Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Call it what you like

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    First: Finn. Oh, buggery buggery ballocks. What else you say that isn't totally fatuous?

    It's less that there was a complaint made than that this curious non-retraction was deemed an appropriate response. You don't need to go as far as The Standard to think it's a poor state of affairs. I suspect there are some APN journalists looking sideways at their proprietor this week.

    Well, Russell, I know there's at least one APN journalist who isn't feeling particularly impressed with Cullen or Andrew Little either. As Audrey Young could testify :), no journalist or editor much likes being called a partisan whore by politicians and their proxies. If our professional relationship ever came to an end, I'm pretty sure you'd take severe except to any insinuation from your mate Murray that you'd been "bullied" into doing so by the Prime Minister's Office.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i got to know finn a little thru two means. we (along with Hadyn, another regular commenter here) did last years 48 hours together. his musical score was genius.

    i later hit him up about writing music for some other projects (which never really got off the ground.)

    strangely, and coincidentally in a wellington way, his partner and he came to view a flat i was moving out of last february. it wasn't until the 48 hours that we all realised we'd already met!

    i took a shine to finn almost immediately because he reminded me so much of another character, the inspiration for this, which i consider my most humorous post to club politique.

    "greg" and finn not only looked similar, time has revealled they have face exactly the same challenges.

    and i think i'm just plain angry that a young man like finn can fall thru the cracks the way he has.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, Russell, I know there's at least one APN journalist who isn't feeling particularly impressed with Cullen or Andrew Little either. As Audrey Young could testify :), no journalist or editor much likes being called a partisan whore by politicians and their proxies.

    I quite enjoyed the blogfight with Colin Espiner, but I think it's quite clear that the report (by Audrey and Claire Trevett) on the impending clarification was not arranged by APN management, but the result of conventional political reporting: National had been hailing the (ahem) retraction to reporters, and Audrey and Claire simply followed it up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    So sorry to hear about Finn. Desperately sad news.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 784 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I quite enjoyed the blogfight with Colin Espiner...

    Meh... like most blogfights (and we've had a few back in the day), it was more emtertaining (like watching a family brawl at Christmas lunch while trying to keep the spittle and blood out of your pav) than illuminating.

    Talking about Mediawatch, Colin did a very nice reality check on Three's post-Watangi Day outrage over 'Itigate' -- with nimple support from the PM. There was a serious and legitimate ethical issue involved, but it sure got lost in the sight of two bloated media outlets -- neither of which has much credibility to be lecturing the other on media ethics, BTW -- sledging each other and pretending its news.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    RIP Finn.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    CRaig,

    "nimple support" from Clark?

    Was that what you meant to say? It's a new word on me, but I see its in the urban dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nimple&defid=1347141

    I suppose metaphorically it could be said to be a pimple which appears on the nose at the wrong time...at a stretch.

    A car well suited to having sex in, perhaps at a much bigger stretch.

    The word caused me a bit of a double take because I read it as 'nipple support' from the PM and my brain broke.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    It seems to me that our health sector struggles but just about keeps up - and often on a lot less $$ than you would expect given the excellence of the care and service. The only exception to this seems to be in the area of mental health, which I get the impression is treated as an absolute Cinderella. And I can't wondering if the inability of those with a mental illness, which is still kind of a taboo in our society, to fight for themselves means that that wheel is never squeaky enough to get any oil. I would like to pass on my condolences to Mr. Higgins' family and partner.

    The Herald's behaviour over this "correction" issue is an abrogation of its basic journalistic role - not just because senior APN management may or may not have interfered. The paper has refused to report on the story in its own pages, effectively censoring itself and in turn denying one million plus New Zealanders who have the Herald as their main paper the chance to decide for themselves on the importance or otherwise of this issue. Given the self-serving self censorship on this issue, the paper's apparent inflating by over 300% the numbers who attended the anti-EFA march on Saturday, as part of their childish anti-EFA campaign as its part in defending freedom of speech makes for hypocrisy of a truly heroic order. And did anyone else think the story had - yet again - nasty RWNJ undertones (..."bound and gagged like Benson-Pope...")? And Ralston had yet another economically illiterate rant, and it goes on and on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    The only exception to this seems to be in the area of mental health, which I get the impression is treated as an absolute Cinderella.

    I absolutely agree with this.

    The sad fact is that there is no PR juice in obtaining money for nutbars, who are a) stigmatised and b) unable to advocate for themselves when they need it most and c) often disparaged even when they are well.

    Without passing judgment on what happened in Finn's case - it seems to me that a system with surplus resources is likely to have redundant checks that catch mistakes, whereas in a stretched, under-resourced system, every participant has to get it right every time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    - it seems to me that a system with surplus resources is likely to have redundant checks that catch mistakes, whereas in a stretched, under-resourced system, every participant has to get it right every time.

    Under resourcing maybe be a factor but another is the difficulty in making decisions about when to deny people liberty and force them to have treatment. There's always going to be situations where the decision errs to far one way or the other but often you only find out when its too late.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Rob:

    I apologise for any cerebra-vascular outrage caused by putting Helen Clark's nipple into your head. Can't you tell I want to be a Herald sub when I grow up. :)

    Tom:

    It might be kind of interesting if we had something equivalent to Clark Hoyt, who is "Public Editor' at the New York Times, but you want to know something? Would any ombudsman ever satisfy the paranoid numpties of the loony left and the rabid right who see 'bias' whenever a story isn't to their liking?

    In the end, I think the only way any media outlet can escape allegation of political bias is either not to cover any 'political' matter at all, or just reprint press releases.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • underscore_b,

    Thank you for such a fitting eulogy.

    Since Jun 2007 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    One of the leaders of Bomber Command in World War II once remarked that any operation that that saw its participants win a V.C. was by its very nature unfit to become routine. I don't think we lack checks and balances. I just think we routinely expect our health professionals to win V.C's.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    I just think we routinely expect our health professionals to win V.C's.

    indeed. the key difference between finn and the friend 'greg' i refer to above is that greg got the right kind of help when he needed it most.

    and there was more to that help than blind courage and good luck.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Finn was an awesome musician and composer and regular commenter on quite a few forums. His presence will be missed in many places on the internet.

    That line in the Stuff article:

    By 7.30 that night, Mr Higgins again grew agitated. His girlfriend tried to physically restrain him, hugging him to her for more than half an hour to stop him leaving.

    damn near floored me this morning.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    That line in the Stuff article:

    I'm still at the 'angry' stage. The Stuff article RB linked to leaves me infuriated, and to think it's not the first time it's happened is even more appalling.


    And FFS, someone please tell me that ING ad is not running on that page because of a computer programme trawling content!

    And meanwhile, news of another bureaucratic failure

    A prisoner is seriously ill in hospital after he was stomped on and assaulted during a barbecue held to reward inmates' good behaviour.

    Ya have to laff, dontcha?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Kennaway,

    I used to have regular dealings with the mental health system through my previous employer - and it was usually an intensely frustrating and convoluted exercise. So much emphasis is placed on the consumer having to agree that they need help before it could be provided, and I saw so many occasions where family, partners, neighbours or workmates would be concerned about someone's obvious deteriorating health and unusual behaviour, but unitl that person recognised it themselves, the clinicians would not act.

    There seems to be a lot of lip-service paid to using a 'holistic' approach to mental health, and recgnising the importance of whanau, community, peer support and so forth to assist in maintaining someone's mental well being, but the ability of those other parties to actually intervene is severely limited.

    sunny Pt Chevalier • Since Mar 2008 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The only exception to this seems to be in the area of mental health, which I get the impression is treated as an absolute Cinderella.

    There was a time in the 90s when it seemed like every year we had a new report by some committee or other on our mental health system all saying exactly the same thing - this is chronically under-funded. They were all dutifully accepted by the government of the day and nothing seemed to happen.

    I'm not sure if that situation has gotten any better, or if we just stopped writing the reports.

    That line in the Stuff article:

    By 7.30 that night, Mr Higgins again grew agitated. His girlfriend tried to physically restrain him, hugging him to her for more than half an hour to stop him leaving.

    damn near floored me this morning.

    Me too. Sometimes heroic actions still lead to... well, how she's probably feeling right now. It's not right.

    Maybe someone who actually knew Finn could write a tribute and Russell could put it up on Speaker? Our community, such as it is, has lost a little something, and it'd be nice to record that loss in the headlines in as much as the comments.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the Ministry of Justice had an outstanding-fines outreach [at Pasifica]

    I hope they also do one at Grey Lynn Festival and Thorndon Fair.

    (Very sad about Finn. I never met him, but people I know did, as happens in a small city).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There was a time in the 90s when it seemed like every year we had a new report by some committee or other on our mental health system all saying exactly the same thing - this is chronically under-funded. They were all dutifully accepted by the government of the day and nothing seemed to happen.

    [...]

    There seems to be a lot of lip-service paid to using a 'holistic' approach to mental health, and recgnising the importance of whanau, community, peer support and so forth to assist in maintaining someone's mental well being, but the ability of those other parties to actually intervene is severely limited.

    Indeed. First the obvious caveat, I didn't know Finn and it would be totally inappropriate (and plain crass) to speculate about his particular case where there's an inquest and various reviews in train. But here's the dirty little truth: You can write all the reports you like, but you hit the hard wall that proper staffing requires a LOT of intestive work by a lot of people with very specific skill-sets and one hell of a thick skin. People like that just aren't that common, and I can't blame most of them for not choosing psychiatric care as a profession. (I was never on the seriously scary end of the mentally ill, but there are still people who don't feel particularly comfortable being alone in a room with me. And I don't really fault them for it; hell, if I wasn't stuck in my own head, I'd be heading for the door too.)

    It's one hell of a nasty Catch-22, and one I really doubt there's any political or fiscal quick fix.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The paper has refused to report on the story in its own pages, effectively censoring itself and in turn denying one million plus New Zealanders who have the Herald as their main paper the chance to decide for themselves on the importance or otherwise of this issue.

    Tom S - and except for the 8 different times that they mentioned it, you'd be right.

    Including this article by Claire Trevett - noted by Audrey Young thusly:

    The Herald was actually first to cover the claims about the John Key and lower wages story after Labour had been on the case for a few days, and that was at the suggestion of the Herald editor.

    They thought the story so important they had a follow-up a week later - covering a whole swathe of Key contradictions.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    So much emphasis is placed on the consumer having to agree that they need help before it could be provided.

    It may be that the terrible things that happened in some of our institutions in the middle of the 20th century have led to a reaction that is too far in the opposite direction.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It's one hell of a nasty Catch-22, and one I really doubt there's any political or fiscal quick fix.

    I'm not sure about 'quick fix'.

    However if my memory is correct, and there were umpteen reports by vaguely competent bodies saying 'this needs more money', then I think it's fair to say 'more money would help'.

    My mother has worked in mental health both here, and in Perth. She said the difference was very noticeable. In Perth there was the funding to have specialists and extra support and training for staff and resources available, and it showed in terms of outcomes. Not perfect, but a lot better than NZ.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I figured I wouldn't need to venture on the apparent systemic failure in Finn's case, and that people would pick it up.

    It used to be so much easier: we'd just lock people up, then lock 'em up again if they got a funny look in their eyes. And we'd stigmatise them for good measure. It was only we decided that people with mental health issues should, where possible, play a role in the community that it got harder.

    I can't remember all the details (including the cases that led up to it) but things were worse before the Mason Report in 1996. The National government, to its credit, followed Mason's recommendations to bring some order to a system that wasn't working and pitched in a good amount of new funding. But these initiatives do start to wear out -- much in the same way that special education has in the past 10 years.

    A friend of mine worked for a long time at the ready-response end of the system. It seemed like an awful job to me -- not just having to walk in to people's worst traumas, but then having to find beds for acute admissions. It wasn't unknown for a nurse to have to accompany an acute patient on a commercial flight to another centre, where a bed was available. I'm damn sure I could never have done it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Just one observation from my own - limited - experience in this area: the thing about people in this situation is it can be so very very hard to reach them. Its the nature of the illness. That adds to the burdens of their loved ones and makes it harder to help.
    Yeah, that comment about Finn's girlfriend hugging him..its a choker all right. She clearly did everything she could.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

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