MEDIAWATCH:  1 year of Stuff – Journalism as joyless as Bond’s genderless clothing range

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Weekly Editorial Meeting at Stuff 

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher taking time over big decisions

A year after buying Stuff for one dollar​, owner and chief executive Sinead Boucher has opened up about the welcome and not so welcome offers of support she received and the current state of the business.

Boucher has also cleared up one question about the sale, saying that she herself took on no personal liabilities for the publisher, such as its lease commitments, which instead remained with Stuff itself.

As such, Boucher was effectively gifted Stuff by its previous owner, Australian company Nine, she confirms.

“It really was as simple as that,” she says.

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When you consider the threats the Australian owned Fairfax was making to the Government at the time, promising to slash the public interest journalism Labour championed if regulators didn’t allow them to create a media monopoly, it’s hilarious how Stuff NZ has taken just a year to morph into the woke virtue signal of choice for grim middle class identity politics devotees.

It was an incredibly brave move by Boucher and she deserves enormous credit for creating the largest private employer of Journalists in NZ and there are many parts to celebrate.

Their must read political journalism – Luke Malpass, Andrea Vance, Thomas Coughlan (whose departure to the Herald is a coup for NZME) and Henry Cooke all provide genuine oversight and insight.

In terms of the columnists, Verity Johnson, Rosemary McLeod, Joe Bennet, Jehan Casinader, Martin van Beynen (whose stepping down is tragic) and Damien Grant are the only ones who keep surprising.

Stuff’s admission of how their coverage of Maori was problematic was courageous and worth congratulating. The way Maori infant deaths were covered compared to pakeha infant deaths led to the kind of knee jerk social policy that formed Oranga Tamariki.

Paying the workers a percentage of the company is also righteous !

The stuff interactive however is like a dumbed down Disneyland for the easily distracted. I hate it when I click on StuffPlay instead of an actual news story (why the fuck do I want to watch something I’ve already seen days ago online) and Stuff Nation is a home for the lonely.

Stories sourced from Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/TikTok that masquerade as journalism are punch in the face enraging.

The symbiotic relationship between Stuff’s journalists & woke lynch mobs creates an unholy conclave of word crime denouncements and cancellations while denying cancel culture is even a thing.

The woke middle class identity politics dogma Editorial position and the cacophony of intersectionist grievances fighting for hierarchy is as much fun as dental surgery using keyhole entry through your anus.

We get it, every man is awful, all white people are racist, ‘To kill a Mockingbird‘ is hate fiction, I promise to burn all my Harry Potter books, patriarchy, toxic masculinity, etc etc etc.

Sure the earth is melting and a handful of oligarchs own more than the rest of the planet, but let’s focus on why middle class women deserve more.

Alison Mau’s 10 billionth column on why men are shit should be celebrated with a live streamed castration.

It’s good that Stuff is now NZ owned and its journalism matters but it’s simply become another seat at the dinner party echo chamber of NZ on Air funded elite opinion that stretches from the Spin-off to RNZ. The same content, same voices, same questions, same agreed social narrative.

Same. Same. Same.

Stuff NZ adds to the growing political polarization, not diminish it.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. I find the attempt to get money by asking if the article “resonated” with me a bit creepy to be honest… From day one, I decide to wait until they showed me they were going to become a proper news agency, or just another bunch of suckholes… Option B won…

  2. Agree with the second half. There is nothing brave about unquestioning subservience to the current mainstream bullying narrative tho.

    Isn’t Vance an independent? Her column regarding government lack of transparency was a very rare very cutting piece of actual journalism for stuff.

    Generally though, do we need another non critical media outlet to parrot government spun press releases and cross post the same woke articles with newsroom and RNZ?
    No we don’t. I think the horse has bolted for NZ media, remove government assistance, its money wasted.
    If there are enough woke cultists that want to support them great, if not, fail like they deserve.

  3. The quizzes aren’t too bad, Bomber’s critique of stuff is correct. Except for the fact Rosemary McLeod is feminist wind bag.

    • I used to like the crosswords, and the Dom-Post was ever so much better for cleaning windows than the freebie community newspapers which have a less porous surface for absorbing winter’s condensation, but they’ll just have to do, and once in a while I score a wrong-delivery paper tossed along the street sealed in a plastic bag, and read it and find that somebody dear to me has died again, and for this reason alone, it may be advisable to stuff the trite Stuff scribblers, because I want to keep my friends alive as long as poss and not to find them dying in dying old craft forms.

    • Control denied – “Rosemary McLeod is a feminist windbag. “ Dunno why you’re trying to attribute gender issues to wind bags. Doesn’t stand to reason. But good luck with the quizzes anyway.

  4. “Stuff’s admission of how their coverage of Maori was problematic was courageous and worth congratulating”

    I found Stuff’s mea culpa absolutely cringe worthy and the way they threw past editors under the “you’re a racist white supremacist dinosaur” bus was both embarrassing and unprofessional.

    When I heard that some of the new people in Stuff were actively involved with BLM the jigsaw fell into place. Smart more buying a legacy media outlet and using it as a front to push your political narrative innit.

    Stuff’s columnists seemingly all inhabit the same vacuous echo chamber (apart from Martin VB who strayed from the party line occasionally and maybe thats why he is leaving) and now that Orange Man Bad is no longer in the picture they are having to work a little harder to come up with material for their columns.

    Still, with Stuffs infatuation with identity politics they still have a lot of (stale pale male) material to work with.

    Yeh Nah, NZ’s MSM is diabolically bad and of them all the only one I can bear for any amount of time is the ODT but even their standards are slipping

    • XstraightXedgeX: “I found Stuff’s mea culpa absolutely cringe worthy and the way they threw past editors under the “you’re a racist white supremacist dinosaur” bus was both embarrassing and unprofessional.”

      I completely agree. Just after that, we cancelled our subscription to the DomPost. Best decision we ever made. I looked unsuccessfully for an email address to use, to give in writing our reasons for cancelling, but couldn’t find one. So I called the subscriptions people. “This call may be recorded for training purposes” the auto message trilled. I do very much hope so, I said.

      Then I left the unfortunate staffer in no doubt about why we were cancelling. She attempted to defend what the organisation had done. I put her firmly in her place: it’s not your job to tell me what to think or how to think about societal and political issues. It’s not your job to apologise for what was said or written in the past, by people long dead. It’s your job to print the news without fear or favour. Given that you’ve shown you can’t or won’t do that, we withdraw our support.

      If you’re going to apologise for anything, I said, let it be about Stuff’s contemporary crimes against the English language. The misspellings, failure to know the meanings of some words, the grammatical howlers….

      I suspect that, given her attempt at defence of the organisation, they’d had a lot of angry subscribers calling to cancel.

      I note reference in the article above to infant and child deaths at the hands of their carers. It was down to Stuff coverage that I knew about the sheer numbers of the innocents who’d been killed. Not just Maori children: the whole range of them. It’s disingenuous to claim – as some do – that the coverage had been skewed towards Maori children. It simply isn’t true.

      • Bad luck D’ Esterre. The odd times that I get a telemarketing call from the Dom-Post, I outline my reasons for not subscribing, and thrice the caller has agreed with me, once exceedingly passionately. I go fairly easy on the callers, the males especially sound young and vulnerable, and cold-calling is hard yakka, and Bill English has trashed them enough already. (The English as a second-strongly -accented -language speakers should probably just be hung up on though, however diverse they may happen to be.)

        I’m fed up with them. I just had to go down to the mall and gather freebie community newspapers to clear the condensation from my blurred windows – the Dominion used to do quite a good job there.

  5. Totally agree Martyn, I switched off stuff at the start of this year after following it religiously from its inception. I found it was dumbed down and often written by dummies. Its one long virtue signal with an unearned air of superiority and I actually got a bit offended by some of the stuff that they were writing. So I deep sixed it. I hang here now and with Gordon and Chris when I need food for thought. Otherwise its a basket of foreign media for me. Quite partial to Al Jazeera which despite bias from time to time, really delivers some interesting stuff.

  6. And of course giving about $100mil to keep them alfoat (sorry covid payment) has a wondeful outcome that Labour and ministers have not only never asked the hard questions but Ardern never slated for terrible stats she promised at 2017 she would fix/sort/reverse but plenty fluff pieces on her and almost daily damming pieces on National…$100mil well spent, im sure if Nats were the Govt and did the same you guys would be apoplectic with rage.

  7. “middle class identity politics devotees…”
    “woke virtue signal…”
    “woke middle class identity politics dogma…”
    Yes. I agree to all that. A great posit @ MB. ‘Stuff’, like rnz et al are one more thing.
    They’re boring. They. are. b.o.r.i.n.g. and that, above all else, is the most unforgivable thing to be as a media entity. It means that the msm is either completely controlled by greater and higher forces and can only cough up beige in an attempt to hide terrible truths or it’s us who are boring and all the msm can do is dutifully report on that.
    Either way, it’s all a bit fucking scary.

  8. I like it. They ask me for money I don’t have citing democracy and equality. Never heard equality mentioned in a commercial theatre.

    I know Sanders got kicked in the balls for ignoring cultural wars but it’s best, personally and every other way, to concentrate on the main thing.

  9. Don Rickles did his racial humour well into this present time. Cultural crap, don’t make a thing of it. The Scotch were the Egors of the English; the Irish, the drain diggers and corrupt cops of a system they didn’t believe in. If you explain enough … Lets maintain the main thing first and last. Like Biden (unsuccessfully) is trying to do. He remembers Roosevelt and Johnson.

    The thing I’m agin only is the influence of mental case evangelicals — see Chomsky. Here we can be ‘for’ without fear.

    Your cultural tripe is annoying to me in the light of concentrating on the main thing.

  10. Stuff would do well to allow readers to comment in the column like they used to.
    Readers need to have a say.

  11. I suppose we could go back to the good old days where the dominionpost ignored the National Govt scandals and continually trumpeted our ‘rock star’ economy and charged people the price of their rag. It has been a long, long time since I actually purchased a newspaper because I can read most newspapers and media outlets views of the world on line for free. Complaining about free content seems a little churlish to me. On an average day, I read the crap spouted by Stuff, The Herald, Newshub, TVNZ, ZB, Magic, The standard, Kiwiblog, the Press. the ODT, TDB, CNN, Fox, BBC, The Globe and Mail, The Age and the Independent (cos I like their daily cartoon). They all have their particular slant on reporting (some more than others) and that is the way it has always been. Every so often I get outraged about a particular story and how it is presented, but can’t remember ever being outraged as much as Martyn about the ‘woke’. I struggle with how this outrage parallels with much of what I hear from the right. I’m not a fan of ‘punch with Judy’ style toadyism so I only give those stories a cursory read. Fanboy stories of a Labour Govt don’t sell advertising, so I always try to believe that it is a given that the editorial staff will slant things towards scandal to improve clicks, ratings and therefore cost to advertise. Stuff have done their sums and must believe there is a gap in the market for their new style. Talking to the kids of today, they may be right.

  12. Sinead Boucher comes to NZ as child, spends her early working career in Europe, before coming back to NZ with family to have children. Although she has little journalist qualifications gets gifted stuff for $1 without any liability for leases.

    It’s wonderful for those who have dual citizenship to make use of every opportunity, but less and less of the unfortunate victims and effects of mass globalisation are not published as all the editors around the world seem to fall into a similar vein of career development. Yep globalism might be good for some, but everybody flying around and milking the welfare systems and saying how wonderful all this is, will eventually destroy the concept.

    It would be better for NZ journalism, if Stuff had been gifted to someone who is actually more of a journalist rather than someone doing a 6 month journalism course, becoming an editor with content so insipid it’s like a soup of propaganda gruel from Granny (and no wonder sold for $1 from OZ parent company) https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/the-new-zealand-rose-who-became-a-media-mogul-1.4327660

    Stuff thus continues it’s woke feast celebrating more of the same woke content and enabling more of the same lack of journalism in the mainstream. Even when neoliberalism doesn’t work it still finds ways to continue to feed and monopolise it’s message that actually isn’t even commercial anymore judging by the $1 price tag!

  13. Stuff have become very biased. They did a puff piece on Laureen Hubbard is rising above the abuse she receives, (no I don’t support anyone being abused).

    Then when articles from overseas started to surface that female wrestlers were being told not to speak up about transgender, the article would appear on stuff for all of five nminutes, then disappear. So woke beyond belief!

  14. Yep, there is a problem about commenting on Stuff. Tried a couple of times, they wouldn’t let me through. And the limits on what articles you can talk about. Something wrong there, if their headline is right.

    • Sumsuch – Yes. I had years of letters printed, and occasionally being directly quoted in the Wellington ‘Dominion’, and then in the Wellington ‘ Dom -Post’, but have been silenced since an immigrant took over that newspaper.

      The ‘ Dom’ in it’s heyday, and ‘City Voice’ with the inimitable Simon Collins, was an interesting Wellington combo, even if one or two old Dom ed’s were philandering cultural jerks. They did allow the dissonance on local issues to be heard, and debated, and bandied about, and Dom did sometimes try to lead, but not always successfully.

      Now once again, the tangata whenua, – even if only fourth or fifth or sixth generation – may find little to relate to. I can’t say this with any great certainty, as I’ve not bought a Stuff publication since they started to tinker with this country’s history, and to behave like mail order agony aunts. I laugh each time I read an article inviting me to donate $1 for the dubious pleasure of having done so – occasionally hankering after those Sundays spent devouring various print media – the roast hogget days – with rosemary for remembrance.

  15. Stuff is not a major problem in the wider view really–when it seems like thousands of NZ people may have been persuaded to not get COVID vaccinations thanks to crazy shit spread on social media.

    Any media company under private ownership is going to cause trouble for working class people at some stage because their job is to deliver to shareholders, not fight for socialism!. Being into middle class aspirational and identity issues is surely fucking small beer when compared to the crimes perpetrated in the 19th and 20th centuries by most NZ media, like the NZ Herald the NZ Truth.

    Stuff’s new owner at least had the decency and courage to offer some apologies in regard to class bias and to Māori people in particular. Ethical capitalism is not possible in my view but good on her for trying.

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