Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Media not blameless in climate of "financial fear"

At the best of times the mainstream media in New Zealand struggles with the full unvarnished truth.

At the worst of times this struggle comes at a cost, not to the media outlet but to the individuals at the other end of the story.

Business media coverage in New Zealand can be the worst branch of the mainstream bunch.

They rarely know what the heck they are talking about, usually from an ignorance of business and/ or their knowledge comes from a book rather than practical experience.

Accuracy and ethics are often practiced with a very light hand when it comes to the coordination of the brain to the pen and often sacrificed for more viewer eyeballs or paper sales.

Why the hard word on mainstream journos Darren?

Well, let me tell you and please read carefully because what I am saying is true.

I have a healthy disrespect for the media as a whole but the coverage of the financial turmoil the world has been experiencing over the last 2 years or so has left me with my disrespect hanging in tatters around my ankles.

Mainstream media emphasize the negative ad nauseam that is because the more they do the more product they sell.

Sure things are bad but half the worlds problem at the moment is fear, a fear that is being somewhat artificially stimulated by green journos with a company axe to grind.

This clearly doesn't help our current situation and now more than ever there is a requirement to be deadly accurate.

The reason for writing this in the first place was motivated by an incident that happened to one of my clients a week or so ago and it involved a young woman journo from the New Zealand Herald/Newstalk ZB using "off the record" information from her subject (after cold calling) specifically asked by the subject not to use that information but did so anyway.

Not only was the first request by the subject not to use the information ignored but the report was highly inaccurate.

The aforementioned "news" piece subsequently sparked a week long agony as the subject of it had to take hundreds of calls from suppliers asking if their company was going out of business, including, I must say with much shame, myself.

Jobs and a reasonable sized business were at stake and if a story were to be done first, the subject's permission is required and the story needs to at least reflect the truth of the matter.

It aint always about selling advertising boys and girls.

Sometimes it is simply about people's lives.

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