Taxpayer funded competing with taxpayers

March 5, 2020

Taxpayer-funded RNZ is running an advertising campaign which doesn’t tell the whole truth:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Radio New Zealand’s use of taxpayer money for misleading advertising suggesting New Zealanders do not have to pay for its content, unlike other media organisations.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “The idea that we don’t pay for RNZ is ridiculous. Unlike other media organisations, all New Zealanders are forced to pay for RNZ.”

“Private platforms also present a much more diverse range of views and perspectives.”

“In addition to being dishonest, RNZ’s advertising is an underarm bowl to those private media organisations, many of which are kneecapped by the state subsides for RNZ and TVNZ.”

Example of RNZ online advertising:

 

We’re all paying for that premium content through our taxes whether or not we listen to it.

Galling as these advertisements are to taxpayers, they’re worse still for those with which the state broadcaster competes:

 Stuff recently campaigned on the value of journalism.

Billboards, bus backs, paid social posts – it was everywhere. RNZ drove its message so hard it even featured in a digital display in Stuff’s own lobby. Trolling maybe?

The message was right, but only in part. RNZ doesn’t run ads. RNZ doesn’t have paid subscriptions for its content.

This, though, is only because it doesn’t need to.

You already pay for its content through your taxes, so its journalism doesn’t need to be either ad-funded, like ours is, or supplemented through a paid content model like, say, the NZ Herald.

It’s simple:

    • Commercial media make money through ads and subscriptions, which they then use to pay for public interest journalism.
    • Public media are Government-funded to pay for public interest journalism.

But, like newsrooms the world over, the advertising and subscription revenues commercial media once thrived on no longer sustain the number of journalists we once could. As audiences have shifted from newspapers to websites, so have advertising dollars. But the slice of the pie left for news organisations is tiny after the giant global platforms like Google and Facebook take their share.

In short, funding journalism, especially in regional New Zealand, has become increasingly hard. The pursuit of a new, sustainable business model to support journalism is something that is common across competitors; one galvanising connection that brings us all together. . .

Plurality of journalistic voices is deemed in the public interest. RNZ is chartered to serve that public interest. It is its purpose to serve an audience, not to compete for audiences; audiences which in one way or another are needed to fund the great journalism created by many organisations and many companies across New Zealand each and every day.

Journalism and mainstream media are under threat from digital platforms and social media.

Struggling businesses don’t need the taxpayer-funded outlet which competes with them.

The unfair competition from the state-owned Landcorp has been a bone of contention for farmers but at least it hasn’t run a campaign putting down private sector competitors the way RNZ is. That it’s doing it with what isn’t the whole truth makes it worse.


Log in left eyes

August 19, 2015

Winston Peters started the criticism of Mike Hosking as a National Party stooge.

Labour leader Andrew Little and Green co-leader James Shaw joined in, followed by several left wing bloggers lamenting bias in the media, especially on state-owned TVNZ.

Hosking has an unlikely defender in Brian Edwards who says rather than being right-wing he’s a social conservative.

. . . While I’d be surprised to discover that Hosking is a closet member of the Parnell, Remuera or Epsom branches of the Labour Party  – total membership five! – I’d also risk my bottom dollar that he isn’t a member of any political party. This is, or should be the default position for any broadcaster working in the field of news or current affairs.

What Hosking betrays on Seven Sharp, on commercial radio and in his writing is not political bias but social conservatism. The two may overlap from time to time, but are inherently different. It’s entirely possible and even commonplace to be left wing and socially conservative. . . 

Whatever his views, isn’t it strange that many of the people who are so upset by Hosking thought it was absolutely marvelous that John Campbell who wears his left wing heart on his sleeve was appointed to state-owned RadioNZ  National.

Perhaps the log in their own eyes blinds them to their hypocrisy and to Hosking’s professionalism.

Both he and Campbell are very good interviewers who are more than capable of putting their own views aside to ask tough questions of people across the political spectrum.

 

 


7/10

August 15, 2015

7/10 in Radio NZ’s flag quiz.


Espiner to replace Robinson

December 30, 2013

Guyon Espiner is to replace Geoff Robinson when he retires from Morning report next year.

. . . Espiner has been a political editor for Television New Zealand and the Sunday Star-Times, and has presented TVNZ’s Q + A programme on Sundays.

He also worked on TV3 programmes The Vote and 3rd Degree and has been in journalism for 20 years.

Radio New Zealand’s chief executive Paul Thompson described Espiner as an incisive interviewer with an impressive career and impeccable journalistic credentials. . . .

When I did the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme we visited Radio NZ while Morning Report was on air and were able to speak to Robinson afterwards.

I asked him what made a good interviewer, he said, one of the most important attributes was being a good listener.


Collins paying own way

April 3, 2012

Confession time – when I heard that Judith Collins was suing Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little and Radio NZ for defamation I wondered if it would be better to let the matter drop.

Such is the low esteem in which most politicians are held, it’s not easy for them to prove their reputations have been damaged and I thought the suit was a waste of time and money.

But Stephen Franks has changed my mind:

Such plaintiffs serve the public interest in upholding the integrity of public debate. If there is no sanction for lying in the exercise of free speech, a kind of Gresham’s law may prevail. The person determined not to lie may be destroyed by the colour and effectiveness of ever bigger lies.

It’s very easy for MPs to insult someone’s integrity but that doesn’t make it right. It could be seen as a form of bullying and the best way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them.

They are probably hoping she’ll back down, but she’s said she’s continuing with the defamation case and she’s using her own money to do so.

Even if the Cabinet manual allows for public funding of law suits of this nature, I don’t think it would be the best use of scarce funds and am pleased the Minister will be paying her own way.


About that poll

October 19, 2009

A new comment on an old post reminded me that I’d forgotten my offer to set up a poll to pick the Blog Award for Radio NZ.

The offer was made after Radio NZ said it couldn’t afford to enter this year’s New Zealand Radio Awards.

I nominated Jim Mora as broadcaster of the year and  Afternoons  and Country Life for best programme.

Others nominated Brian Crump, Media Watch and Peter Sledmere.

Any further nominations should be made today and I’ll set up a poll tomorrow.

Since I offered a box of Whitestone Cheese to the winner/s and my generosity knows considerable bounds I’ll stipulate nominations must be restricted to two categories – one for people, best broadcaster, and the other for best programme.


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