Announcing The Mediocres

Had I attempted to file a story which cast aspersions on someone and included the statement “There is no evidence to support this impression,” the report says. when I was working for a newspaper I’d have been told to find some proof and re-read the law on defamation.

Had I attempted to file a story questioning the timing of a marriage I’d have been told that it is not a journalist’s job to seek and report on the feelings of grieving friends and relatives.

It’s only a few weeks since I asked what’s happened to the gatekeepers?

These two stories from the last couple of days are just the most recent examples which show that either the gatekeepers have gone or they’ve lost the ability to differentiate between news and gossip.

The Qantas Awards celebrate what’s supposed to be the best in New Zealand journalism. Cactus Kate questions that which made me think: the Skeptics have an annual Bent Spoon Award,  Fair Go has its Worst Ad Award,  is it time for a competition to find the lowest of the low in the media?

I think it is and am using the working title of  The Mediocres for them; but I’m open to a name which better illustrates that the award  is not for journalism which isn’t good, it’s for journalism which is really bad.

I’m open to suggestions of who could judge theses awards and the criteria to be used.

Macdoctor’s definition of spam journalism: The spurious use of sensational headlines to add spice to an otherwise pointless article would be a good starting point – he’s already up to #32 in his series. But there’s a lot more to bad journalism than headlines which aren’t supported by the facts in the story.

In the interests of inclusion there will be a category for blogs too.

Monkeywithtypewriter thinks it’s time to consider a voluntary code for blogs. I don’t think that would work because those likely to adhere to the code will blog responsibly anyway and those who don’t won’t. But a Mediocre would stick a badge of shame on the worst.

The award needs a name, judges, judging criteria and nominations – your views and suggestions are welcomed.

P.S. If there’s a category for published typso typos in blogs I’d have to nominate myself.

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10 Responses to Announcing The Mediocres

  1. artandmylife says:

    I think Poneke would make a good judge

  2. dave says:

    The media used to have gatekeepers. They were the experienced people who used their intelligence and judgement to decide what was news and what wasn’t.

    Now the gatekeepers are the editors that are writing some of the stories. Like today’s one by the assistant editor of teh HOS.

  3. Paul Walker says:

    I would suggest a category for the “worst piece of economic journalism”. But how bad most economic journalism is in this country it would be very hard to select just one for the award.

  4. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    VEry good idea HP

    What’s in a name? Lots.

    I quite like The Mediocres. Wonder if The Mediacres would work? Maybe the Mediacrities?

    Needs to be simple. Print media is the easiest target perhaps with radio second. Radio stations seem to keep their news items on websites for some time.

    Not sure if it’s a smart thing to have a whole lot of different categories. The sort of crap we’ve seen today is pretty easy to spot in any field. Why not have them all tossed into one bucket? Politics, Economy, Sport, Agriculture, Crime.

    I’ll volunteer to be a judge. I reckon you need a panel of four or six with half from the right and half from the left and the one in between is a Methodist. (joke)

  5. Rob Hosking says:

    Add my vote to ‘The Mediocres’. The name is perfect for what you’re trying to get across.

  6. macdoctor01 says:

    Excellent idea, HP. I would like to suggest that the statuette that you give out should be in the form of a golden cow pat.

    I’m sure your farm has suitable material for a model…

  7. What an excellent idea.

    I don’t think the Mediocres is a strong enough name, though, for the worst of NZ journalism. Perhaps the Gutter Press Awards?

    As for the judges, it would be good to have at least some former senior journalists who have been editors (magazines should be represented as well as newspapers) or near that level, and who are not too cranky. I hesitate to nominate myself with a mere two Qantases to my name, but definitely HomePaddock herself, Karl du Fresne and Poneke. No currently practising journalists, I think.

  8. homepaddock says:

    Macd – given what it’s for it might be more appropriate if the pat comes from a bull.

  9. homepaddock says:

    Stephen – Art & My Life also nomintated Poneke, and I agree he’s well qualified for the task. Karl Du Fresne is another good nominee but while I apprecitate the compliment I don’t belong in that august company. Adolf nominated himself without mentioning any Qantases so you with two should definitely be considered.

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