There is growing concern about the decline in media standards throughout New Zealand and the repetition of material from Fairfax and NZME in their many publications and online sites. Amy Brooke has taken action.
Amy is a columnist and socio-political commentator with over 20 children’s books published to date. Convenor of the 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement, her biographical details can be found at www.amybrooke.co.nz
Letter to the Editor: On my way
I confess it’s with considerable relief that I’ve now cancelled my subscription to the Nelson Mail.
It’s taken me a very long time to do this (and I still must follow up my complaint to the Press Council), but I felt at this stage that I had little choice. It’s a shame to see how basically third-rate, non-objective and biased this newspaper has become – as have all in the Stuff stable, I understand, from feedback all over the country.
I used to review for the Nelson Mail (as well as for the Christchurch Press, National Radio and so on) under a very good editor. We got on well – he was basically an historian, well-educated and fair-minded. We had some great discussions.
It was the same when I wrote as a columnist for the Dominion for seven years, under one of the old school newspapermen with an insistence on facts, correct language usage, and fair, independent commentary. (It was a pleasure to be taken to lunch whenever I got to Wellington!)
That the Stuff media chain, including the Nelson Mail, is now foisting off on the unfortunate public Joel Maxwell’s obsessive Maori triumphalist columns and ridiculous adolescent crudeness shows how little it understands what has been lost.
Going further down hill
The change from quality newspaper writing to feel-good, think-bad, basically trashy print media is a great shame.
This has certainly happened to the Mail under your watch – although to be fair, it had already been sliding downhill.
But it’s certainly accelerated with other under-educated journalists, consistently slanted “news”, and a barrage of utterly one-sided political cartoons – plus the rubbishy “The Little Things”.
Worse has been the deliberate suppression of good, relevant letters when you or someone on your editorial team doesn’t like them.
Doing the reading public a disservice
This has been one of the most important ways in which you have let down the reading public: i.e. the inexcusable withholding of letters to the editor from well-informed, very highly regarded correspondents.
They have presented facts which you have not allowed Nelsonians to access – even when it has been a question of correcting highly politicized assertions from those with an activist agenda.
When, in addition, the paper is padded out with trivial, unimportant, Women’s Weekly-type reading – with much that is very important in the world today never presented – it’s time to call it a day.
Muggeridge got it right
We’re at the stage where Malcolm Muggeridge’s warning about the degradation of the media comes to mind.
Noting the downward spiral, this highly experienced newspaperman warned that with the increasing degree of ignorance and dearth of balance in commentary – in short, the lack of well-informed, genuinely literate, well-educated journalists and columnists – the impression would be that the adults had gone.
As he foresaw, so many pushing their own simplistic, know-all “thinking” would give the impression that the children were now running the show.
He was right, and this country is not well served by this deterioration in media standards – to which the Nelson Mail is very much contributing. It’s a shame that this has happened to a once interesting and useful community newspaper.
I have no doubt that nothing I’ve said here will make any difference to the downward slide of the Stuff media, but do know that all over the country others agree – which is certainly contributing to the abandoning of the print media and the loss of subscriptions.