Dr Liz Gordon: Stuff’s new strategy: how to lose friends


I have two subscriptions to newspapers – the Press and the Sunday Star Times. They are not always satisfactory, and often I have already seen stories printed in them.  But, well but, I still enjoy having my breakfast at the table with the newspaper in front of me.  While there is a cost to this, it is still just about affordable for me, and one of life’s simple pleasures.

Today, though, this all changed.  I have received TWO emails from Stuff asking me to contribute money to help them do their journalism. Well, I hate to say it, but I already contribute over $700 per year towards the Stuff journalism, and my newspapers have shrunk, the quality has diminished in most cases and the ‘opinions’ are now usually from old blokes who work for Stuff, not worth the paper they are written on (except Alison Mau on Sundays, long live her).

But I have shown some loyalty in the face of all this. Until today, I was happy with my decision.  But now, happy I am not. I have warned Stuff that if I receive any more suggestions that I pay more for my access to their news services, I will give up the subscriptions I have. Yes, you could say I am miffed.  But with a little care, they could easily have excluded current subscribers from these emails.

I am awaiting my apologies from info@comms.stuff.co.nz and stuffmarketing@stuff.co.nz

Grumpy? Me? Surely not!

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com


Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.


  1. “………….. the quality has diminished in most cases and the ‘opinions’ are now usually from old blokes who work for Stuff……………”
    I feel sorry for some of the poor buggers that jumped ship to go to Stuff from elsewhere, and happy for others that managed to get the hell out (such as to Newsroom)

  2. I will happily contribute to Stuff to help them do journalism.
    Did they give any indication as to when they intend to begin?

    • LOL…ohhh please, we haven’t seen critical indepth investigative journalism from them in years! It’s just about all now just ‘woke’ opinion pieces and fawning over certain public servants like they are our Gods…..when in reality these people they fawn over are in most cases failed lawyers & school teachers, ex real estate agents, and individuals that have lived off the state tit for almost ALL their working lives!

  3. Great post Liz. I agree with Brewer.

    Yes we get the Press delivered we like to read it over breakfast and especially the letters to the editor. OMG Tuesday NO LETTERS TO THE EDITOR! What? Why?

    Far too much comes from places other than Christchurch frankly. I had no idea that the editor of the insert on Saturdays also does the SST and she lives in Dorkland. Sadly there is no investigative journalism at a local level anymore.

    • “Far too much comes from places” yeah, like the Washington Compost…(again many just personal opinion pieces and not journalism) AP….and any other group that quite clearly ‘hates’ Trump but has let that personal grudge with him warp their professional judgement

      • No! No! WashPost journalism informs me re latest research on covid-19. Following on from info that our immune systems are diminished when the T cells fight the virus in the lungs and the virus fights back, and that the virus attacks other organs; yesterday’s story covered the recent evidence of blood clots affecting many organs, lungs of dead patients filled with tiny blood clots.

        Am I wrong in respecting this journalism? Or is it just about relaying recent research with almost no investigation? Whatever, I’m glad to be reading it.

  4. Well this will make you even grumpier.
    While STUFF has their hand out asking NZders for contributions…. our own government via our taxes is contributing for us in the form of paying (during a national emergency) STUFF and other media $$$$ to display the covid 19 advertising on their sites. So effectively we have our “corporate” 4th estate essentially in the pockets of our government. Now…..do you think that might effect some of the so-called slanting of our journalism?
    Is that why at the press conferences the journalists are only too happy to “put their questions out front” so our leaders can work a spin with time to spare?

    • “Kiwi digital advertising company Topham Guerin has been brought in by the New Zealand Government to help with its online ad blitz encouraging New Zealanders to stay home and fight Covid-19.

      Topham Guerin shot to fame last year after leading successful online ad campaigns for the Australian Liberal party and the British Conservative Party during their countries’ elections.
      Both parties were successful. Topham Guerin have also been hired by the UK Government to front its own anti-Covid-19 marketing campaign, after the first round of ads were found not be ineffective………..
      ……….The firm specialises in creating viral content that gets spread rapidly on social media.”


  5. You need to spare a thought for our politicians on six figure salaries and allowances, as we are always being asked to ‘chip in’ to political parties coffers too, in particular Labour and Greens… Labour do love the charity auction but unlike the Natz have yet to be openly caught ranking the value of their donors by ethnicity for list MP seats.

    Skycity has also asked for donations for their sacked staff facing hardship. It’s so hard (sarcasm) when you only make a profit of 50-100 million+ and the taxpayer gave you gambling breaks against the current laws for their ill fated conference centre (so lucky it burnt down, what timing when it was so over budget to have that gas lamp going for 20 minutes on some cardboard on the contractors tea break!) and the insurance paid out. Can we revoke the gambling machines now, NZ?. We all knew it was a great bet to have that conference centre with the boom in tourism and all… sarcasm. Well that gamble seems to have paid out a lot more for Skycity than the taxpayers, insurance companies and citizens of NZ!

    As for Herald, they were giving their papers away not so long ago. Media seem to make more money in news from not telling the truth or not reporting the news while pretending you do, than actually bothering to run investigations or print original news.

    Much of the news from Granny’s online pay wall news, is actually free overseas news, verbatim, so just copy the headlines and paste and you can normally find the original free articles.

    Having public comments feedback is something that has not taken off in NZ media, because your advertisers and sponsors really DON’T want to hear what the public actually think….

    Media in NZ is about telling people what to think, which is why increasingly like Stuff, they need readers to chip in. Stuff are by no means the worst media company in NZ though!

    But NZ media approaches of propaganda and trivia overseas news does not have much value in people’s eyes and easily obtained elsewhere for free.

    Even if media companies are publicly funded, it all goes woke pretty quickly, aka RNZ making the most of jettisoning readers and listeners with their woke and political approaches in the last year.

    • You know what saveNZ…long before the internet had a name for it STUFF were “shadow banning” public commentary.
      One of the first websites to bring in “moderation” was Huffington Post.
      In fact many media stopped allowing public commentary after Trump won the US 2016 election, mainly because the self righteous media could not stand the fact that THEY were found wanting in their predictions and coverage….They just could not stand it!
      Then after the Mosque attacks here in NZ even more spaces for public discourse got removed…
      Now we a small group of individuals deciding for ALL OF US wants constitutes ‘hate speech” and are looking at amending the NZ Bill of Rights that under our current lockdown has been shown to be nothing more than a document with not a shred of solid ‘constitution’ in it.

  6. I laughed when I saw the Dom-Post asking for money. They should be paying us to read it.

    The last time they telemarketed me, I told the marketeer why I no longer took it and she agreed with me on every single point. Let’s hope that they don’t listen to the tapes.

    Having said that, buying a paper provides a focus for my after dark constitutional. Any paper will do so long as it’s not the Herald as I’m not that much of a masochist.

    They shouldn’t have dumped Robert Fisk in favour of stitch-droppers from The Suburban People’s Compulsive Telewatchers Association either. How to grow dandelions or pickle pea pods would be more scintillating.

  7. I must be missing something.
    If we had true public service broadcasting, anything to do with the COVID 19 announcements (or indeed things like Women’s refuges, or foodbanks, or the like) would be considered public service announcements and the cost accountants wouldn’t even figure in any of it (other than, perhaps the costs involved in production).
    Anyone know if TVNZ actually has the cheek to charge for the airtime?

  8. Public Service Media, RNZ/TVNZ in New Zealand is a misnomer. That’s the good news. The present government has totally failed to rectify the wasteland that poses as Public Broadcasting.
    They had 9 years in opposition to plan, and now after 3 years in power … that’s 12 years! Nothing.

  9. Nay,… you have a right to be grumpy.

    I’d rather that than be yet another un-analytical purveyor of the morning ‘ news’. And long may your coffee pot stay in electronic use.

  10. In the interests of full disclosure, I did receive an email back from Stuff with a mild apology and promising me (and I hope all subscribers) that no more such email will come my way. Apology accepted, please don’t do it again. Stuff should note the large number of views this story has had. People are watching.

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