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Concerning Stuff

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 11:54 am Tue 19th February 2019

Haven’t we all been concerned about Stuff, the news site, Stuff, that is?

Or frustrated, annoyed, at the very least?

We’ve even had few scraps here about how to confront the beast.

About 15 years ago I was sitting in a café in Ponsonby discussing journalism with a grandson of one of the Dominion Post’s most notable editors. He had grand ambitions of following in the footsteps of his forebear. The conversation would probably be amusing now given the rapid change since then. I have no idea what he thinks now, or could I have guessed, that I’d be making these observations now.

In 2017 I wrote the post Dangerous Stuff which in retrospect was probably as much commercial desperation as it was political manipulation. We have heard since of Stuff’s failed approach to government for funding and it’s possible sale.

I noticed today a new desperation at the bottom of a story I clicked into.

I just didn’t go there – I refuse to be click bait for such desperate advertising.

But this “Guy bangs me for 5 hours” Am I getting prudish in my old age, or am I rightly thinking … what the f..k is going on here? This website holds itself up as New Zealand’s flagship news site.

But wait, there’s more.

If you follow up on their links about this content you see the advertising is outsourced to an independent company and Stuff takes no responsibility for the content of that space. Really this is the kind of dodgy rubbish you’d expect to encounter on the website of some lone political voice desperate for funding.

The news is not what it used to be.

In an age where consumers source so much of their information online, and online publishing is cheap, new sources of funding have been quick to surface but will also be seriously challenging the continued blend of remaining print versions.
Amateur blogs (If that’s what we still call ourselves) and the rambling diologues of echo chambers probably also contribute to this financial stress; but who’s to blame for that?

Not to mention, the commercially twisted and painful algorithms of social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter that try to occupy the mind space of the easy distracted and impressionable user.

Advertising that used to pay journalists’ salaries is being gobbed up by data giants like Facebook and Google.

Is print news coming to a total collapse?

Do you still value your local paper?

I’ve been aggressive in bringing attention to linking and clickbait and I make no apologies for trying to defend some degree of truth and that’s before we even start on fake news.

But why should this be so important?

Looking back at the history of newspapers in the development of colonial New Zealand you see a different story. A contribution to commerce, society, development, and men talking to each other. The conversation that was carried out through these old papers has been gradually watered down and lost to money grabbers and politicians.

While there’s a global discussion, an international diologue on the future of journalism and media, there is one for us to have here at home on what the reading public want and expect.

It was mentioned here a few days ago that it’s very quiet around here on this blog. And maybe that’s just another indication of how much men have stopped talking to each other.


  1. Did anyone subscribe to the stuff newsletter?

    Now the Herald is talking about a political pay wall.

    Surely that opens the door smaller blogs owning a major share of opinion.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 19th February 2019 @ 1:33 pm

  2. In the international debate this pops up

    “The British government should require that Google and Facebook promote only news from reliable sources, argues a recent report.”

    What’s a reliable source?

    And the obvious question, who funds the reliability of the source?

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 21st February 2019 @ 6:27 am

  3. The fact that the murder of millions of Russians is not known shows that the media is in the hands of the perpetrators – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Comment by Frank — Sun 24th February 2019 @ 8:20 am

  4. News papers in second-world countries are well known for their obedience to the state, outside of what is normal to that society. Those awkward observations are often made by writers and the written word has landed many in goals of time, the best writers said to have died there.

    To draw a modern comparison, we could look back to our own Family Court around the turn of the century. New Zealanders could not know what they couldn’t see or weren’t told.

    Newspapers were hesitant to go there, although I do remember Garth George launching fourth with some home truths. Possibly he could get away with that because of his vocal dedication to God, and a religious perspective similar to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

    But then when Lauren Quaintance wrote from an investigative point of view, and wrote the article ‘Court of Injustice’, the publishing company was financially attacked and Quaintance, perhaps sensibly, and under some pressure, also went to America.

    These sometimes dramatic statements about large populations in far away places overlook the comparitive position in our own small population.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 25th February 2019 @ 8:32 am

  5. Court Of Injustice
    Published in June 2001 North & South
    By 2010 it’s expected that three quarters of all Maori infants and half of all Pakeha
    infants will be growing up in households with no fathers. A growing movement of
    angry men suggests the legal pendulum in the Family Court has swung too far against
    fathers who want an equal role in raising children after relationships go wrong.
    LAUREN QUAINTANCE investigates.
    Lauren Quaintance is a North & South senior writer

    And that’s how the fight started.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 25th February 2019 @ 10:48 am

  6. Are we going through a temporary blip in the feminist onslaught or are we actually seeing attempts at rehabilitation or perhaps delirium in the death throes.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 27th February 2019 @ 4:58 pm

  7. Stuff’s Australian owners have offloaded 160 of its regional papers across the Tasman and are still keen to shed our biggest publisher and website to the highest bidder.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 2nd May 2019 @ 6:09 pm

  8. And they’ve offloaded Tracey Watkins to the Sunday Stars Times.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 14th May 2019 @ 5:00 pm

  9. Evan @ 2 – what is a reliable source for news and information? – the Woman’s Weekly, all TV programs, TV news and all mainstream newspapers – those are supposedly reliable sources LOL. Anyone who looks at mainstream news 100+ years ago will see how easily we were led into two disastrous wars that were completely avoidable and that we will never recover from. In FACT, they were so avoidable it was almost impossible to start them.

    Comment by Frank — Tue 14th May 2019 @ 7:31 pm

  10. Probably a cross-section of Twitter.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 15th May 2019 @ 8:04 am

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