Stuff threatened to gut journalism if they didn’t get their monopoly – will this spook Government Broadcasting Policy?

By   /   November 11, 2018  /   10 Comments

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It’s like Stuff keep threatening to gut journalism while yelling ‘what a shame that will be for democracy’ and democracy is too  busy sharing a white supremacist explanation for why 9/11 was an inside job that includes aliens and fluoridation in water on Facebook and just mumbles over its shoulder,  ‘well off you go then’. 

When Fairfax and NZME were trying to convince the Commerce Commission to give them their monopoly, Fairfax astounded the Commission by simply threatening to gut NZ journalism if they didn’t give this foreign owned monster what it wanted…

Now or never to avoid ‘aggressive’ cuts to journalism, media firms warn merger regulator

Fairfax New Zealand and NZME have warned it may be now or never for their proposed merger, and refusal will mean “aggressive” cuts to journalism.

The companies said they had nearly exhausted opportunities to cut costs in administration. If the merger was rejected they were likely to “aggressively consider cuts to frontline news functions such as reporting”.

Cuts would be felt deepest in “regional and local coverage and minority issues”, they said.

…well the Commerce Commission refused to give these media monoliths their monopoly and Fairfax have made good on their threat by announcing they are slashing community papers…

Stuff to slash community reporting jobs after merger plan fails
Newspaper publisher Stuff is considering axing 19 jobs as it squeezes its community titles.Staff were today told of the proposal, which affects 13 of its Auckland and Northland titles.

Stuff has confirmed 16 reporter and three news director jobs could be made redundant.

Staff were told three senior reporter roles could be introduced to cover west Auckland, the North Shore, south and east Auckland, with an additional senior reporter based in Whangarei.

Should the proposal go ahead, it’s understood the staff would made redundant just before Christmas.

…which is funny because Stuff made a similar threat in February…

Fairfax to sell or close 28 print mastheads

Fairfax’s NZ arm has announced it will close or sell 28 mastheads.

Stuff today briefed staff on plans to reduce its portfolio of smaller community and rural titles.

About 60 staff could be affected.

A statement says the company is working through the detailed plans for each individual title. Further briefings with staff and communities will be held over the coming weeks.

…so the good news is they went from 28 papers closing to just 5 and 60 staff to only 7.

It’s like Stuff keep threatening to gut journalism while yelling ‘what a shame that will be for democracy’ and democracy is too  busy sharing a white supremacist explanation for why 9/11 was an inside job that includes aliens and fluoridation in water on Facebook and just mumbles over its shoulder,  ‘well off you go then’.

The Government Broadcasting policy doesn’t know if it’s alive or dead and the only stab at trying to get something close to resembling public broadcasting has been the joint RNZ-NZ on Air fund. There is a push by the corporates to make the Government fund ‘quality journalism’ (elites) which is something we already see a lot of. That sudden ‘focus on a  social issue’ you see pop up in many mainstream media websites is content paid for by NZ on Air or funded by a Government agency. Stuff sound like they keep threatening closures in the hope this will generate some publicly funded program they can outsource their journalism obligations to.

While mainstream media consistently complain about Facebook and Google stealing advertising dollars, the truth is that media and journalism in NZ is profitable…

Fairfax’s New Zealand media revenue fell 4.5 percent to $160 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation sank 24 percent to $20.7 million. Of that, print advertising sales dropped 15 percent to $77.2 million, while print subscriptions slipped 4.3 percent to $48.8 million. Digital revenue jumped 33 percent to $24.2 million.

… the reason it’s not profitable to the media companies is because they are owned by vulture funds with enormous debt to pay. It’s the debt needs of their own companies that see profit margins shrink, while journalism does need a better funding model (a digital tax on Facebook or Google for example could fund journalism), ignoring the financial DNA of the companies and what the pressures of financialization is doing to the media business model is essential in understanding why they are ‘failing’.

The Government should consider that before they start shelling out money to them.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Bruce says:

    So with no reporters to report news we will just buy newspapers to read the adds. ????

  2. esoteric pineapples says:

    The two independents daily in New Zealand are both going from strength to strength – Otago Daily Times and Wairarapa Times Age – which suggests the problem is not that print media is going out of fashion but that corporate ownership is killing newspapers

  3. Patrick Craddock says:

    Yeah – well..if Stuff cares about democracy it know the answers. Keep journalists. If its only profits – threaten.

    As a former journalist – i know about threats. They usually came from bullies, tyrants and people trying to hide their action or planned actions.

  4. Andrew says:

    Gut journalism?

    Really?

    Based on the current standard of journalism in NZ it’s in need of a good gutting!

    Nobody with more an half a brain listens to or watches any local media because it’s all total crap.

    • David H says:

      I’m happier watching CNN and MSNBC at the mo NZ journalism has been dead for ages and Clickbait has been on the rise. I can’t remember the last time i read stuff or the Granny, and as for tvnz news well at 6pm it’s fine and sunny outside.

  5. youngsuffrajet says:

    Yes, Esoteric Pineapples you are so right.

    Corporate ownership of the media is all about having a conduit through which it can push its own agenda rather than letting the real news, such as corporate corruption and deceit and the oppression of employees by doing everything to keep them on low wages and then complaining when the Government increases the minimum wage. Ouch they say, we can’t have this so what do we do? Oh, we know, lets push the lie that business confidence is dropping and lets get rid of this Government and bring back our friends who will protect us from the masses demanding a decent wage.

  6. Danyl Strype says:

    I agree that secure funding for rigorous journalism is important. But I’m not sure what to make of this ‘get off my lawn’ comment:

    > “It’s like Stuff keep threatening to gut journalism while yelling ‘what a shame that will be for democracy’ and democracy is too busy sharing a white supremacist explanation for why 9/11 was an inside job that includes aliens and fluoridation in water on Facebook and just mumbles over its shoulder, ‘well off you go then’.”

    Perhaps the most important phrase uttered during the US mid-term elections was Beto O’Rourke’s comment that “reasonable people can disagree on this issue”. That applies to 9/11 truth, water fluoridation, and even little green man (and/or little green women and/or ETs of non-binary gender identity).

    The truth may be out there, as the X Files famously claimed. But If there’s one thing we can be certain of in this age of information overload, it’s that not a single one of us knows the final, absolute truth about everything. Especially mysterious and controversial issues whose waters are potentially being muddied by the PR efforts of well-funded vested interests. A daily dose of humble pie is required if you want to avoid becoming a useful idiot serving as a mouthpiece for one or more of same.

  7. Mike the Lefty says:

    And now Neighbourly has become another part of getstuffed.com. It was set up with good intentions but now has become just another way for Fairfax to dumb you down and inflict more ads on you.

  8. Ngungukai says:

    NZ Journalism is already gutted, nothing to lose.

    We only get fed propaganda by NZ MSM from the likes of Hoskins, Garner and Gower who would be lucky to have three brain cells between the three of them ?

  9. Ngungukai says:

    NZ Journalism is already gutted, nothing to lose.

    We only get fed propaganda by NZ MSM from the likes of Hoskins, Garner and Gower who would be lucky to have three brain cells between the three of them ?