So we now know the Herald was incredibly dishonest with the exposure of Amanda Bailey.
The Press Council review is damning…
- Ms Bailey had made her story public through The Daily Blog without revealing her identity. It is reasonable to assume that at that stage she wished to remain anonymous and that at all times she had concerns about being identified.
- there was no direct contact between Ms Glucina and Ms Bailey before or after the interview. It appears that all contact was through Ms Bailey’s employers. Nor was there any direct contact between Ms Bailey and any representative of the NZ Herald between the conclusion of the interview and the publication of the article.
- there was at the very least some initial confusion over the basis on which Ms Glucina approached Ms Bailey and her employers. While NZ Herald has stated that she is a Herald reporter, does not work in PR and has no PR clients, her Linked-in profile refers to her as director of a PR company and specifies PR work as one of its functions. Linked-in is generally regarded as a platform for the advertising of services.
- It seems very likely that Ms Bailey’s employers, who were already acquainted with Ms Glucina, knew of her PR skills and were comfortable with the idea that she would help produce a media statement that would help counter any possible damage to the reputation of their business. There seems to have been no clear distinction between the journalistic and the PR aspects of the proposed article.
- There was also confusion over the nature of the article Ms Glucina proposed to write. Both Ms Bailey, and her employers, understood that she would prepare a general statement that would be released to all media. Certainly in relaying the content of his conversation with the café owners, Mr Currie acknowledges that they “said they had thought their and the waitress’ words would be issued to all media”.
- On the basis of these facts, the Press Council cannot rule out the possibility of a genuine misunderstanding in the first instance about the nature of Ms Glucina’s approach and of the article she proposed to write. However once the interview was taking place, the onus was on Ms Glucina as a professional media person to make the position completely clear to all parties, particularly to Ms Bailey, with whom she had had no previous contact, who was in a vulnerable position, and whose interests could well have been in conflict with those of the café owners.
- Even if Ms Bailey’s employers were aware that she proposed to write an article exclusively for the NZ Herald (and it seems likely they were not) Ms Glucina could not delegate to them her obligation to be sure that she had Ms Bailey’s fully informed consent to the proposed publication, especially in view of the earlier anonymous publication. On the contrary, her obligation was all the greater because she had not been privy to the conversations between Ms Bailey and her employers in setting up the interview.
- By the time the interview had been concluded, all parties should have been quite clear about the nature of the article that was to be written. They certainly had concerns about the likely content, resulting in a departure from usual journalistic practice in the agreement to submit quotes to them for checking for accuracy. There is an element of subterfuge in Ms Glucina’s failure to ensure that they all knew she proposed to write an exclusive article for the NZ Herald.
…so now what? Now the NZ Herald has been caught using appalling standards of Journalism to identify a young woman who had been harassed by the Prime Minister of NZ at least 10 times via a Journalist who used deception and was in contact with the PM, what happens to the Herald?
Absolutely nothing. The Press Council is a watchdog with no teeth. That the leading Newspaper in the country can identify a victim using subterfuge via agents who were in contact with the PM and get away with it shows how toothless the Press Council is.
The new media showed far more journalistic ethics in this case than the old media.