Multimedia Bulletin

 

Multimedia

 

Bulletin script

It’s 7 o’clock, I’m Sean Stapleton.

 

LEE TEACHER PAY TP

Primary school teachers are saying the Education Ministry’s newest offer isn’t enough to attract new talent.

The offer raises pay by 3 per cent over the next 3 years, costing the ministry nearly 570 million dollars.

Student-teacher Ivy Uy says pay isn’t the only factor involved.

SLUG: TEACHER PAY TP

IN: Teachers become teachers not because of the pay.  

OUT: …there’s so many reports to make.

DUR: 10 secs

(Insert quote: “Teachers become teachers not because of the pay. I chose teaching because of the heart for teaching. Money is not only the problem. The workload is horrendous and there’s so many reports to make.”)

Teachers are voting until Tuesday to accept or reject the offer.

 

LEE  PERFORMANCE PAY WRT

The Government’s axing performance pay for top-earning public service bosses.

Performance bonuses of up to 15 per cent are out in a move that’ll save taxpayers 4 million dollars by 2022.

This comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced yesterday that MP’s salaries are frozen for the year.

State services minister Chris Hipkins says international research shows bonuses aren’t a good motivation for outcomes.

He says slowing the pay growth of top earners will help close wage and gender pay gaps.

 

LEE NORTHCOTE CRASH WRT

A person’s been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a crash in Northcote.

The crash is blocking all north-bound lanes just after the Onewa Road off-ramp on State Highway 1.

Motorists heading north are asked to avoid the Harbour Bridge and use the Western Ring Route through State Highway 16 and 18 instead.

Police aren’t sure how long the motorway will stay closed.

 

LEE THREE STRIKES WRT

The first person convicted under ACT’s three strikes law has been sentenced to 7 years without parole.

Hayze Neihana Waitokia appeared in the Whanganui High Court after pleading guilty to stabbing someone in the leg while on bail.

His previous 14 convictions include sexual assault and domestic violence.

The law cracks down on re-offenders by giving a charge’s maximum penalty for third-time convictions.

Waitokia would’ve been sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison before the law took effect in 2010.

 

LEE FREE SPEECH VCR

Supporters and protesters greeted Don Brash at the University of Auckland’s free speech debate last night.

The former National party leader was interrupted by protest as he opened his argument.

Political reporter Irra Lee has more.

SLUG: FREE SPEECH VCR

IN: It was meant to be a quiet gathering until Don Brash was un-invited from speaking at Massey University on Tuesday.

Around 50 protesters say they wanted to show Brash he wasn’t welcome at Auckland University too because of his attitudes towards Maori.

But 500 others wanted to hear him debate that PC culture limits free speech.

OUT: Brash says the protest hasn’t put him off returning to the university if he’s ever invited again.

DUR: 30 secs

 

And that’s Newstalk ZB news with Panasonic’s OLED range. Mike Hosking is moments away.

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RNZ’s multi-platform approach to news

Breaking news reports “an event that has just happened.” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2018, para. 1) On July 23, 2018, 2pm. New Zealand time, Faisal Hussain opened fire in Toronto’s Greektown area, killing two people.

RNZ covered the story on radio, its website and its respective mobile app version, and social media. The story’s news values as outlined by Harcup and O’Neill (2016) include:

  • Negativity and conflict: people were killed and injured
  • Follow-up: the topic of gun violence was already on RNZ’s news agenda
  • Timeliness: news of the incident broke on RNZ an hour after the shooting

In addition, RNZ covered the story in adherence to its charter obligations, stating the broadcaster must (RNZ, 2017a):

  • Inform New Zealanders
  • “Provide comprehensive… international news.” (p. 8)
  • Balance special interest and wide-appeal programming

Because of RNZ’s charter, the story is targeted and appeals to all aged 10+ (RNZ, 2017a). However, there are generational differences between platforms of consumption as outlined by NZ On Air’s report.

Graphs from NZ On Air
Source: (NZ On Air, 2018)
Although broadcast radio’s weekly reach remains the second-highest, its daily media reach has declined. Furthermore, as generation gaps shrink for online media use (NZ On Air, 2018), RNZ’s commitment to reaching a wide audience requires the continuation of its multi-platform coverage in addition to its radio coverage. RNZ’s digital platforms also focus on targeting younger New Zealanders that are moving away from traditional media.

NZ On Air (2018) reports RNZ National’s daily reach of all New Zealanders, despite remaining the most popular station at 9%, has “fallen significantly since 2016” (NZ On Air, 2018, p. 17). RNZ recognises it must provide “a range of diverse services that meet the needs of both traditional radio listeners and new audiences,” (p. 46) recognising a widening audience choice around where and when content is consumed (RNZ, 2017a). To appeal to its broad audience, therefore, RNZ used a multi-platform approach to cover the story. Varying methods of coverage and audience reach and engagement over these platforms will be discussed according to each platform’s affordances. Reach refers to the number of people consuming news via a platform. Engagement refers to the involvement felt and attention given to a media text (Haimson & Tang, 2017).

 

Platform: Radio Broadcast

News of the shooting broke on the radio on RNZ Bulletin at 4pm and featured throughout the evening’s hourly bulletins as well as on Checkpoint at 5pm and Morning Report from 6am the day after.

Radio has the highest real-time reach of RNZ’s platforms. Morning Report and Checkpoint have 467,000 and 283,400 weekly listeners respectively (RNZ, 2017a). Thus, despite the drop in RNZ National’s daily reach, it remains important news is broadcast on radio; RNZ is committed to informing New Zealanders. Radio retains its high reach due to its accessibility, such as to listeners in a car (Starkey & Crisell, 2010) without the need for Internet access or visual aids. This reach is reflected by the fact Checkpoint and Morning Report, both during drivetime, are some of RNZ’s most popular programmes (RNZ, 2017a). The shooting was covered in the most depth in the programmes due to their high reach, with Checkpoint interviewing eyewitness Jody Steinhauer live and Morning Report interviewing Canadian reporter Tashauna Reid.

Radio news engages the audience through storytelling without visual distraction (Starkey & Crisell, 2010). The platform creates a sense of immediacy through language (Starkey, & Crisell, 2010). RNZ’s 7pm July 23 bulletin reported developments in Toronto using the present tense, where a “young girl is in a critical condition” (Batten, 2018). Audiences are engaged as they feel involved with ongoing developments. Furthermore, as news reporting often deals in abstract ideas where visuals do not always match what is being said, engagement with a story on radio increases with the lack of unrelated visual distraction (Starkey & Crisell, 2010).

Source: (RNZ, 2018a). A video used on Checkpoint’s social media features unrelated images of police cars rather than the shooting it is reporting. With the affordance of audio-only reporting, radio audiences can concentrate on the emotion behind voices, such as Steinhauer’s description of her “terrifying” ordeal in her live interview on Checkpoint (Campbell, 2018).

 

Platform: RNZ website and website mobile app version

Only a “small percentage” (p. 266) of RNZ’s radio audience is under 35 (McEwan, 2017). NZ On Air (2018) reports audiences under 40 are more likely to consume all media online than older generations, with generation gaps closing as older audiences adopt online media. People under 33 turn to their phones first for breaking news, while radio was second-to-last (Veinberg, 2015).

To target the younger generation of the story’s broad audience, RNZ utilises its website and its respective app, which delivers the same online content optimised for smartphones. As illustrated in the graph, the website‘s reach is growing. Meanwhile, the RNZ app reaches 640 users through Google Play (Google, 2018).

Growth Website
Source: (RNZ, 2017a)
The spike observed during the Kaikoura earthquake is noteworthy as it shows RNZ’s audiences are increasingly turning to its website to receive developing and breaking news. This points to an increased importance of the platform for audience reach.

News of the shooting broke first through RNZ’s website and app via a breaking news banner shortly after 3pm.

Notification&inapp
Notifications were sent to mobile users as RNZ received reports from CBC News just after 3pm.
Banner breaking news
The same banner was seen on RNZ’s website. Breaking the news via the RNZ app and online had the advantage of not needing to interrupt a radio programme, considering the story’s lack of proximity to a New Zealand audience. Stories that may immediately affect RNZ’s audience, such as a natural disaster in New Zealand, will break immediately on radio, such as this bulletin reporting a Wellington earthquake live.

News articles covering the shooting included photos, audio from bulletins and programmes, and video.

DEvelopments covered
Source: (RNZ – BBC/Reuters, 2018)
In the days following the shooting, online articles followed developments – confirmation of the death toll, revealing the perpetrator’s identity, and the wider discussion of Canada’s increased in gun violence.

RNZ’s website and app also offer radio programmes on-demand. Fragments of whole programmes such as Morning Report available for download. This affordance assists with the platform’s reach – audiences can consume topic-specific content when it suits them – and engagement through the interactive curation of content.

Sectioning of Morning Report
Source: (RNZ, 2018b)
On RNZ’s respective website and mobile app, users have the option to queue and bookmark content for later. RNZ (2017b) says its app’s functions address what its diverse audience wants: news alerts – such as the notifications sent to users’ mobiles – and the ability to curate content and consume it on-demand.

The platform’s articles allow in-depth coverage and consequent engagement with the story’s intricacies than on radio (Harrower, 2010). For example, this article provides background statistics on increased gun violence in Toronto and draws from a range of sources. In contrast, radio coverage does not provide background statistics and features one source per bulletin.

 

Platform: Social media

RNZ’s social media targets the younger generations of its broad audience. Facebook has a 54% daily reach for 15-24 year-olds (NZ On Air, 2018).

The platform’s reach is helped by social media’s sharing function (Harcup & O’Neill, 2016). Despite this capability, RNZ National has a higher reach than Checkpoint and Morning Report’s combined Facebook and Twitter reach respectively, as noted in the table. This points to radio’s continued popularity despite its audience decline; Starkey and Crisell (2010) say audiences do not always wish to be interactive and may return to radio.

table
(RNZ, n.d.; RNZ, 2018c; Checkpoint, n.d.; Checkpoint, 2018a; Checkpoint 2018b; Morning Report, n.d.; Morning Report, 2018)

RNZ’s social media utilises links to encourage its audience to its website. In Checkpoint’s case, it links to video sections of its live radio show.

Screenshot_2018-07-23-20-52-10
Source: Checkpoint (2018a)
Checkpoint’s Twitter post, accessible via smartphone, aims to tease the audience to click on the link to find out what happens next. Emoji, as part of text language, is also used to draw attention to the multimedia link while ensuring the post’s brevity, staying under Twitter’s character limit.

 

 

updated
Source: (RNZ, 2018d)
RNZ’s Facebook feed also encourages its audience to click on the link by including a dramatic quote from Steinhauer. The post has 3 shares, helping expand the post’s reach beyond RNZ’s Facebook followers.

Social media provides the most opportunities for audience involvement and consequent engagement (Haimson & Tang, 2017) than other platforms. Audiences engage with the programme in a real-time group setting (Haimson & Tang, 2017), evident in Checkpoint’s Facebook live stream of its 5pm, July 23 programme. This interactivity contrasts from radio’s largely one-way model (Starkey & Crisell, 2010).

Realtime interaction with audience - questions of terrorism and sadness empathy 1point9k views
Source: (Checkpoint, 2018b)
As the story’s developments were reported on Checkpoint, real-time reactions and audience interactions with the programme and each other are seen by the group. Audiences are engaged in real-time developments of the story, with one commenter raising the possibility the attack was an act of terrorism (later disproved), and another reacting with sad emojis.

RNZ’s cross-platform coverage of the Toronto shooting targets various audiences through the affordances of each platform. Radio uses audio to engage older audiences. Websites and apps engage younger audiences with articles and an on-demand experience, while social media uses links and live streams. Although radio remains popular, if the trends identified by NZ On Air (2018) continue, RNZ’s online and social media become more important to ensure it meets its charter obligations.

 

Reference list

Batten, K. (Presenter). (2018, July 23, 7pm). RNZ Bulletin [Radio broadcast]. Auckland, New Zealand: RNZ.

Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Breaking News. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/breaking-news

Campbell, J. (Host). (2018, July 23, 5pm). Checkpoint [Radio broadcast]. Auckland, New Zealand: RNZ.

Checkpoint. (2018a). Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://twitter.com/CheckpointRNZ

Checkpoint (2018b). Checkpoint with John Campbell – July 23, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/CheckpointRNZ/videos/2147794252129666/

Checkpoint. (n.d.). Community. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/pg/CheckpointRNZ/community/?ref=page_internal

Google. (2018). https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nz.co.radionz.android&hl=en

Haimson, O. L., & Tang, J. C. (2017). What makes live events engaging on Facebook Live, Periscope, and

Snapchat. Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI 17. doi:10.1145/3025453.3025642

Harcup, T., & O’Neill, D. (2016). What is News? Journalism Studies, 18(12), pp. 1470-1488. doi:10.1080/1461670x.2016.1150193

Harrower, T. (2010). Inside reporting: A practical guide to the craft of journalism (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Morning Report. (2018, August 13). Morning Report (@NZMorningReport). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://twitter.com/NZMorningReport.

Morning Report. (n.d.). Community. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/pg/nzmorningreport/community/?ref=page_internal

McEwan, R. (2017). Digital radio platforms in the New Zealand context: Implementing The Wireless and

iHeartRadio. Radio Journal:International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, 15(2), pp. 259-277. doi:10.1386/rjao.15.2.259_1

NZ On Air (2018) Where are the audiences 2018 [PDF]. New Zealand: NZ On Air

RNZ – BBC/Reuters. (2018, July 23). Toronto shooting: Police name suspect, family says he was ill. Retrieved August 15, 2018, from https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/362467/toronto-police-name-shooting-suspect-family-says-he-was-ill

RNZ. (2017a). Radio New Zealand Annual Report 2016/2017 [PDF]. Auckland, New Zealand: RNZ.

RNZ. (2017b, July 26). RNZ’s new app has you covered for news and programmes. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/335881/rnz-s-new-app-has-you-covered-for-news-and-programmes

RNZ. (2018a). One person dead, 13 injured in Toronto shooting. Retrieved August 13, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/CheckpointRNZ/videos/2147879792121112/

RNZ. (2018b). Girl dies after Toronto shooting. Retrieved August 13, 2018, from https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018654921/girl-dies-after-toronto-shooting

RNZ. (2018c, August 14). RNZ (@radionz). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://twitter.com/radionz

RNZ. (2018d, July 23). A witness to the Toronto shooting where at least 13 people were gunned down told Checkpoint with John Campbell it was a terrifying experience. “We couldn’t even get through the emergency 911 numbers because the circuits were so jammed.” [Facebook status update]. Retrieved August 15, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/RadioNewZealand/posts/10155968250668731

RNZ. (n.d.). Community. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/pg/RadioNewZealand/community/?ref=page_internal

Starkey, G., & Crisell, A. (2010). Radio journalism. Journal of Radio & Audio Media, 17(2), p. 255-256. doi:10.1080/19376529.2010.519662

Veinberg, S. (2015). Digital natives attitude towards news sources. Public Relations Review, 41(2), pp. 299-301. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.11.004

 

Heralding A New Age of Digital News – A Multimedia Essay

In 2014, Shapiro declared the need, “now more than ever” (p. 555), to define what news is. His definition includes aspects such as (‘hard’) news’ investigative watchdog function.

But why is it worth academically defining news in a contemporary online news environment? A glance at social media comments in response to tabloid-style celebrity (‘soft’) news stories published by NZME’s the New Zealand Herald online (nzherald.co.nz) may provide insight:

01.JPG
Nzherald.co.nz are accused of missing the point about what news is.

There seems to be a duality in nzherald.co.nz’s content – it both adheres to and deviates from academic definitions of news. This piece discusses reasons behind this. Digital environments have changed the way traditional journalism operates, placing pressure on publications like the Herald (NZ Herald, 2018a). These pressures include changes in advertising structures and 24-hour news cycles (NZ Herald, 2018a) – contributing factors in the Herald’s production of news. As Venuto (2016) notes:

To be sustaiable.JPG

A duality exists in that, despite backlash against select news content published by the Herald online, the Voyager Media Awards declared nzherald.co.nz the runner-up website of the year and awarded Herald investigative reporter Matt Nippert business journalist of the year (Newspaper Publishers’ Association, 2018). The Herald see the awards as a sign of the continued quality of New Zealand journalism and its watchdog function in the digital age (NZ Herald, 2018).

An academic perspective on news

Shapiro (2014) formulates a list of characteristics of the news:

  1. The news empowers citizens to make informed decisions. The use of accessible language and fair and balanced reporting from multiple perspectives facilitates this function.
  2. Journalism and news perform Fourth Estate functions; institutions and governments are monitored and held to account in the name of public interest. This can include aspects of investigative journalism where the news’ watchdog function scrutinises those in power.
  3. The news is not about “merely copying, republishing, or referencing existing works.” (Shapiro, 2014, p. 55) News publications are not meant to be an aggregation of other sources of news.
  4. News is based on verifiable facts. Journalism and a journalist’s identity is one of verification and fact-checking, where official sources are prioritised over anonymous ones (Shapiro, Brin, Spoel, & Marshall, 2016).

The Two Heralds

Nzherald.co.nz shows signs of adhering to the academic definition of news. With the arrival of digital media platforms, traditional newspapers and their audiences have migrated online (Kreft, 2015). Therefore, news websites are worth analysing in itself with the growing trend of digital-only consumers among younger generations (Canada Media Fund, 2015) that signal a new emphasis on online news.

In its coverage of the 2018 budget, the news’ function of allowing citizens to make decisions freely (Shapiro, 2014) is adhered to. The budget document is summarised in everyday language for readers’ ease. “The big winners” (para. 34) of the budget are announced clearly as being housing, health, and education (NZ Herald, 2018b):

Budget coverage.JPG

National Party leader Simon Bridges reflects on pressures the budget puts on Kiwis due to the introduction of new taxes by the Labour Government (NZ Herald, 2018b). By reporting perspectives from both sides of the political spectrum, combined with accessible language where both the pros and cons of the budget are examined, nzherald.co.nz adheres to academic definitions of news. Their balanced reporting allows citizens to make informed decisions (Shapiro, 2014).

The article includes interviews from NZME’s Newstalk ZB that show both sides of the political argument. Source: (NZ Herald, 2018b)

Award-winner Matt Nippert’s investigation into the spending of the Maori King’s office shows the Herald’s adherence to news’ Fourth Estate function as outlined by Shapiro. The investigation is evidence of the news’ investigative function: by examining financial statements, questions are raised around the group’s expenditures that include expensive cars and travel.

Matt Nippert goes to AIA.JPG
Matt Nippert’s dedication to holding the Maori King’s office to account is evident – he meets Whakaruru as he leaves Auckland Airport after Whakaruru ignored emails and calls for six months. Source: (Nippert, 2018).

From these news stories, there is evidence New Zealand’s news adheres to the normative functions of the news as defined by academics such as Shapiro. In a survey by Hollings, Hanusch, Balasubramanian, and Lealand (2016), there is evidence Kiwi journalists and editors uphold values related to these academic definitions:

  1. Kiwi journalists still believe in their role as the Fourth Estate that monitors businesses and governments
  2. They also believe their role consists of analysing current affairs to allow citizens to make political decisions
  3. However, others in the survey thought it was more “important to ‘provide entertainment and relaxation’ and ‘provide the kind of news that attracts the largest audience’ than to… ‘motivate people to participate in political activity’.” (Hollings et al., 2016, p. 130) These answers may be motivated by journalists “feeling… the impact of new media and time pressures on their work practices.” (Hollings et al., 2016, p. 136)

The difference in attitudes among journalists is reflected in the other side of nzherald.co.nz’s news website: its lifestyle section.

In particular, the website’s news coverage of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle falls outside of academic definitions of news. There is evidence of a lack of fact-checking and trustworthy sources, going against Shapiro’s (2014) definition. This article is based only on allegations, stating: “some reports suggest” (whose reports exactly, Herald?) Markle ignored texts from her father despite Markle’s public statement never suggesting anything of the like:

Markle allegation.JPG

The article is an exact copy of another published on news.com.au, once again contrasting from academic definitions that news is meant to provide fresh angles to a story, rather than act as an aggregation of other sources (Shapiro, 2014).

Other stories on the topic have also been sourced from other publications, such as this article sourced from the Daily Mail. Again, there is no evidence of fact-checking by the Herald as the article relies on information reported in The Sun.

But why is the direct copying of other publications’ news so problematic? For one, the Daily Mail and The Sun score poorly in a survey of UK consumers’ trust of its news brands:

Daily Mail.JPG

Secondly, the spreading of unconfirmed sources can lead to what is known as circular reporting. This has further implications where potentially false information can become the ‘truth’. Without fact-checking, perhaps by contacting sources, there is no way of confirming the accuracy of The Sun’s reports.

This video highlights the risk of false information being spread through circular reporting.

 

Time pressures: The rise of digital media

Digital news markets mean publications must find new ways to make money through online advertising while adapting to new technology such as social media (Hollings et al., 2016). These pressures may explain the nzherald.co.nz’s coverage of lifestyle and celebrity news.

50% of nzherald.co.nz’s traffic comes from social media sites (Venuto, 2016). Social media paves the way to a 24-hour news cycle. The Herald’s managing editor Shayne Currie says: “Every minute is a deadline.” (Venuto, 2016, para. 9) Content is released strategically throughout the day on the Herald’s social media platforms to maximise engagement and clicks. As Currie (2016, as cited in Venuto, 2016) states:

Social media peaks.JPG

The need for a constant stream of content in a 24-hour news environment impacts journalists. In Hollings et al.’s (2016) survey, Kiwi journalists expressed they felt the pressure of greater workloads and extended working hours. Greater workloads lead to what Harcup (2015) calls ‘churnalism’. ‘Churned’ journalism relies on pre-packaged material – like other publications’ articles – to keep up the need to produce content frequently (Harcup, 2015). Tight deadlines impact the quality of news stories negatively, as outlined by Rosenberg and Feldman (2008):

Speed pressures p 135.JPG

The importance of delivering content to readers at times the Herald knows they can ‘click’ on reflects the financial challenges the Herald faces in a digital news environment. Headlines on their Facebook page encourage readers to click to visit their website through what are known as ‘clickbait’ titles. With more clicks comes more eyeballs and, consequently, advertising revenue.

Ads on NZH.JPG
Nzherald.co.nz inserts advertisements in the middle of its articles.
Clickbait.JPG
As explained in the video below, clickbait titles are successful as it takes advantage of people’s natural curiosity. This particular headline merely hints at the article’s content to encourage people to find out more. Source: (nzherald.co.nz, 2018)
This video discusses the psychology behind people’s attraction to clickbait.

Venuto (2016) notes “it is worth remembering that what the Herald publishes is often reflective of what people are reading.” (para. 49) As much as people complain about the Herald’s content on social media, people are interested in celebrity news. As Venuto (2016) puts it, because social media algorithms target people’s interests, “if your [social media] feed is filled with celebrity gossip articles, then that might have something to do with your tendency to click on stories about Lorde potentially dating Diplo.” (para. 54). Herein lies the difference between public interest – as outlined by Shapiro’s (2014) definition of the news – and what the public is interested in.

Public Interest Article.JPG
This article discusses the difference between public interest news and news the public is interested in.

It seems, then, the Herald’s deviance from academic definitions of news may have partly resulted from it wanting to appeal to what the public is interested in (and want to click on). Its lifestyle section is a form of tabloidisation: the shifting of the focus of news stories from public interest affairs to entertainment and celebrity news (Open School of Journalism, n.d.).

Is tabloidisation all that bad?

There is a tendency to regard tabloid news negatively for its failure to adhere to normative definitions of the news (Harrington, 2008; Bird, 2014). However, Bird (2014) reflects on the importance of storytelling in the news over the simple transmission of information: people remember softer, more accessible human interest stories more than they do political or ‘hard’ news reports that feel removed from their daily lives. Furthermore, the shift towards entertainment news that appeals to its readers, as seen in nzherald.co.nz, can be regarded as “a process of democratisation; putting news back into the hands of ‘the people’.” (Harrington, 2008, p. 14)

A financially struggling Herald?

Digital media’s new advertising model, driven by clicks, has further implications that impact the Herald’s ability to consistently produce high-quality news online characteristic of academic definitions.  

As outlined by the former head of TVNZ News Bill Ralston, “the biggest problem [Fairfax and NZME] face is that online advertising revenues are incapable of supporting their news websites which, in turn, give away their content for free.” (Ralston, 2017, para. 7) Google and Facebook receive most of the advertising revenue from the websites (Pullar-Strecker, 2017). This contributes to “redundancies, consolidations and a proposal to merge Fairfax NZ… with NZME” (Harvie, 2016, para. 9) in these companies’ bid to find alternative revenue sources (Pullar-Strecker, 2017). The companies’ continued push for the merger continues, with a High Court hearing set for June (McBeth, 2018).

The impact of Google and Facebook on news advertising money has had impact overseas too, with this video warning of the end of news because of the lack of advertising funds.

Lamble (2013) states the consequences of cost-cutting in news include tabloidisation, job losses, and merged newsrooms. NZME announced cutbacks on its staff in the name of ‘efficiency’ that saw the gathering of multiple NZME assets into one newsroom in 2015 (Grant, 2015; Venuto, 2016). As stated before by Rosenberg and Feldman (2008), staff reductions can lead to greater workloads for journalists and hurried journalism that goes against academic ideals of news.  

However, an integrated newsroom allows NZME to take advantage of nzherald.co.nz’s multimedia environment that rewards video content (Venuto, 2016). Additionally, there is evidence of a successful financial year for NZME and the growth of the Herald’s website. Perhaps its balance between hard and soft news may show promise, after all.

Future implications for New Zealand journalism – something has to give

The financial and digital media pressures faced by nzherald.co.nz are not exclusive to the publication. Others like TVNZ show hints of the same tabloidisation and focus on entertainment and celebrity on their website:

TVNZ 2.JPG
Source: (1 News, 2018)

As there is little chance of digital media disappearing, alleviating financial pressures are more realistic than alleviating the pressures of an online news environment. What is clear is the need for new sources of money to continue funding high-quality journalism (Harvie, 2016). But where will this money come from? Publications such as the National Business Review have found a solution via erecting paywalls. Stuff, on the other hand, have turned to funding bodies like NZ On Air to produce its Voyager-award-winning story The Valley. The Valley adheres to Shapiro’s definition of news as it upholds news’ watchdog function. The story investigates those involved in the decision to send Kiwi troops to Afghanistan.

The prevailing question: Financial considerations versus journalism’s ideals

No matter what is done to ensure the financial survival of publications like the Herald, news is defined by its practices of fact-checking, fairness, and holding those in power to account (Shapiro, 2014). It is vital journalists strive to continue these practices as negative consequences such as circular reporting may result, undermining the very definition of journalism as a profession of verification (Shapiro et al., 2016). It is also important for news to remain fair and balanced so citizens can continue making informed decisions (Shapiro, 2014). However, idealistic as these notions may be, one must consider the challenges faced by the news industry today with the rise of digital media and new advertising models. Thus, if parts of nzherald.co.nz only somewhat adhere to academic definitions of the news, maybe consumers should cut them some slack. After all, their desires drive the website’s content.

 

 

Reference List

1 News. (2018, January 26). Meghan Markle’s wedding hairdo will be ‘contemporary, timeless look’ that’ll bring out ‘her natural beauty’ – celebrity stylist. 1 News Now. Retrieved June 2, 2018, from https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/meghan-markles-wedding-hairdo-contemporary-timeless-look-thatll-bring-her-natural-beauty-celebrity-stylist

Bird, S. E. (1998). News we can use: An audience perspective on the tabloidisation of news in the United States. Javnost-The Public, 5(3), pp. 33-49.

Canada Media Fund. (2013). The digital-only media consumer: Key findings from a conversation with all-digital millennials [PDF]. Canada Media Fund.

Grant, N. (2015, October 20). Herald staff brace for more job loss announcements. The National Business Review. Retrieved June 2, 2018, from https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/herald-staff-brace-more-job-loss-announcements-ng-180377

Harcup, T. (2015). Journalism: Principles and Practice. London, UK: SAGE Publications.

Harrington, Stephen (2008) Popular news in the twenty-first century: time for a new critical approach? Journalism: Theory, practice & criticism, 9(3). pp. 266-284.

Harvie, W. (2016, August 27). Overhauling New Zealand journalism. Stuff. Retrieved June 2, 2018, from https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/83509666/overhauling-new-zealand-journalism

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Immigrant stories on show at Pakuranga Library

An East Auckland photographer wants to increase acceptance of Auckland’s diverse cultures through her photography exhibition in Pakuranga Library.

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East Auckland photographer Gemishka Chetty, 25, explores the multiple facets of an immigrant’s identity as part of her photo exhibition for East Auckland arts festival Arts Out East. The photo exhibition is in Pakuranga Library until May 26. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

Photographer Gemishka Chetty, 25, said her exhibition explored where immigrants felt they fit between their native culture and New Zealand culture. Her exhibition forms part of the Arts Out East Festival: a two-week showcase of local artists.

“We come from two different worlds; we come from a world that’s not New Zealand.

“For some of us, we feel like we have to tread a fine line between one country or culture and another,” she said.

Alongside Ms Chetty’s photoshoots of the immigrants, the exhibition featured writing pieces from the subjects about their experiences juggling multiple cultural identities.

Ms Chetty’s project was inspired by people asking her where she really came from.

“Sometimes it’s just out of interest. But, when people say the ‘really’ part, I think that’s when it becomes a little offensive.

“It’s kinda like: ‘We don’t believe you when you say you come from this country, so tell us where you really, really come from’,” she said.

Ms Chetty chose to exhibit her work as part of the festival because she “had something to say”.

“I’m trying to make a bold statement in the art.

“It’s definitely not a polite response to the question,” said Ms Chetty.

Community liaison for Arts Out East and 2017 Green Party candidate for Botany Julie Zhu, 25, said the festival aimed to “create a more visible arts community out in East Auckland”.

She said one of the strengths of the festival was it brought art out of traditional gallery spaces to the wider community.

Ms Zhu said a reason she was passionate about contributing to Arts Out East was she saw art as a way to open people’s minds.

“I think art and storytelling are really great at allowing that to happen without forcing people to change their views, but subtly having people embrace different values or different ways of thinking.

“Most of the artists I know are working not just to make something pretty, but to do something that has an impact.

“Art and politics are so similar: they’re both vehicles for social change, but just in different ways,” she said.

Ms Chetty’s photo exhibition will be displayed in Pakuranga Library until May 26.

Student-led East Auckland bus petition gains traction

Update May 22, 2018: Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore has confirmed a meeting date with Auckland Transport on June 11.

East Auckland students hope a meeting with Auckland Transport CEO restores direct bus routes from East Auckland suburbs to the city.

The upcoming meeting came after students’ proposal for changes in East Auckland’s bus network caught the attention of Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore. He then contacted AT CEO Shane Ellison to meet with the students.

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From left: Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore and university students Aimee Mackenzie, 18, Khorshed Tarapore, 18, and Veisinia Maka, 21, met in April to discuss proposals for improvements to East Auckland’s bus network. Their proposals included restoring direct bus routes from Bucklands Beach and Cockle Bay to the city. The students are now waiting to meet with Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Mr Cashmore met with University of Auckland students Khorshed Tarapore, 18, and Veisinia Maka, 21; and AUT student Aimee Mackenzie, 18, in mid-April.

The students submitted proposals developed from a petition Ms Tarapore launched in response to AT changing East Auckland’s bus routes last December. Changes included the removal of all-day direct bus routes from Bucklands Beach and Cockle Bay into the CBD, which Ms Tarapore hopes to restore.

Mr Cashmore said: “All too often, as council, we just hear from people of my age.

“I want to hear about people commuting from the suburbs to university every day. They tend to, generally, have a different view.”

Mr Cashmore said he had spoken only briefly with Mr Ellison about meeting with the students as they were both busy with other projects.

A meeting date has not been finalised.

However, Mr Cashmore said he was willing to “facilitate a conversation between the public and the people who actually make these things happen”.

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University of Auckland student Khorshed Tarapore, 18, hopes her upcoming meeting with Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison will restore direct bus routes to East Auckland suburbs Bucklands Beach and Cockle Bay. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

Ms Tarapore said she was hopeful about her meeting with Mr Ellison.

“I do understand this is a really big process, but I just hope something beneficial comes out of it.”

She said she was happy Mr Cashmore was willing to hear from her.

“It just showed they are concerned about this problem.”

Ms Tarapore started her petition to show AT East Aucklanders were unhappy with their new bus network. She said she was not surprised the petition became “quite big”.

“They made something that was really convenient into something that is really inconvenient.

“I had no complaints before the bus network changed,” she said.

University student and Auckland Youth Advisory Panel chairperson Ms Maka said she hoped to confirm a date with Mr Ellison within the next week.

“That’s the great thing about being in this position – you can hold people accountable.”

Ms Maka contacted Ms Tarapore and offered to help her develop a set of proposals from the petition.

“Petitions can do so much, and sometimes you just need that footwork to get it going.

“I was willing to give that footwork,” Ms Maka said.

Former Party Leader Enrols in Te Reo Class

Former United Future party leader Damian Light says Don Brash is “part of the reason” he enrolled in te reo Māori classes.

 

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Former United Future party leader Damian Light enrolled in AUT’s beginner te reo Māori paper this year after seeing the backlash against the use of te reo on Radio New Zealand. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

 

Mr Light enrolled in AUT’s beginner te reo paper Te Kākano this year after seeing the backlash against Radio New Zealand host Guyon Espiner for using te reo. This backlash came from public figures such as Former National and ACT party leader Mr Brash.

Mr Light said he had been thinking about learning te reo for years.

“The thing that finally spurred me on was that reaction to the people having a problem with it.

“So, Don Brash is part of the reason why I’m even learning te reo,” he said.

United Future supported the move towards compulsory te reo education in schools before it disbanded following last year’s election.

“I sort of thought, well, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is,” said Mr Light.

However, he said learning te reo was mainly due to his personal interest “outside of the politics.”

“It’s definitely very much that I’m passionate about learning it.”

AUT te reo lecturer Hēmi Kelly said public figures who spoke about learning te reo normalised the language.

“I think that has a ripple effect where people start to see people they can relate to,” said Mr Kelly.

He said people responded in one of two ways as te reo’s use increased in mainstream media.

“Some people respond in a negative way and say: what’s going on here? I don’t speak Māori.

“Some people respond in a positive way and say: I want to know what they’re saying. I’m gonna enrol in a course,” he said.

Mr Brash said Mr Light’s enrolment was surprising considering the small number of te reo speakers.

“Mr Light is saying that there’s nothing more valuable to spend his time on than learning te reo.

“He obviously has quite a lot of time to occupy with learning a language which would have limited value to him,” he said.

Mr Brash maintained his view that RNZ’s use of te reo was “counter-productive in the extreme” as the broadcaster’s purpose was to give information to the wider public.

“I have no objection to taxpayers funding the teaching of te reo for the people who want to learn it, but it just has no place on an English-language broadcasting channel,” said Mr Brash.

‘Give A Shit’ About Auckland’s Future

Youth-led organisations are encouraging young people to ‘Give a Shit’ about their future by having their say in Auckland Council’s long-term plans.

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The Give a Shit campaign aims to encourage youth to challenge their peers to submit their feedback about Auckland Council’s long-term plans. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

Kiran Patel, 22, of the Young Innovators Collective started the Give a Shit campaign on Facebook in partnership with Auckland Council to increase historically minimal feedback from people under 25 regarding council’s plans.

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Young Innovators Collective founder Kiran Patel, 22, wants to encourage youth to provide feedback on the 10-year Budget and the Auckland Plan 2050. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

Both the Auckland Plan 2050 and the draft 10-year Budget are open for consultation until March 28. Topics for feedback include a regional fuel tax and housing.

Mr Patel said these issues would affect youth in the future, making the representation of their views important.

“Partnering with Auckland Council on this project is really an effort for us to be able, as young people, to shape the systems that we exist within.”

He said he was not focused so much on why young people were not engaging in decision-making. He looked instead at why people were not creating appealing messages for youth.

“I feel that a lot of the time, messaging to young people can be quite lazy. We expect them to engage because we just expect them to. But we need to be far more creative.

“What we’ve done with the Give a Shit campaign is we’ve challenged people to challenge their friends to ‘give a shit’ about Auckland’s future,” Mr Patel said.

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Feedback can be given to Auckland Council in several ways, including a paper form, an online submission, a social media comment using the hashtag #akhaveyoursay, or a consultation event. PHOTO: IRRA LEE

Auckland Council’s Youth Advisory Panel was also looking to increase youth engagement in the consultation process.

Chairperson Veisinia Maka, 20, said the panel’s priority was to simplify the consultation document.

“The main reason for low participation and engagement with politics or plans and policies is that, sometimes, information isn’t always youth-friendly.

“We’re trying to make it easy to understand; we’re trying to do what council failed to do,” said Miss Maka.