Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Why is anyone surprised?

3 May 2017

News this morning that the Commerce Commission has rejected the bid for a merger between NZME and Fairfax should come as a surprise to nobody.

The reality is that the news industry in New Zealand is already far too "compact" and lacking in scope of ownership.

Of course those who stand to benefit from the merger are making all sorts of claims as to what such a merger would produce -- such as "developing people and talent".

Yeah, right! If they expect us to believe that then they're clearly so poorly acquainted with reality that the veracity of any news they publish will be equally open to question.

Let's face it... this is a cynical attempt to pool resources, slash costs and extend a dominance in the marketplace.

When such mergers take place there are no winners -- except perhaps for shareholders.

In order to guarantee objectivity and accuracy, the news industry must be composed of many players, each bringing their own unique perspective to events and stories. Remove that diversity and you end up with a very dangerous ability for "the" dominant player to shape public opinion in a way that gives them enormous control -- more control than the government of the day in fact.

Fairfax's media chief executive is also claiming that search media is harming the news industry. He seems to think that the proposed merger would give the resulting entity more weight with which to go head-to-head with search and social media giants.

Well I'm sorry but if you really think that then you're dreaming.

The reality is probably that people only turn to social media for their news because the industry isn't delivering what they want.

A relentless cut-back in staff, quality of copy and objectivity means that a lot of folk are seeking out their own news via alternative channels -- mainly things like Facebook and Google News. If Fairfax and NZME actually focused more on real news reporting and less on repackaged press releases and "fluff", the may face less competition from such sources.

Or am I wrong? I may very well be.

One only has to look at what is undoubtedly the most popular news publication in the world, the Daily Mail. This is a rag-tag, poorly written, badly edited collection of flotsam from the far reaches of social media -- yet it is doing extremely well -- eclipsing the more traditional and respected news publishers who are now facing hard times.

Is it that the world has simply lost its taste for real news?

Are we instead all seeking lightweight, entertaining or titillating copy that provides a few minutes or maybe only seconds of amusement -- before we move onto to the next?

As a business model, the repackaging of social-media fluff and hysteria written by barely literate copy-hacks trumps the employment of professional journalists who research in depth, fact-check and provide in-depth coverage of the news. Real journalists are expensive -- lifting stuff from Facebook or YouTube and having some teenager re-arrange the words costs next to nothing.

Perhaps the news media that some of us came to know and love is about to go the way of the typewriter ribbon. Simply a distant memory of something that was absolutely crucial but which now is merely a curiosity that nobody would pay a single cent for.

So where to from here?

If we do fall out of touch with the events that are taking place in the world around us, won't we become even more easily manipulated?

Will this lack of awareness allow people in power to exercise their own agendas with impunity?

Hmmm... perhaps there is very real justification for the state funding of an independent news media based on old principles of honesty, objectivity and good journalism.

Nah, let's see what's happening on Twitter instead eh?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

Recent Columns

Time, the ultimate creator
No, I haven't been smoking the wacky-baccy or indulging in mind-altering substances (beyond a glass of wine with my dinner) but you might think so after reading today's column...

Peak smartphone?
There was a time when many of us upgraded our PCs every couple of years because the technology was moving at such a fast pace that you'd see a significant improvement in power and performance with each new machine...

BBC resorts to clickbait
Sigh... clickbait and fake news are the stock and trade of the mainstream media these days and it appears that even the (once) almighty BBC are engaged...

A *billion* dollar idea
As I mentioned in my last column, Google has now equipped its Chrome browser with the ability to defeat the worst in aggressive advertising formats on the Web...

Chrome anti-competitive?
Google's Chrome browser now has a feature that will reportedly stop 97 percent of all those really annoying ads from interrupting your browsing experience...

What ever happened to fuel cells?
Electric vehicles are set to become the next big thing...

Can you sense the frustration?
When the current CEO of the South Waikato District Council took up his position several years ago, I invited him to my studio-workshop to discuss how I could help promote the district he now managed...

Is now a good time to wait?
I ran a CPU benchmark on my video rendering machine last night and was gobsmacked at how much slower it is than "state of the art" silicon...

Beyond a joke
Yes, today's column is another of those boring gripes about CAA and drones...

Plastic, a bigger threat than climate change?
A regular reader sent me an email the other day containing a link to a worrying report that everyone should read...

Babies versus boosters, no contest
Yesterday was a fantastic day for any geek, space enthusiast or anyone who has the heart and imagination of a little boy...