13 Feb 2019

Midweek Mediawatch 13 February 2019

From Mediawatch, 1:12 pm on 13 February 2019

Mediawatch's midweek catch-up with Lately. This week Colin talks to Karyn Hay about political committee chaos splling over into social media, some risky media marketing, the Huawei hoo-haa, a head-turning headline pun, and his tiny contribution to the great fire emergency of 2019.

Firefighters at the Wadestown fire

Firefighters at the Wadestown fire Photo: RNZ/ Colin Peacock

Committee chaos spills over into social media

Tracey Martin's 'small' rant on the select committee shambles.

MP Tracey Martin's 'small' rant on the select committee shambles. Photo: supplied / Facebook Tracy Martin

I’m going to Parliament tomorrow to see TVNZ’s top brass at a select committee hearing. I hope it goes ahead  - unlike the one that hit the headlines this morning: 'Shambles': Parties blame each other for cancelled meeting

National MPs walked out of the meeting in protest, accusing Labour of failing to get out of bed on time, while Labour says National MPs were being childish by standing outside the door and refusing to take part.

MP’s did what they do these days to get their side of the story out - they vented via social media.

National MP Andrew Falloon said it was a “shambles”.

"Bullshit. You stood outside the meeting. If you were inside it would have started. You chose to play games. Pathetic. " labour's Kieran McAnulty retorted on Twitter.

Clearly un-parliamentary language is OK onlie.

On Facebook, NZ First MP Tracy Martin posted “A small rant about the kindergarten behaviour of the National MPs this morning shot in her office.

It wasn’t that small - clocking in at 6 min 17 sec.  Lucky for her it was lo-res video - otherwise everyone would now know what her 'Number One KPI' is on the whiteboard behind her.

She - and many others  - make a good point about the time and money wasted, especially for those who came to appear before the committee.

But I don't think people approve of well-paid MPs wasting time scoring points on social media either.

Otago University law prof Andrew Geddis (also paid from the public purse) took to Twitter to point out that the committees are Parliamentary institutions not party political ones. Good point.

Risky media marketing

Man explains Kiwibuild's failure to A woman.

Man explains Kiwibuild's failure to A woman. Photo: PHOTO Twitter National Party

Today National rolled out a social media ad claiming Labour’s Kiwibuild is “all sausage, no sizzle.”

It features two blokes ate a barbie setting a young blonde woman straight about Labour’s bid to fix the housing crisis. 

The message that the scheme has so far failed to fire failed gets across but  . . . It’s a bit of a sausage-fest.

I’m surprised they risked putting out something out on social media so likely to draw fire for ‘mansplaining.’  

The dreaded 'optics' are a bit similar to this recent case in Australia ( . . . though to be fair not as bad a case as this one today from the UK)

Coincidentally the jobs of Senior Digital Advisor and Senior Social Media Advisor in the National Party Leader’s Office are both vacant - applications close tomorrow.

 RNZ's taking a chance with this slogan.

RNZ's taking a chance with this slogan. Photo: PHOTO / RNZ instagram

Another outfit taking a risk with a bit of promotion is RNZ with its first first ad campaign in years.

It’s targeting Aucklanders with slogans on billboards and social media.    

“For an ad-free station this is a big billboard,” says one.  Another promises “drivel-free” drive time radio.

But the slogan “We have serious issues” is a bit of a hostage to fortune. It would be a gift to picture editors if a truly serious RNZ issue hits the headlines.    

Huawei hoha hoo-ha

Huawei advertisement

Photo: Supplied

Also going big with billboards, full page newspaper ads and digital advertising is Hauwei, the Chinese tech company shut currently out of building New Zealand’s 5G network.

The Chinese company has taken out ads reading '5G without Huawei is like rugby without New Zealand'.  

A click on the “find out more” button on online versions takes you to some interesting reading.

The blurb on the webpage doesn’t really tell you why our government - and others around the world - have declined to do business with Huawei on building netwrks - the fears that Beijing would use the company to spy on communications.

But it does have a fascinating Q&A section addressing these questions:

What is Huawei’s response to the Department of Justice charges on 28th Jan 2019?

Has Vodafone decided to end its relationship with Huawei?

What is Huawei’s response to the events in Poland?

I didn't know about the Polish issue til now.

The PR site also links to news stories about Huawei in the media, including a startling Australian Financial Review story:

"All the evidence before the spy bosses at the dinner in Canada pointed to a rising superpower mounting the most comprehensive campaign of espionage and foreign interference that any had witnessed.

The Communist Party was aggressively exporting a worldview that was hostile to democracy and actively sought to undermine it.

A new Great Game was afoot and the West had been slow to act. But it is acting now."

“Many in the West fear Huawei because the company is too good at its core business.

Recently, New Zealand tech writer Bill Bennett on his blog argued people and governments in the west misunderstand the company  Huawei: what no-one wants to tell you.

"Huawei has a clear technology lead over its main rivals in this sector. Off the top of my head, I’d say from what I’ve seen and heard from Huawei, the company is anything up to 18 months ahead of rivals," he says.

"The company also has a cost advantage over its competitors. Whether you think this is a fair cost advantage or not is neither here nor there. When has business success even been about fairness?,” he asks.

Bill Bennett discloses he has “traveled to China and elsewhere as Huawei’s guest on three occasions.”With this - and all the newspaper and digital ads this week, the company is at least investing in New Zealand media - sort of.

Dick pun for dick pick yarn

The Big Apple's top tabloid wasn;t the only one running puns on Pecker.

The Big Apple's top tabloid wasn;t the only one running puns on Pecker. Photo: PHOTO / Twitter

The world's richest man Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has accused the owner of US trash tabloid National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him over lewd pictures.

Journal of record New York Times chose the headline: “Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer’s Owner of Blackmail” - but the chairman and C.E.O. of A.M.I. is Mr David Pecker so the tabloid New York Post plumped for with “Bezos Exposes Pecker.”

Fnaar, fnaar.

Actually the Huffington Post beat them to it.

The New Yorker says HuffPost's reporter Hayley Miller was on heading home, her phone running out of battery and her reception going in and out between subway stations, when one of HuffPost’s employee Slack channels broke out in a headline brainstorm.

"She hesitated before sharing it. On one hand, she said, “I was just, like, Oh, my gosh, this is gold—got to do this.” On the other hand, she considered, “Do I want to bother my colleagues with another dick pun?” In the end, she went for it. “Trusted my gut, I guess,” she said.

The New Yorker says she was “willing to accept that great minds had arrived at the same idea simultaneously.

I still reckon this RNZ headline is the best of the year so far. Ice Ice Naseby: Curling qualifiers put summer on ice.

Fire and photos

Firefighters at the Wadestown fire

Firefighters at the Wadestown fire Photo: RNZ/ Colin Peacock

While the fires in Nelson and Tasman region have dominated domestic news this past week, I had my own brush with a tiny and less newsworthy fire in Wellington near my place last weekend.  

I got up there and sent some photos and updates to RNZ. My kids got quoted by Stuff.

But watching Stuff photographer/visual journalist Ross Giblin at work reminded me of the interview Jeremy Rose did with Herald chief photographer Brett Phibbs for Mediawatch last weekend.

He’s stepping down because he’s not finding the job creatively satisfying anymore. He’s tired of having to rush quick images up onto the web, capture and edit video and vox pops asap. Too many tasks to any part of the job properly he says.

My mobile phone fire pictures were proof of what he said about journos taking sub-standard snaps.

Ross Giblin's pics were the real deal - as was the video he shot for this story.

But the experience also totally backed up Brett’s point about multi-tasking photographers having to do too many jobs at once.