Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Over the paywall?

45 Responses

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  • Sacha, in reply to pohutukawa tree,

    What they may pay for is something relevant that has been carefully, thoughtfully and competently composed.

    Curation is valuable. How does it get rewarded economically?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    On the Herald online this morning they had the headline
    “Tobacco giant vows to find $23b award”

    and now I see it has been changed to “Tobacco giant vows to fight $23b award” but there is a big difference between those two. At times it looks like the content on the herald looks like it is on auto pilot.

    The staff posting those stories to the website can be very junior, under-skilled and overworked. It's not uncommon for bad headlines or photo captions to have to be changed when there's a complaint. The Herald looked really tone-deaf when the review of Lorde's triumphant homecoming show at Silo Park laboured under the headline 'Lorde drops F-Bomb at waterfront concert'. Shayne Currie readily agreed on that and got it changed when I bailed him up on Twitter, which was good.

    I did talk to a subscription person but they kept referring to their supervisor and clearly knew nothing about digital subscriptions and I was quoted 3-5 days* to process which means the subscription would expire before they could look at it.

    Oh dear. Oddly enough, I interviewed the guy who built that paywall this evening. He'd be doubtless horrified.

    I did try using “flattr” which operated a micro payments system. It was recently taken over by someone else and the latest changes to their terms and conditions made it too much hassle to use.

    I'm struggling to imagine how Flattr's usability could actually have got worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The staff posting those stories to the website can be very junior, under-skilled and overworked.

    It gives my self esteem an artificial lift, like a sugar rush.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The staff posting those stories to the website can be very junior, under-skilled and overworked.

    They might have to do something about that if they want people to pay.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The Herald’s specific problem is it isn’t a very good newspaper in a globalised marketplace. It is, for all intents and purposes, a red top in disguise. The thing is, if I want a bit of Daily Mail in my life I don’t need the Herald because I have got the dailymail.co.uk whilst for serious international stuff I have got the Guardian. Actually, the Herald’s owners have got to be worried about the possibility of the Guardian Australia reaching across the Tasman and setting up a local bureau. All the Herald is good for is local sport and local news (their political coverage is hopeless). Their editorial and opinion writers often betray an astonishing ignorance of the facts. Personally, I would never subscribe to the Herald because but I would subscribe to a properly resourced Guardian NZ site because it would come with a huge stable of quality writing.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    All the Herald is good for is local sport and local news (their political coverage is hopeless).

    Some of there more controversial articles seem to get plenty of attention from Public address commenters.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    News sites are rewarded for being first, and they want repeat page views.

    So there are very strong incentives to get up a story as fast as possible (ie with minimal subbing and checking) and then update it continuously. Once readers know a story will likely develop over the day they'll keep refreshing.

    Quality subbing and fact-checking is completely incompatible with the current online news model.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Actually, the Herald’s owners have got to be worried about the possibility of the Guardian Australia reaching across the Tasman and setting up a local bureau.

    There was a brief discussion about just that in a recent RNZ Media Watch podcast. Get it while it's still online.

    In the meantime, Frank Macskasy has taken the Granny to the Press Council over its coverage of the Donghua Liu affair.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • Kirk Alexander, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    Funny to hear the exact opposite argument to what I normally hear re wafer-thin ISP margins and highly profitable over-the-top operators like Netflix. Interesting... I don't think it is workable personally.

    Chch • Since May 2013 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    a recent RNZ Media Watch podcast. Get it while it’s still online

    Eh? Have they started expiring their podcasts?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1876 posts Report Reply

  • James Green, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    There was a brief discussion about just that in a recent RNZ Media Watch podcast. Get it while it’s still online.

    Which episode is it in?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to James Green,

    It was possibly in the episode with the Donghua Liu bias controversy, or the 1 or 2 after.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Their editorial and opinion writers often betray an astonishing ignorance of the facts.

    The sad fact is, the quality of op-ed writing in New Zealand newspapers is generally very poor.

    Personally, I would never subscribe to the Herald because but I would subscribe to a properly resourced Guardian NZ site because it would come with a huge stable of quality writing.

    We can now envy Australia that choice. Except the bloody Guardian won't take your money!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Some of there more controversial articles seem to get plenty of attention from Public address commenters.

    It’s opinion pieces are designed to troll, not inform. Sure, trolls are gonna troll but do i want to pay to read trolls? The flame wars are lot funnier on reddit. And why would I pay for John Roughan’s uninformed ideological bullshit when I can get it direct from the National party research unit via David Farrar?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Last night's show, where I revealed a bit more of what I've been told about the internal conversation at Fairfax.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, here’s an interesting quote, from a source familiar with the story:

    REDACTED AND PARAPHRASED AT SOURCE'S REQUEST:

    Basically, Fairfax had no intention of putting up a paywall but indicated otherwise as a feint to try and lure the Herald into doing so. They will be somewhat annoyed that this is being reported.


    Gadzooks!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    there are very strong incentives to get up a story as fast as possible... and then update it continuously. Once readers know a story will likely develop over the day they'll keep refreshing.

    Really? The only story I'll refresh on is the kind that specifically says "live updates". If I read something in the morning that was shittily written, or with a misleading clickbaity headline, I'm not going to bother with it again later in the day. Unless it was a compelling breaking story, and there's a big banner saying "updated". Which is far from the majority of stories.

    I have to agree that if I'm going to pay for something - yes, Guardian NZ, thank you - I do expect a professional level of writing and subediting. The technology avvailable now in the publishing sector - no idea what the Herald uses - makes it very easy and quick to have an article flow from one unit to another prior to publication. But you still need the "content creators" there to create quality output.

    Organs like the Herald have more that exceeded the benefits that technology brings to the publication workflow by losing too many skilled staff who actually know words and grammar. There is no commercial technology that can do a good grammar check in English yet. You simply need humans - and enough of them - to do certain kinds of writing and editing tasks.

    Finally, since a large chunk of the Herald is simply regurgitating the generic Fairfax content, and the majority of their op ed writers are shite, yup, I wouldn't fork out cash for the modicum of local news they publish.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    So there are very strong incentives to get up a story as fast as possible (ie with minimal subbing and checking) and then update it continuously. Once readers know a story will likely develop over the day they’ll keep refreshing.

    The problem being (on Stuff, at least) that the way they update is to bung a new short story at the top of the article and make no effort to integrate it. I was reading articles on MH17 which gave the same background facts four times - obviously because they had "updated" the story three times without reviewing what was already in the story.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    must.read.rest.of.thread.before.replying

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Kirk Alexander,

    How not workable? Levies exist throughout most industries without problem. Yes Netflix would be one of a small minority of websites who successfully operate paywalls, most of which sell exclusive video content. I'm referring to everything else.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

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