10 Apr 2019

Mediawatch Midweek 10 April 2019

From Mediawatch, 5:43 pm on 10 April 2019

Mediawatch’s weekly catch-up with Karyn Hay on Lately: This week Colin Peacock talks to Karyn about a student paper pulling up trees in Dunedin; arguments over archiving extremists’ content online; new multimedia content for RNZ funded by you; Brexit,bananas - and a veteran radio host calls it a day.

ZB’s curmudgeon king drives into the sunset

Larry Williams.

Larry Williams. Photo: supplied / NZME

After 27 years hosting Newstalk ZB’s Drive show, Larry Williams is retiring.  

He follows fellow curmudgeon Leighton Smith who left the station late last year after 33 years on ZB’s morning shift.

This will mean some adjustment for ZB listeners accustomed six hours each weekday hosted by two gruff, grumpy older guys.

Drive was a news show, not talkback, so Larry doesn't give his opinion all the time. But when he does you know exactly what he thought.  

Apparently he used to be a traffic cop in Timaru. Makes sense - he often sounds like he’s telling off someone for breaking the rules.

ZB usually flags these end-of-an-era changes months in advance in order not to alienate the conservative audience, but Larry is not hanging around. He’s off on April 18.

But like Leighton’s stage-managed departure, Larry and the company spent a lot of time telling his listeners how he’d tried to quit years ago but the bosses wouldn’t let him.

Larry says he doesn’t know who will replace him so night time host Marcus Lush asked his listeners who they wanted. They nominated politicians including Winston Peters and  Jami-Lee Ross. And the Mad Butcher.

Careful what you wish for

By the way, Larry was was also a major fan of Cameron ‘Whale OIl’ Slater, having him on opinion slot The Huddle often even after Dirty Politics and a series of court cases lifted the lid on his methods and motivations.

Wrong side of history there . . .

Critical mass

This week's headline-making sex issue of Critic.

This week's headline-making sex issue of Critic. Photo: supplied

Otago University’s student paper Critic is on fire right now.

Last month, it broke broke a story about sexual harassment and assault at one of its most prestigious colleges.

Nine To Noon led with the story earlier this month, spending half an hour on it. Critic has followed through with more claims.  Yesterday RNZ reported a former student who lived there claims she was raped in her room five years ago but didn't tell anyone because she believed her complaint would be dismissed.

Critic Te Arohi's News editor Esme Hall and editor Charlie O'Mannin have also shed light on weird traditions of the College.

Some are initiation-type rituals and uptight dining room rules  - and until 2015 women were only allowed to use the billiards room with permission from a man.  Here’s a short version of the story’s main points.

Coincidentally, Critic hit the headlines in Dunedin this week for its annual Sex issue.

On Sunday morning, editor Charlie O'Mannin posted a picture of the cover which featured 24 naked students.

“Facebook took just 20 minutes to remove a post showing a group of naked people on the cover of the University of Otago's student magazine,” says Stuff

O'Mannin requested information about Facebook's review of the post, but heard nothing from the company.

Its quick response to remove the magazine cover contrasted starkly with its response to the livestream of the Christchurch mosque shootings on March 15.

Charlie O’Mannin and his team clearly know how to create and cover news on their patch when they see one. And they’re only seven issues into the year . . .

Coincidentally, last week I happened to pick up the annual sex issue of Victoria’s student weekly Salient.

It went back to the archives and analysed the sex issue in 1986.

Salient's 'Girl of the Week' in 1963.

Salient's 'Girl of the Week' in 1963. Photo: Salient

Some of the language is a bit stilted:

“Mature dependence implies an ability to become dependent when necessary and not to become stuck or trapped in that dependence once the need has passed. In a relationship mature dependence means each partner acknowledging, respecting and (as far as possible) meeting the other’s need for support without entrapping, and also respecting the partner’s need to not be dependent. So, there will be  flexibility, a degree of negotiation and a feeling of freedom without isolation within the relationship”.

But Salient’s Max Nichol siad the main message from 1986 still stands. Good to know . . .

Unlike Salient’s “Girl of the Week” on page three in 1963, “an openly horny concession to a time when Vic’s student body was 75% men.”

Oh dear.

Digital content for RNZ paid for by you

Photo: Supplied

25 multimedia projects have now been funded through the NZ On Air / RNZ Joint Innovation Fund accounting for $4.6m of the $6m allocated by the government after the last Budget.

From the bigger budget Signature Projects category (“for major productions of interest to a broad audience”) is NZ Wars: The Stories Of Taranaki.

This is a follow-up to the the award-wining The Stories Of Ruapekapeka which was produced by TV company Great Southern Television for RNZ.

It will be a 30 minute show plus podcast with online features for the RNZ website.  The budget is “up to $536,982” which is a lot, but if the quality and delivery is as good as Ruapekepeka it will work.

Conviction (up to $309,957) is a 10-episode podcast revisiting a significant NZ court case. Do we need another true-crime / court case podcast?

A bigger risk is Alice Snedden Presents: Outsiders And Insiders:“an issues-based comedy current affairs show” by The Spinoff for RNZ. Alice Snedden is very funny but at $390k for eight 12-minute episodes, it will have to be better than the Spinoff TV series last year.  

NZOA is also funding a news show for kids. Long overdue.

Archiving extremist content

An image from a video purportedly showing the execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

An image from a video purportedly showing the execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Photo: AFP / HO / Al-Furqan Medii

On Mediawatch this weekend we’ll look at the ongoing pressure on social media companies that spread terrorist content like the Christchurch gunman’s video and manifesto.

Some pundits reckon Jacinda Ardern is prepping for a role in global tilt at reining Facebook and others in Silicon Valley. We’ll see . . .

But in an episode of WNYC’s On the Media show all about media responses to the Christchurch atrocity and extremist and terrorist digital content, I heard about ‘Jihadology’ - an online resource that archives it.

"Jihadology is a scholarly repository of jihadi videos, edicts, posters and speeches documenting first the breathtaking expansion and now dramatic setbacks of the self-proclaimed "Islamic caliphate". Many journalists and researchers rely on the site to understand the motivations and future plans of groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Al-Shabab. Others say the site's open access does more harm than good."

Rukmini Callimachi covers ISIS for the New York Times.

“It has become an invaluable resource I believe for academics and scholars who are trying to study the jihadi landscape," she told On The Media.

"It's a place that warehouses, the videos and the statements of these groups, that are of course being taken down online by YouTube, by Facebook, by Twitter etc, in the interest of not finding a greater public.”

“There are a number of people who speak about this material without actually having any real knowledge of how the radicalization process works,” she said

“You'd have to basically shut off the internet to be able to completely shut down the way through which young aspiring jihadists make their way to--to this ideology and then to the violence that incites,” she said.

Bugling the bungling of Brexit

Andy Zaltzman, Brexit satirist and The Bugle's main man.

Andy Zaltzman, Brexit satirist and The Bugle's main man. Photo: supplied

Every day the Brexit news seems to be the same: UK PM Theresa May clinging to power but unable to get MP’s to agree to anything to make Brexit a reality while deadlines loom - and are blown.

Andy Zaltzman’s The Bugle podcast (founded as a co-pro with John Oliver before he went to US and HBO) is still going strong on Brexit.

Last week he was live in Edinburgh summing it up like this: “Theresa May is like a firefighter trying to put out a burning petrol station by throwing her third and final banana at it - and shouting: “I feel lucky!”

A vivid image for our times  . . .