Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Media Mathematics

133 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

  • Steve Reeves,

    Brilliant stuff, Russell.

    I would expect the minister concerned to now come on here and respond, or at least apologise!

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Reeves,

    I would expect the minister concerned to now come on here and respond, or at least apologise!

    It'll be interesting to see whether anyone regards it as a news story. You'd think.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Y'know, as easy and fun as it is to mock the Herald's front page "news" such as what Sonny Bill Williams got up to this week, this is the sort of stuff that's truly disturbing. Their celebrity-led stories are driven by profit; this sort of story is driven by agenda. It's a disservice to their 1.74m readers.

    And to think that Currie just got promoted.

    Since Jul 2008 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart,

    It should be a news story, but the fundamental trouble here is that the decision to defund public service broadcasting doesn't hinge on the data -- the actual real figures are irrelevant to the Minister's position, which is ideological rather than utilitarian.

    So I predict the attitude will be "pfft, what matters a few hundred thou?"

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    This brings to mind a spat I had on the phone around 7-8 years ago with Fran O'Sullivan because of a graph she had used for a story on the FRONT PAGE of the Herald. It was a classic example of inaccurate labelling of axes, no margin of error, etc. etc. - just abysmal. I wrote her a scathing e-mail about it and she actually rang me up to tell me off! Her answer, distilled down, was, "It doesn't matter because it is obvious what the graph is saying." Which set me off on another storming rant about accuracy of graphs and stats, and how it's easy to make it say what you want it to say if you manipulate the presentation. In the end, she hung up on me with the parting shot, "You're just being pedantic." Ahhh . . . yes!

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves,

    But the minister seems to think (in coming up with and disseminating these figures) that he needs to make this argument.

    Perhaps we'll at least get him to admit that, as Lew says, it's an ideological decision, as his "factual" argument falls to arithmetic and thought.

    Not that the Nats would ever want to portray themselves as being anything as political as ideological.

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    It should be a news story, but the fundamental trouble here is that the decision to defund public service broadcasting doesn’t hinge on the data – the actual real figures are irrelevant to the Minister’s position, which is ideological rather than utilitarian.

    It's also worth noting that audience size wasn't a deliverable in the original agreement between TVNZ and the government. TVNZ 6 and 7 weren't expected to rate like commercial channels. In that light, a million and a half viewers a month is really pretty good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    In the end, she hung up on me with the parting shot, “You’re just being pedantic.” Ahhh . . . yes!

    This is such a common response from senior journalists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Anybody fancy having a NZ version of Fullfact? A bunch of students would be great! Maybe analysing the drug driving stuff ("hey, we fought for this legislation and funding, we'd better use it or we'll look stoopid") would be an interesting start.

    Even from here, it's a daily vindication of my decision years ago to stop reading papers / watching TV. NZ is a bit better, but not that much.

    The only problem is I now spend my life puzzled by how people have such skewed worldviews :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to slarty,

    The only problem is I now spend my life puzzled by how people have such skewed worldviews

    The 6 o'clock tv news is useful for that. I draw the line at commercial radio, though.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    “You’re just being pedantic.”

    Thankfully there are still pockets of NZ that see pendantry as a positive trait. Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, I'm looking at you.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran,

    A New Zealand version of Fullfact would be a grand idea, I'd quite happily volunteer. Keith Ng would need to be on board as the big gun though.

    Since May 2011 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    -- the actual real figures are irrelevant to the Minister's position, which is ideological rather than utilitarian.

    Excellent work RB, and Lew this is the very nub, ideologically based decisions (iBD's?) are screwing us all over for the benefit of the very few.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In the end, she hung up on me with the parting shot, “You’re just being pedantic.” Ahhh . . . yes!

    This is such a common response from senior journalists.

    If I’m chatting at a BBQ with a glass of wine with my friends I don’t need to be precise about my numbers.

    If I’m arguing with my father (who’s dead) I can just outright lie, he certainly will.

    But if I’m publishing my work, my numbers better be right, at that point someone else is relying on me being right. Hell I’m paid to be right or if I’m not certain, to be precise about my language and define exactly how uncertain I am (that’s statistics).

    If a journalist says they don’t need to be pedantic then aren’t they also saying they don’t need to be paid any more? Because at that point they are not doing their job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    I'm sure <grin> Graeme Edgler will correct me if I misquote him, but he makes the point that, while he knows NZ First got 4.07% of the party vote in 2008, he stills checks the figure every time before he writes it.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    mainstream media

    Can't tell if trolling or just stupid.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    publish AND be damned...
    I would have thought that a Minister and a paper using the wrong figures to vindicate, or support, a decision to close a public resource, would fall under the description of fraud - or at least a scam, using a document for gain...


    Down for the count...
    ...and how much longer can The New Zealand Herald keep that name, I'm sure I read somewhere recently (can't find it again rapidly though, dammit) that The NZ Herald is no longer physically distributed to the South Island, as it costs more than they get back - hello the North Island Messenger, or Auckland Crier perhaps...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    Facts, the story, and getting in the way: http://harpers.org/archive/2012/02/0083770

    Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If a journalist says they don’t need to be pedantic then aren’t they also saying they don’t need to be paid any more? Because at that point they are not doing their job.

    Before downsizing of newsrooms, verifying facts used to be someone else's job I guess - especially for 'senior' journos. Failure to do it is certainly not professional in a broader sense.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    If the usual suspects are going to nail their colours to a mast, I’d very much appreciate it if they were a lot more fucking honest about it. This whole affair deserves nothing less than the full force of the Press Council. Or even the law. It shouldn’t have to take a Hackgate for it all to come unstuck.

    BTW I’m not even sure it’s Currie writing the anti-TVNZ7 editorials, but someone even more economical with the truth. And we know who that guy is.

    Feel free to write away here.

    If this sad state of affairs still isn’t acknowledged, then it’s time for a Royal Commission modelled on the Leveson and Finkelstein Inquiries.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    PS. the Law Commission has already done some homework on the matter.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This is such a common response from senior journalists.

    And a bloody weird and defensive one in this instance, since I rather doubt O’Sullivan gets “final cut” (as it were) on the graphics, photos and headlines attached to her stories. You’d think senior journalists would care a little more because, however unfairly, it’s their reputations affected. (Around PA I get to write my own heads and slug lines, so any epic taste fails are all on me. Bugger.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    That's not exactly speaking truth to power

    You really believe that's in any way the role of the Herald (or any other NZ newspaper)?

    They *are* the 'power'. The newspapers support the government, the government supports the newspapers.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Fran O, like Karl du Fresne and Deborah Coddington, seems to have an inverse bell curve pattern of journalistic quality. At their best, they’re highly investigative and thoughtful, at their worst, they revert to their old pre- and mis-conceptions.

    And the latest from John Drinnan on TVNZ7:

    Television New Zealand and Ogilvy have dropped plans to turn TVNZ 7 into a shopping channel. Plans outlined in December were greeted with righteous indignation by campaigners for public broadcasting.

    The last thing NZ needs is yet another info-bloody-mercial channel.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    The first blame for this idiot math must lie with the minister and his office. I am not paying my taxes for this kind of ineptitude.

    But is it ineptitude? The Minister knows exactly what he wants: a justification for defunding the channel. He knows that no-one at the Herald is going to challenge him, because senior figures there agree with him ideologically and want his continued patronage. Thus, any figure will do. That's not ineptitude; that's contempt. It's well past time for imagining that the minister and his journalistic enablers are acting in good faith.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.