OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: H4x0rs and You

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  • James George, in reply to Sacha,

    Here we go again. How can I ever explain to those who would rather disagree than consider it possible to simultaneously retain multiple points of view, that hyperbole is a communication style, not a crime.
    Incidentally while we're using sports metaphors; how about 'third person in' or whatever the term is for the others who join in a dust up on the paddock? It's rather unsporting this mob targeting eh. Just as well we're all thick skinned.

    Still if the wowsers get their way and some sort of 'anti-cyber-bullying' legislation is rammed through parliament (quick nod to NZ's MSM whose determination for regulation of cyber-space is reflected in today's beat up about a cancer survivor being 'cyber-bullied' by a reality TV personage) group mauls of itinerant commenters will be outlawed.

    I know I am I not the only human disgusted at the ease with which MSM reduces the character of any person in their sights to a handful of black or white cliches.
    Yet here we are arguing the toss over the polite name to call a veteran reporter who behaved appallingly towards another human to further an uninformative and
    worthless angle on a story.
    How can I bitch about something you'll prolly claim I do myself?
    What I posted was an opinion, a remark whose significance is a function of however much weight an individual reader places upon my opinions. The weight of an
    institutional media outlet doesn't convert a blog poster's opinion into a universal truth, or 'fact' - unlike the way the story was presented of a security consultant 'outed' as a hacker.
    It sounds (to me) rather hollow to claim of having never heard journalists
    indulge in their macho-bullshit banter about 'deathknocks', door-stepping & who scooped who, how.
    Many of these reporters just don't understand how cynical and ultimately
    destructive for their industry their actions are.
    Another time the same self serving & exploitative dirtbags will claim their work is buttressing the 'last bastion of democracy'.
    Yeah right - pull the other one, we're talking about a mob who knowingly publish
    alleged 'leaks' fed to them by politicians.
    Often the sources' exposure would be a
    bigger story than the self interested smear which the journalist so earnestly rewords.
    What I posted was far less vitriolic than the line I considered mid-week comparing Claire Trevett's leak of Keith Ng's source in detail (a 'source' previously unknown to most readers) while protecting her own source (whose identity may be a public figure, if not that, at least a public servant .: public interest) with the Karl Rove managed 'leak' that was the last straw which destroyed the career/credibility of New York Times journalist Judith Miller.

    Maybe someone else has run that comparison. Regardless, this namby-pamby critiquing of serious flaws in NZ's MSM is only serving to promulgate the
    sickness stemming outta too few journos crowded into too small a space, tip-toeing around each other's failings while they deceitfully lambast outsiders.

    Yes, I will cast aspersions on a human who pulls the type of stroke that this
    lowlife pulled on Keith Ng.
    I know neither personally - just their work & from judging them in the light of
    their work, IMO considering that particular journalist to be a duplicitous scumbag is pretty mild.

    It seems to me, in extreme cases journalism is like law enforcementism, a type of definable personality disorder. Perhaps another time when the sun isn't shining so brightly or spring in the air, I'll try to explain this.
    (apologies 4 awful spacing a result of incorrect text editing)

    Since Sep 2007 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell - Of course I expressed an opinion, but it is also based on personal experiences with a number of "main stream" journalists I corresponded with and in some cases met personally. Then I may add my observation of how certain journalists have conducted interviews and gathered information at certain public events, including some protest actions.

    The stories were often presented in a poor manner, interviews were cut so to present comments out of context, often raising eyebrows, facts are reported on selectively, and the list goes on.

    Naturally there is a degree of internal evaluation of stories to broadcast or write about, which also results in self censorship, or in being forced follow the particular media employer's "standards" and "priorities", which editors enforce.

    Looking at most the "news" presented, I miss real news about real issues facing real people, apart form road deaths, crime cases, weather stories, the inevitably high volume of sports, celeb gossip and what you have. Yes, there are of course reports on politics, but too little goes into matters of detail and substance, and sadly some is misrepresented, as was the report by Heather on One News the other day (re the supposed "hacker"), what this blog is about.

    Yet, of course, some journalists are good, principled, take their jobs very serious and offer some good journalistic work.

    So, with all respect, there is much left to be desired. I worry also about (former Media7) Media3 now perhaps facing some "pressure" from TV3, when it comes to content and critical issues. Maybe I am wrong, but you will know more about that.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James George,

    judging them in the light of their work

    Do point out for us the other stories that lead you to conclude this particular journo is a 'scumbag'. I'm comfortable forming opinions about people's character from a consistent pattern of behaviour. Just seeing more of yours than hers in this instance.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    I find it interesting the comments about journalists, from those that don't appear to be journalists. Namely criticism of journos for doing their job when those commenting really don't have a clue about how journalists actually go about their job. Perhaps some of you could try going to work at 8:30am, coming up with a story idea, writing the story and having 500 words done by 10am by which time you are working on the next story,.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    Does the Maggie Barry rule of parliamentary commentary now apply to media criticism?

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Pete Sime,

    Nah, their just talking past each other. Funny tho' your comment.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to dave crampton,

    Perhaps some of you could try going to work at 8:30am, coming up with a story idea, writing the story and having 500 words done by 10am by which time you are working on the next story

    There's an old adage about a military commander at an isolated base. Headquarters contact him, saying they're sending a new junior officer up the line to join his detachment. The commander writes back: "Send me someone intelligent and energetic. Failing that, send me someone intelligent and lazy. Hell, send me someone who's stupid and lazy. But whatever you do, DON'T send me someone who's stupid and energetic."

    I'm not saying journalists are stupid. At all. What I am saying is that the writing and information gathering practices you describe are both "stupid" and "energetic," if the purpose of journalism is the transmission of accurate information. Because this sounds like a series of working norms that will produce, almost by design, superficial, inaccurate, and poorly analysed "stories" that just happen to perpetuate the interests of the already powerful.

    I'm to some extent a professional writer myself (though in a different context). There is no way in hell I would think that something 500 words long written in 90 minutes was in any way ready for publication. You can't provide any form of analysis or contextualizing in 500 words. And you can't expect to say anything accurate or informed with those time constraints, either. Why do journalists think they're exempt from the basic rules that govern the lives of other writers and information professionals?

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    I’m to some extent a professional writer myself (though in a different context). There is no way in hell I would think that something 500 words long written in 90 minutes was in any way ready for publication. You can’t provide any form of analysis or contextualizing in 500 words. And you can’t expect to say anything accurate or informed with those time constraints, either. Why do journalists think they’re exempt from the basic rules that govern the lives of other writers and information professionals?

    Probably because we don’t work in a fantasy world where news stories are 2000 words long and there are no deadlines.

    A good part of the skill of broadcast journalism in particular lies in economy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    Clocking out...

    ...this sounds like a series of working norms that will produce, almost by design, superficial, inaccurate, and poorly analysed “stories” that just happen to perpetuate the interests of the already powerful.

    <reminiscences, early 21st century>

    I remember it was raining
    that Labour Day they cracked
    the Great Game's DNA...
    Bucketing down,
    sluicing away the webs,
    veils and screens...
    We were a torrent of bits
    acting as one -
    pooling our resources,
    eddies not snarls,
    going with the flow,
    putting the luv
    in diluvial...

    </reminiscences, early 21st century>

    YMMV
    } ; - )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Different skills; different expectations. But it's worth asking what flaws and limitations the "economy" of broadcasting imposes on journalistic writing.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    Different skills; different expectations. But it’s worth asking what flaws and limitations the “economy” of broadcasting imposes on journalistic writing.

    That's a different issue, but yes. There are all kinds of structural factors that compromise journalism. But economy and timeliness are usually key skills of the job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Different skills; different expectations. But it’s worth asking what flaws and limitations the “economy” of broadcasting imposes on journalistic writing.

    Ideally, none. If it’s being done right. A 50 second story (for radio broadcast) is about 150 words long. A three minute piece is about 1000. (Including the audio for both.) So, of course there are things that are going to be left out, but that’s editorial judgement, on the part of both a reporter and an editor. (And one of the key reasons there’s both.)

    Russell is right. Writing for broadcast is hard, but being able to file to deadline, and write within those strictures is a pretty important part of the job.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Russell is right. Writing for broadcast is hard, but being able to file to deadline, and write within those strictures is a pretty important part of the job.

    I learned soon enough that I couldn’t write myself two-minute speeches in the middle of TV (and radio) scripts. It’s quite a skill to convey the point in fewer words.

    A three minute piece is about 1000.

    I’m assuming that’s an error. 333wpm is quite hard to keep up for three minutes :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I learned soon enough that I couldn’t write myself two-minute speeches in the middle of TV (and radio) scripts. It’s quite a skill to convey the point in fewer words.

    And something I am pretty appalling at when I am writing here. Twitter helps.

    I’m assuming that’s an error. 333wpm is quite hard to keep up for three minutes :-)

    Journalists SUCK at maths. Didn't you know?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Ds,

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7846531/Insecure-benefit-cards-slammed

    Serious questions have now been raised because the Pin for each card is the last four digits of the card number, which is imprinted on the front.

    Bizarre!!!

    wellington • Since Sep 2012 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    There is no way in hell I would think that something 500 words long written in 90 minutes was in any way ready for publication. You can’t provide any form of analysis or contextualizing in 500 words. And you can’t expect to say anything accurate or informed with those time constraints, either.

    According to physicists, bumblebees can't fly. And yet every day, oblivious to the theoretical laws under which they are impossible, millions of them get about and do just that.

    And thank goodness they do, because if they didn't, we wouldn't have any tomatoes. Maybe not always perfect organic vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes, but the tomatoes we have are better than no tomatoes.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Dean Papa, in reply to Sacha,

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Ds,

    I'm in lust. She correctly calls then "personal identification number(s)" and "Pin(s)", never "Pin numbers". It's tempered by her never capitalising the full acronym as PIN, which gets a bit confusing, but maybe that's this new-fangled English that breaks so many of the rules with which I was raised.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A good part of the skill of broadcast journalism in particular lies in economy

    Wish I had more of it

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Twitter helps

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    never capitalising the full acronym

    That 'rule' annoys me. Anyone know where it came from?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    maybe that's this new-fangled English that breaks so many of the rules with which I was raised.

    Fortunately, as I was saying to my partner during a rugby commentary the other day, English has lots of hit-points, and regenerates.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to James George,

    James George, Marc C: If you're going to criticise journalists, can you give examples, preferably with links? This generalised trashing seems very rude to our hosts here (who are journalists) and also completely unproven. You would establish your point better by naming names and places and circumstances.

    If your argument is that because of deadlines, journos can't possibly do a proper job, what would you suggest be done about it? Without deadlines, there would be no news coverage.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It’s tempered by her never capitalising the full acronym as PIN

    Quick! Somebody phone 'Académie francaise and complain about the creeping frenchification of English!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    A few random pre-caffeination thots on journalism:

    Aren't the longer, more analytical pieces supposed to be for weeklies and montlies? Aren't our daily newspapers and radio and TV supposed to just keep us up to date with developments?

    In Russell's interview with John Campbell I was quite impressed with Campbell's talk of how they often follow up stories later.

    How are journalists trained these days? Is it an undergrad degree or diploma? Could the quality of journalism be improved if it were postgrad and would be journalists did a degree in something else first? Would journalists with a BSc do a better job of reporting science? I certainly get the impression that NZ's media would do a better job of reporting China if more NZ journos could speak and read Chinese, and I'm not at all suprised by all the talk on this thread of how the media does such a crap job of reporting their field of expertise.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

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