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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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WTF? Real journalism does still exist

2 December 2020

Wow, for the first time ever, today I was tempted to donate to an online news site.

Despite constant begging from Stuff.co.nz and pleas from the NZH to subscribe, I have found neither publication meets the standards that I consider to be "real journalism" and thus they don't get my money.

Stuff's latest overly-WOKE statements has put a nail in the coffin of me ever coughing up even a single red-cent to that publication. One of the observations I made way back in my 7am News days was that when the news media starts reporting on itself they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel (but it is part of the modern news-cycle).

Stories like this seem to indicate that Stuff isn't happy just to apologise for what it believes has been a history of biased reporting but now it wants to go through and, story by story, self-flagelate itself for all eternity by dredging up those mistakes and showcasing them as if to say "look at us, we were so bad but now we're WOKE".

However, why am I actually thinking of tossing a few dollars into the coffers of a news publisher?

Well it seems that *real* journalism might just be alive and well, albeit not here within the ranks of NZ's established news media.

The story that brought hope to my heart is this one:

The mystery of the Gatwick drone

At last, a piece that has cut through the hype associated with this fiasco and has actually researched what went on.

It's a great read, especially for someone like myself who has spoken regularly to many of those who were involved in some of the events of those days. It annoyed me intensely that the mainstream media had mis-represented those events and not challenged any of the claims that were made. In effect, most of the media simply published the statements and releases of police and airport management as gospel without question.

Even worse, when a middle-aged couple were arrested on specious evidence, the mainstream media plastered their names and pictures all over its pages and the world's TV screens with allegations that they were the culprits.

It was a disgraceful performance by all concerned because, as we know, the couple had nothing todo with the alleged drone sightings. Eventually they sued police and managed to score a somewhat pyrrhic victory by way of a very large compensation package -- of which the lawyers took most and the couple got crumbs.

So refreshing therefore, to see that at least one journalist at one publication still has the old-school attitude, disciplines, skills and tenacity to write a piece like this.

The writer, freelance journalist Samira Shackle later tweeted "This was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had working on a story"... so it seems that hard work and high standards has its own rewards that go far beyond monetary compensation.

Thus, when the Guardian popped up its little begging pitch I was sorely tempted to whip out my credit card and fire them a few dollars -- and indeed I may yet do so. One thing is for sure, I shall spend more time over the next few weeks perusing the pages of this news site because now I know that at least some of its content is of a very high standard -- far higher than I'm used to here in NZ.

If, after the bills associated with Christmas have been paid and if the rest of its content is nearly as good as this story then, should there be some spare coins in the Aardvark account, I may well flip the Guardian a token of my respect.

Maybe we could convince Samira to write some stuff for our local news outlets -- although I suspect that her work may be too factual, too well-researched and too "newsy" for them.

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