Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Truth to Power, etc

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Russell:

    Compliment first -- kudos to you and everyone else concerned for a rather useful, reality-based discussion on Nine to Noon this morning.

    As for Cactus-gate...I'm sorry, but the following is some chilling affront to 'investigative journalism'?

    a. In criminal reporting:

    i. Avoid the publication of any information which discloses the fact that a person facing prosecution has any previous criminal convictions (in addition to revealing that directly, this includes reference to having been in prison, use of police “mug shots”, etc)

    ii. Check whether there is any name suppression order, or order suppressing any particular evidence, and that no details are published which could lead to identification or revelation of the suppressed information.

    iii. Be mindful that it can be contempt (as a breach of the sub judice rules) for the newspaper to carry out and publish its own investigations into matters that are before the Court, or to publish other evidence which may be contentious at trial.

    b. Particular care should be taken to ensure that people are always correctly identified and that photographs accurately depict the intended people, and do not implicate unrelated people.

    c. Avoid entirely, or take particular care in relation to, any allegations or implications of fraud, dishonesty, untruthfulness and other improper conduct, unless they can be clearly substantiated.

    What outrages me is that someone at APN (correctly IMO) considered it necessary to remind folks not only of Court Reporting and Media Ethics 101, but the notion that the NZ Herald is not a judicial body

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What outrages me is that someone at APN (correctly IMO) considered it necessary to remind folks not only of Court Reporting and Media Ethics 101, but the notion that the NZ Herald is not a judicial body

    Quite. Odgers seems to regard them as optional extras.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    the trick to getting a response from Murphy is to use the most inflammatory language.

    "Blog in inflammatory language shock!" (cue NZH manning the moral barricades)

    First Harawira and now this?! ;-)

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • James Coe,

    It's interesting, but not ultimately noteworthy, in my opinion. For me, the proof is in the pudding. You don't need to see an internal document to see, for example, that more space was given to 'reporting' the BNZ's 'Closed for Good' marketing campaign than to the implications of New Zealand's largest tax fraud, and you don't have to be a genius to work out why.

    Of course, as someone who was (briefly) threatened with legal action by the Herald, it seems like the legal budget might be oriented more toward that than legal defence...

    Auckland • Since Mar 2009 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Could it be a story? Murphy has made it so, publishing in the Herald. Kate laments that there is no hyperlink to her blog, but using "Cactus Kate" in a Google search finds her immediately, so she's got some traffic her way from anyone who finds anything remarkable in the idea that newspapers send internal emails around discussing potential changes in policy.

    It's interesting to an outsider to see that writers in MSM are constrained in this way. Not particularly surprising though. It does, after all, come out in the writing, which tends to be short on the f and c words and slander, unlike the internet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Good on ya James. Great Idea for the poo on Democracy march. As mentioned on Editing T' 'Erald

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    To my mind the key passage quoted in Kate's post was:

    Editorial could take a more conservative approach to the subject matter and content of the risky or contentious articles. Where editorial identifies an issue or risk in an article the relevant passages could be proactively removed, or rewritten internally, to remove the perceived risk, as an alternative to obtaining legal advice on the risks of publication

    The gravity of this depends on where Kate's documents come from; if the CEO or the board of APN is giving this advice to their editors, well that's a really big deal. If it's some memo that someone in accounts sent out suggesting ways to trim costs, not so much.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    James Coe:

    I'm rather more concerned about the Herald stable's difficulties with the idea that alleged criminals are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law -- not the pages of a newspaper. (A distinction, need I add, Cathy Odgers might be a little less sanguine about if she was facing disbarment proceedings, or charges of facilitating tax evasion or fraud on behalf of one of her clients.) I know ink and competent subs are expensive, but really...

    Look, I'm the first to say there's a hell of a lot that The Herald should be pimp-slapped for. But hysterically painting what looks to me like a lengthy statement of the blindingly obvious as some 'chilling' assault on investigative journalism? Bitch, please...

    The gravity of this depends on where Kate's documents come from; if the CEO or the board of APN is giving this advice to their editors, well that's a really big deal. If it's some memo that someone in accounts sent out suggesting ways to trim costs, not so much.

    Back on planet Earth, I don't have every PAR piece run by a lawyer and seldom had to get in a huddle with Messers Sue, Grabbit and Runne when I was a working journo. I guess someone assumed that I could identify potential legal issues and either mitigate or remove them myself, or in consultation with an editor.

    And I don't believe any respectable or responsible media outlet will shrink from a fight, but by God you don't do it lightly.

    It's called professionalism and exercising editorial judgement NOT the self-censorship of corporate whores.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And as a sidebar, was I the only one who detected a "it's BLOGS that speak truth to power, while dead tree media are craven arse-lickers" subtext to Kate's initial post?

    Well, on that score, I stand by my belief that it is a matter of when, not if, some over excitable blogger ends up on the well-deserved thick end of a large defamation settlement (with a side order of costs) or gets prosecuted for contempt of court. And I'd say there's good odds that CK's chum, Cameron Slater, will be the lucky winner but he's not exactly short of competition.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Cactus Kate,

    Fine Russell for a OTT inflammatory response to something you in your High Princeliness of the MSM deemed inflammatory (by my standards it was a very calm and controlled issuing of facts I had received) but yes, I too would be interested for someone in the organisation to come up with the reason this document that I named specifically in specific emails was distributed from Sydney HQ in response clearly to a current issue/problem that APN have been facing, else why send it out?

    That you have admitted you haven't actually seen the email and have asked people to send it to you says to me you cannot make this blanket assumption that blogger wrong and evil and needs to once again be "outed" (yawn), Herald right and APN doing what is normal.

    For Mr Murphy's reasoning I have concluded in my latest post does not make a great deal of sense and more than a handful of better qualified and experienced people than yourself tend to be agreeing with me, some via email, another being a member of your own writing team here at PA.

    Hong Kong • Since Dec 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The word is "Highness" Kate. You need a sub.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That you have admitted you haven't actually seen the email and have asked people to send it to you says to me you cannot make this blanket assumption that blogger wrong and evil and needs to once again be "outed" (yawn), Herald right and APN doing what is normal.

    I said I couldn't work out exactly what was going on, and observed that much of what you highlighted is pretty much Reporting 101. And that there may be something in it, but it would be helpful if your writing was clearer and calmer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    A 'legal budget' not cut?

    Hmmm, that might be true if it covers HR,or even cases where they have taken legal action.
    He doesnt quite say there is no cuts to 'defamation' budget

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Or even grammatical.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Assuming that Tim Murphy is being absolutely straight and truthful with his assertion that there has been no change to the legal budget, and I certainly have no reason to doubt him, the entire rest of Kate's post becomes somewhat overblown.
    As others with real journalistic experience have observed, there's nothing scandalous about reminding people that newspapers are not courts of law, and that high-profile people are more likely to sue than those with no profile. Somewhat self-evident, wouldn't you say?
    Given the woeful state of Granny's content these days, I'm not at all surprised that it might be considered wise to remind the journos of their professional obligations.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Cactus Kate,

    "I said I couldn't work out exactly what was going on"

    Pot kettle black on all that that with regards the clearness of your scribing as well I must add. At times I have no idea what you are writing about because it is muddled and nonsensical but I trust there is a market for it somewhere.

    Others have managed to follow my posts Russell, even the numbering system on my latest post which was in response to a concern a reader had that he didn't like comments by bloggers in between text.

    http://asianinvasion2006.blogspot.com/2009/11/herald-clucks-on-spin-cycle.html

    I guess it is a case of if you knew what was happening and had seen the email you would be happily claiming it as a story of your own. That someone else first raised it gets you all grumpy. That it was me makes you even grumpier. That you can't get an audience with Tim Murphy sends you into hyper-grumpiness.

    As for the rest of the PA comments stodgy regulars - yeah rattle in the insular little Russell Brown fan club. It's a fairer hearing for a non-PA insider at Red Alert.

    Hong Kong • Since Dec 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not for the first time, Cathy (the other being your ridiculous response to a light-hearted post by Keith Ng), your contributions here seem pitched at schoolyard level.

    Can I humbly suggest you get over yourself and just participate in a discussion?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That you have admitted you haven't actually seen the email and have asked people to send it to you says to me you cannot make this blanket assumption that blogger wrong and evil and needs to once again be "outed" (yawn), Herald right and APN doing what is normal.

    Cactus: With all due disrespect, Russell might be too polite to say this but I'm not. We're not talking out our arses when it comes to direct experience of what's "normal" and good practice when it comes to newspaper reporting. (And Russell has a lot more, and broader, experience than me.)

    I may also note that Public Address isn't exactly the go to spot on the internet for fawning over The Herald and its stable mates.

    Not walking into a defamation suit or contempt of court because you're too lazy or pig ignorant to get the basics right is a no-brainer. Or should be.

    And there's a good reason why I wouldn't be arrogant enough to try and school you on your area of professional expertise. I assume you got your job -- and a law degree -- because you know what the fuck you're talking about, and getting into a technical debate around tax law with you is way above my pay grade.

    Perhaps you'd like to downsize the bitch-i-tude and repay the courtesy?

    I'm sure there's a wide range of reading and perspective on offer, but trying to dismiss Russell as some kind of cult leader who doesn't know what he's talking about because he has the GALL to disagree with you is way too rich for my blood.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Oh dear. I really shouldn't have followed up on this one. I ended up at Whailoils site. I need to shower and get changed now. Yuck.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I ended up at Whailoils site.

    I checked it out a couple days ago, now it burns when I pee.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I checked it out a couple days ago, now it burns when I pee.

    That's what bestiality gets you, boys and girls. Whales are for eating not for fun.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Oh dear. I really shouldn't have followed up on this one. I ended up at Whailoils site. I need to shower and get changed now. Yuck.

    LOL, I deliberately save my shower for after the news, for that reason.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Editorial could take a more conservative approach to the subject matter and content of the risky or contentious articles.

    I'm guessing the 'more' in 'more conservative' here refers to 'for risky and contentious articles' rather than 'compared to what we have done before'.

    Which does complete the list of completely normal things to think about regarding defamation.

    Drat. I was kind of excited when I skimmed it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Is there something I am missing here?. You know, Whaleoil, Cactus.
    Is there some kind of deep and meaningful imagery that escapes me?
    It's a joke isn't it? I mean these people can't be real because if they were surely the Repuglicunt Party would have snapped them up.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'm embarassed to admit spreading CK's story around. In my defense, it seemed all too plausible that Australian cost accountants who don't value subbing would take it to the next level.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

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