us that it is normal that they show a huge editorial bias in favour of John Key and National. Say goodbye to the free press etc... http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/5681893/Editorial-Swinging-pendulum-is-easily-forgotten
    Their argument that they used to say nice things about Helen Clarke is specious. They coined the terms Helengrad and Nanny State for example.
    Fox News would be proud.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 266 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Myllylahti hinted at an agenda in this comment on Clare Curran’s blog.

    This would be the same blog where Trevor Mallard did whatever the hell he does - not really holding my breath waiting for value adding media commentary from that quarter.

    Right, so Myllylahti is somehow to blame for commenting on a thread on a blog post on a blog which sometimes also features posts by Trevor Mallard, who...

    Oh, I give up.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Andre,

    Andre: It would be easier to have a sensible argument about the merits (or otherwise) of said editorial if you'd bother representing it accurately. Is this Kiwibog or something?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    When Pulitzer prize-winning journos have this type of worldview, the fight for a free press becomes more of a fight for freedom in general. http://www.countercurrents.org/hedges190310.htm

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 266 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There are trade shows to do deals at, formats to sell multiple times.

    Ah, so does regionalisation create more opportunities than a more global market?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Sorry, but just had to post this. It's from the BBC news so sort of relevant. Apologies if already been mentioned today on other threads. A money trader confesses the economy is stuffed but recessions are wonderful opportunities for money traders to make money - as if there's no morality about it all

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 1901 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to 3410,

    Oh, I give up.

    Please do – and don’t misrepresent my comment. Frankly, if I had issues with Myllylahti there’s bugger all evidence around these parts that I wouldn’t say so up front. But equally frankly, I don’t find Red Alert (for the most part) an excessively useful source of value adding commentary on any subject and I do put that squarely on Curran’s shoulders.

    And, yes, Red, I don't like politicians attacking the independence of academics without just cause. (And for that matter, I'm reason confident the PSA weren't expecting a parenthetical sneer from Mallard. Poor duck's been spending too much time with Cameron Slater?)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Yoza, in reply to Andre,

    Thanks Andre, I enjoy Chris Hedges. _"Democracy, a system ideally designed to challenge the status quo, has been corrupted and tamed to slavishly serve the status quo. We have undergone, as John Ralston Saul writes, a coup d’état in slow motion. And the coup is over. They won. We lost. The abject failure of activists to push corporate, industrialized states toward serious environmental reform, to thwart imperial adventurism or to build a humane policy toward the masses of the world’s poor stems from an inability to recognize the new realities of power. The paradigm of power has irrevocably altered and so must the paradigm of resistance alter."_

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Mr. Rastini admits he has no morality and makes no useful contribution. Cancer? How Freudian of him. If an Saudi was to fly an aeroplane into his building, I would at least consider sending a card of condolence to Riyadh.

    On the main topic,

    Puzzling over the corpse of journalism in this country is all well and good, but isn't it time we just admited the body is starting to stink the place up, and give it a decent burial? Then at least we start looking around for a replacement.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

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