Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: McVicar and the media

187 Responses

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  • Emma Hart,

    I do have one complaint about last week's Media 7: it was too short. Gemma was pulling out those exact three Listener covers that Megan and I had been endlessly bitching about just a couple of weeks earlier, and suddenly we were done.

    Sad Face.

    Karl was asking for some kind of QI-style XL extra content version on-line. I mean, I'm sure there are Reasons, but Sad Face anyway.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Agree. It needs to be longer and those reasons need to go away. Most countries have shows like Media7 and they all last longer because you need time to tease out them big topics.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Agreed. I wanted to hear a lot more.

    But Emma, we don't bitch. We constructively discuss and offer worthwhile advice and guidance. Right?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    My partner succumbed to the temptation of buying the Modern Motherhood issue and could be heard screaming from down at the zoo.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    My partner succumbed to the temptation of buying the Modern Motherhood issue and could be heard screaming from down at the zoo.

    I decided, for reasons of my mental health, that it was possibly best for me not to read it.

    Plus, I am not a mother, so it couldn't possibly apply to me, could it?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I decided, for reasons of my mental health, that it was possibly best for me not to read it.

    Well, the story itself wasn't all THAT bad, certainly not as bad as the cover would lead you to believe. Just like the "Why are so many Christchurch women BRUTALLY MURDERED stiletto" cover. They appear to be deliberately trying to sell magazines by making the covers (rather than the content) really offensive. I don't understand it myself.

    We constructively discuss and offer worthwhile advice and guidance. Right?

    Man, I must have been drunker than I thought.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Karl was asking for some kind of QI-style XL extra content version on-line. I mean, I'm sure there are Reasons, but Sad Face anyway.

    Two things. The first is that we have to vacate the studio pronto so The Ad Show can set up, so we don't have time to run long.

    The second is budget. I'd love to get some more of that 45 min Marcia Russell interview online, but that much editing takes time and money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    I trust you'll be asking the hanger and the flogger where he gets his funding from.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    ...interested in how McVicar has achieved his go-to status with the news media

    This is probably the most disturbing aspect for me. As much as I dislike his opinions, he's doing a great job of getting those very opinions out there. The fact that he's quoted as someone who knows his stuff and as a legal expert is not really his "fault" as such.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, the story itself wasn't all THAT bad, certainly not as bad as the cover would lead you to believe.

    I regret that I hadn't seen the story at the time we did the show, and if I had, I would have defended it. It's a substantial and well-researched story with a credible personal angle. Sarah Barnett is a good journalist.

    Basically, never judge a Listener cover story by the actual cover.

    I guess an additional argument could be had about focusing on imagery, even when it's as daft as those covers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I trust you'll be asking the hanger and the flogger where he gets his funding from.

    x2

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    [H]ow McVicar has achieved his go-to status with the news media[?]


    "... our guest on Media7 this week..."

    "... I'll be interviewing McVicar one-on-one..."



    Your show, your blog, so I'll be polite. WTF?

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I guess an additional argument could be had about focusing on imagery, even when it's as daft as those covers.

    I get stuck about here. Your cover image is your chief marketing. Why are you marketing stories that are well-written and well-balanced by using imagery which is offensive to your target market for those stories?

    So yes, while I can accept the idea of "you should get past your prejudices on the presentation and actually read the content", from a marketing point of view, it just seems incomprehensibly stupid to me. I'm perfectly ready to concede that I'm missing something that more media-savvy types understand.

    I ripped the cover off the Stiletto issue because it annoyed me every single time I picked the Listener up.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Yeah, sorry, having a one-on-one interview with McVicar sounds pointless to me. It'll be more effective banging your head against a wall for 15 minutes (and you'll probably feel more enlightened afterwards).

    McVicar isn't the problem – the media who turn to him for comment all the time are. If the Herald stopped calling him (or taking his calls) tomorrow, McVicar wouldn't change his views – the difference is far less people would hear them.

    Have Simon Collins on and ask him why he needs people like McVicar to provide "balance" to his Social Issues stories.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Your show, your blog, so I'll be polite. WTF?

    We discussed the issue at some length, and decided it made more sense to have McVicar there to answer questions, rather than some proxy. I guess you'll just have to trust me to do it right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Have Simon Collins on and ask him why he needs people like McVicar to provide "balance" to his Social Issues stories.

    This or something similar might make a good follow-up segment for a later show?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Isn't the point of the Listener covers this: a blunt, eye-catching, slightly-controversial cover gets more people to buy it than a nuanced, accurate cover would. Once they buy it, they then read a well-written article, but the point is, they bought it.

    It won't work forever, though, because the people who want black-and-white cover stories will presumably stop falling for it, and people who want shades-of-grey cover stories will presumably skip over them because of the covers. But right now it's the equivalent of Paris Hilton stories on a news website's front page ("it's what they want").

    (I don't read the Listener anymore because of the inside and outside)

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    It's not a new issue, either, the old 'cover may not resemble content;' the adage 'Never judge a book by its cover' has been in use since, at least, the late 1920s.

    I must admit, I share Whoops slight moment of incredulity about inviting McVicar on a media commentary show. Not sure how you get around talking about McVicar without talking to McVicar, though...

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I realise in this instance it's been a logical progression, but has anyone looked into how fast on average PAS "media" threads become focused on the current state of the Listener?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    "I guess you'll just have to trust me to do it right."

    Sure... fair and balanced and all that... but is a one on one interview, followed by a whole show on the topic (him) proportionate to his importance?

    The issue is important, but aren't you just giving _him_ more air time than he deserves?

    Anyway, your show, your blog... and I know you'll have considered it fully.

    Cheers.

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I must admit, I share Whoops slight moment of incredulity about inviting McVicar on a media commentary show. Not sure how you get around talking about McVicar without talking to McVicar, though...

    For our purposes, McVicar's remarkable ubiquity in the media is the story. Not wholly, but a large part of it.

    We'd do it differently were we a current affairs show investigating issues of crime and punishment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Might I suggest getting a large cardboard cutout of him to appear in studio in place of his actual person? José or Sarah could play in his stock responses and it would make for a great performance art piece.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    When I think of a McVicar and the justice system, this is what comes to my mind:

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    G*rth McV*c*r infuriates me as much as anyone. But, I think this is great and I look forward to it. I want to see effective counters to the man and his ideas in the media, and engaging with him in a way that draws him out about his thinking and methods is going to help thoughtful people figure out how to do that. I don't really see the talkback demographic tuning in to Media 7 for moral support, do you?

    Since in a way the McVicar phenomen is the product of editorial decisions, it would be nice if consciences were pricked by having those editorial choices brought into the foreground too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I just wish the journos would realise that SST is not an organisation; it's just him!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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