Join the panel!


Kiwis' advice to media owners

20 Feb 17

Kiwis' advice to media owners
"They have brought this on themselves"
Media executives and journalists will probably dislike reading this. And it may be interesting to see how many report it.

But here are the unedited comments volunteered by scores of New Zealanders nationwide after completing a survey on a proposed merger between the country's two biggest media companies. If Fairfax and NZME have commissioned their own surveys on what the public thinks of their merger plan, then the results have not yet come to light.

Hence, Horizon Research's decision to self-commission the survey in the public intrest, given the proposal's importance to controlling how we find, report and receive news. The importance of the "fourth estate" is not lost on New Zealanders. The survey's results show a majority worried that too few will control what is reported as news.

In these verbatum comments left by many of the 1009 survey's respondents perceptive media owners and managers will hear calls for greater media strength. Survey results also indicate those buying newspapers  want them to continue publishing. Within that is an opportunity ...

As one put it, to media owners:

  • (If they) presented the media in a way that was non-judgemental, non-biased, factual, non-scandalous, non-sensational, egotistical, self-righteous, not always focused on putting down or vindictive, but be news that built up, strengthened community, praised, etc etc - maybe, just maybe people would take interest again & not be part of the 77% of people who think the media is dishonest. I’m not talking about controlling the media, I’m talking about changing the attitude of how the media is presented. They have done this to themselves...

One of the new start-up private news operations, Newsroom, quickly published the result.  The Herald online  and Fairax's Stuff online each published brief reports in their business sections on the evening of February 20. The National Business Review covered the survey quickly on February 20, along with an NBR Radio interview, asserting the merger applicants would have done well to poll their own readers, rather than earlier say the small number of submissions on the merger application indicated misgivings were largely those of their competitors.

You are welcome to add your view at our Facebook page.

And to join the HorizonPoll panel to make sure you are heard.

In the public interest, here are other verbatim comments from respondents.

·         a local newspaper is very important to small communities

·         A merger of media interests would be sure to result in job losses

·         a merger of media just gives control of what is or is not reported to their own agendas and who’s controlling them, it stops the real news being reported however most is just rubbish at the moment and sport that’s a diversion from the news we need to hear and often what is reported is already a bias and specific view point of what has happened and can't be trusted as true

·         A merger would lower the already abysmal standard of reporting in NZ. Investigative journalism and journalists are very thin on the ground, in fact, I think I could count them thumbs of one hand

·         Any changes to the media in the past have caused a dumbing down in journalism, such as when the Herald went tabloid - now there is much less news content.

·         I would prefer the two choices of media as it prevents a more slanted view of what's going on than would probably occur with it being merged and controlled by a few.

·         Business for all News Media would improve greatly should they start publishing the news without trying to tell the customer how to think. With Newspapers, the writers/papers opinion should be saved for the speciality sections like the Editorial and Letters to the Editor. Also the political persuasion of "the group" should stop being evidenced. 
There is sufficient real news in the world warranting publication but not being touched by our media. 
Too often there is a weight of nosey-parker gossip filling our media including in the headlines.
Our media needs to shake themselves up and lift their standards. . 

·         Competition in anything is great Only 1 company controlling what news we get is totally wrong

·         Competition is good for all things. Media would not become sloppy and would be more truthful. They would all try harder.

·         do not want news controlled by one group

·         Don't kill the jobs for the small business owners that work for the media. But the media needs to report the facts right the first time.

·         Events in United States demonstrate the incredible importance of media to hold those in power to account. In the end even one main monopolistic media source is less important than its independence from Government and major companies and organizations.

·         Excellent journalism is important and so far journalists in New Zealand produce very good in-depth investigations and people stories: e.g. the currently running "Under the Bridge". Instead of competing for the same story, I hope that a merger would free up more journalists to pursue the in-depth stories.

·         Fairfax already own most of our local papers... for them to own 40% of our mainstream papers would be a disaster. Enough of off shore corporate takeovers. How much of their profits are benefiting NZ? For sure it's all going straight back to AUSTRALIA.

·         Fairfax has a reputation for parroting International Socialist's fake news these days. There is no world news reported from a New Zealand perspective in print to read. How sad.

·         FB and Google do not have print editions. We do not really need printed newspapers. But we need competition in every format in which news is presented - on-line, radio, tv, and through social media.

·         free newspaper at local areas e.g. supermarkets are good save on deliveries costs

·         I think it is important that wellington morning paper and NZ Herald do not change I think what need mostly is more reporter because they put their life on line those reporter on TV they need protection so do it

·         I am assuming either wrongly or rightly that the TV news broadcasts have no connection to the printed ones.

·         I am finding it more and more difficult to take NZ print and visual media seriously; basic punctuation, grammar, overall editing and authorial intrusion seems to be getting worse. Furthermore, although I do still read and view mainstream papers and television or online news sources, I am increasingly reliant on the likes of Al Jazeera to provide more in depth, broader perspectives on global issues in particular.

·         I am not sure of the solution but focus on good stories as online is all click bait.

·         I believe that our democracy can only be protected if we have independent journalism; I know that how to pay for this is the question. i also think I might be tempted to read a newspaper online if it came in the newspaper format i.e. I always knew to find what i want to read, rather than a mishmash of teasers and difficulty in finding what i want to read.

·         I believe the quality of our news is deteriorating fast. We need to find a new / independent model to give us quality news and entertainment. How this is funded I'm not sure. But we need to think about this. Neither NZME or Fairfax are doing the job properly and of course the lowest common denominator will be catered for when cutting costs.

·         A merger of media will give us a slanted view from a smaller group as we are battered by TV, Internet, radio and the daily advertising in my letter box.

·         I do not feel that the public of NZ would be well served with only having one major news service. What would happen to all the little news items that are local to your area and are important for your wellbeing.

·         I don't have the knowledge to be sure if the merger of the media groups would be good or bad, but in principle I think it would not be in the public interest.

·         I don't personally read newspapers often, as no time, can't really afford and no daily delivery available in the rural area where I live. I get news from National Radio in the mornings and occasionally through the day at lunchtime and if driving, and from TV3 news at night. I enjoy reading the papers when I do see them though, e.g. staying at motels, and believe they are useful, valuable and should be supported to survive.

·         I don't purchase printed newspapers. I get my news online.

·         I get a Dominion subscription delivered and love it. I also visit both Stuff and NZ Herald websites, but also overseas companies. We need diversity.

·         I may be missing the point of the argument but I gain most of my info on the news from TV broadcast but back it up with study of the on line version of the Herald. I also daily check the Vancouver Sun and the Bangkok Post on line. There are parallels to Kiwi news in both newspapers, especially the Vancouver Sun for the Canadian perspectives on the housing crises that are very similar to those of New Zealand. I prefer to have that balance available rather than see things from just one perspective. For example, there has to be checks and balances or we could all wind up as "blind" sheep behind Trump, I hope not.

·         I may be old but reading a newspaper in print will always be better than reading it on an ipad or phone. just like how it’s better to read a book rather than on an iPad or kindle. You cannot have a monopoly in the area of news or journalism, it’s bad enough today that most journalists say they're not biased but yet use emotive language condemning a party and not the other, it'll be like Vodafone and Telecom merging ... not a good idea

·         I only read my absolute local free newspaper each week.

·         I read all News updates etc online as it is more up to date. I find the Newspapers are behind with News etc by the time they come out for sale. On the odd occasion when I have bought a paper the News is no longer News

·         I read the papers online, including international news, so I don’t think this would make a big difference to me

·         I realize that in this internet era newspapers face declining sales but it is still important that they continue to operate

·         I think it's correct, that NZME and Fairfax are struggling, on their own, to combat/compete with modern news delivery.
However, I don't think them merging does anything much more than creating another new monopoly in NZ. I know we're not a big country, but we already have too many monopolies.

·         I think that with advancing technology, newspapers will become obsolete.

·         I think the media is already printing propaganda to brainwash the masses. Receiving all our news from one source makes it easier for the elite to control us.

·         I understand why media companies are merging but such a shame that NZ won't have a NZ owned media company. The Australian's won't give a damn about NZ media, and the media service and coverage will become the poorer for it. Saying that, I infrequently purchase the Herald as the standard of the writing and journalistic aptitude and what is reported as news is crap - so probably it's a fair assumption that with AU ownership it will to slip downhill at a faster rate.

·         I used to buy the Dom Post but rarely read it .(was wasting money) I now only buy Tuesdays for the Weekly T.V, I know sales have gone down as often get offered a subscription for so many weeks at a greatly reduced rate. Recently was given 6 weeks T.V. Guide free but didn't change my mind to not subscribe..

·         I think that mergers give too few people a say in what news we hear, read or see. That is a dangerous situation and very much open to abuse, as history shows

·         I don't like the idea Australia would have 40.% would love to see 100% nz

·         if media merged perhaps they could focus on fact & detail rather than sensation

·         If the merger happens with more human values; then that merger will be stronger than the one set up with hard business values. The first cost more but last longer successfully, so it cost much less in the long run.

·         If they merge it would probably then impact on our local news as it could be overlooked in favour of news from bigger cities.

·         Imagine one religion being imposed upon the populace - that is what the NZME etc merger is trying to do

·         Independent media is needed for unbiased and wide ranging reporting and views.

·         It is nice to be asked.

·         It is not clear whether the local newspaper would still be available on line -if not, I would miss it greatly.

·         I've stopped relying on mainstream media for news as it is too often click-bait or opinion dressed up as news without disclosing the bias of the journalist. I expect both Fairfax and NZME will die out because of this rather than whether they can merge or not.

·         Journalism in this country is a sad state of affairs, the media companies have not adapted, and the public is woefully uninformed.

·         Lying media scum tell lies to the public all the time, and publish views that are opposite to what me and my community express.

·         main stream media need to stop being a mouth piece of the national party

·         media already is somewhat manipulated and further merger with one point of call - would cast more doubt on the media's ability to investigate and focus on facts - as opposed to alternative facts which seem to be becoming part of the reporting scene

·         Media still needs to be closely monitored as some of the reported information is not always accurate in detail.

·         Monopolies of any kind are bad news. So merging the media companies into one really reduces the chances of unbiased news reporting being done.

·         My local daily newspaper is the only independent daily in NZ - the Otago Daily Times, and would not be involved in any proposed merger

·         Nah the Taranaki daily News is now rubbish, only buy it to check if I am in death notices before I know it is safe to get up!!!

·         New Zealand media are already controlled politically and will only report on trending issues. Anything else, even important issues are often left unreported due to political manipulation.

·         News media in New Zealand is almost totally owned by overseas corporations to NZ's detriment. A vibrant NZ owned media is essential for effective dissemination of news.

·         Newspapers are still the way I find out about the world & local events. There's something about holding a paper & being able to flick back to other pages, & do the puzzles.

·         Newspapers have become opinion papers by writers whose opinions are meaningless. Would miss the daily crossword.

·         Don't trust the media to report objectively, don't buy papers, get my news online couldn't care less about mergers.

·         NZ is a small place and such mergers will only make it intellectually smaller.

·         NZ media are so liberal and biased that I have started watching overseas news. The media in NZ have lost the ability to be neutral and to present both sides of the story. They are only interested in there ideology. I am utterly disgusted with NZ Herald, and stuff website I refuse to use them for my news.

·         Obviously a merger will create a monopoly and no competition for pricing

·         People who profit are going ahead with the transactions weather we poll or not to be honest.
Money is power!!!
Power is money!!!
Hope my opinion matters.

·         Perhaps less media competition would mean fewer click-bait, sensationalist headlines and more thoroughly-researched and proofread articles instead. (But I doubt it.) I usually see items in NZ's media 2-3 days after I've already read it online, anyway.

·         Please don't stop publishing our local paper.... breakfast would never be the same!

·         Stopped getting our local Taranaki Daily News last year as it is now crap

·         Thank goodness the ODT is still an independent Newspaper.

·         The companies say we're not buying as many newspapers because of the internet - although this is partially true, if they still produced quality papers they'd find they'd sell more, instead of the tabloid/women’s weekly rubbish they now try and flog.

·         The creation of the Internet has changed the way of journalism & how news is portrayed. It is right here & now.

·         The global media in general are rubbish. There needs to be freedom of speech & there needs to be informative media but what we have at the moment is media who are spouting out crap for what I can only guess is to get ratings to get advertising to stay in business. If they presented the media in a way that was non-judgemental, non-biased, factual, non-scandalous, non-sensational, egotistical, self-righteous, not always focused on putting down or vindictive, but be news that built up, strengthened community, praised, etc etc - maybe, just maybe people would take interest again & not be part of the 77% of people who think the media is dishonest. I’m not talking about controlling the media, I’m talking about changing the attitude of how the media is presented. They have done this to themselves

·         The internet is taking over everything and other countries are taking a good chunk our advertising dollars that is not going to change if the merger goes ahead, after all Aussies take all the Fairfax profits and some Irish crowd take all of the Heralds profits. But good quality tradespeople work for these companies and their jobs need protecting. Plus we need our own newspapers published so we can advertise our goods and services, plus read our international and local news in the one place, plus study the Sits vacant pages, classified advertising is damn near non-existent now, we need the merger so these icons of NZ's publishing industry can continue. But I feel the war is already lost and that it will only be a few more short years before it's all gone down the bloody drain.

·         The issue more for me is the overseas ownership 40% of NZ merged companies

·         The local newspaper I get has alot of errors in it - spelling, grammar, etc - what happened to proof reading by humans - spell check does not always work!!! If you ask me the newspapers are all the same and not enough local (NZ) content in any of them. Too much focus on crime as leading articles

·         The main media, print and electronic, more or less world-wide, are so controlled now that this merger might make little difference. Look at the Trump situation. He may be an idiot, but so was Bush and possibly Regan. Only scared people react as strongly as this, probably ones who fear corruption will be exposed.

·         The media in NZ is completely out of touch. Due to this they are becoming irrelevant very fast.

·         The media in NZ is pathetic, we need real journalists telling us what is going on, sick of seeing nonsense that doesn’t apply to us, why did NZ Herald pull the story about John Key donating millions of tax payers money to the dodgy Clinton foundation, and why has he actually left as Prime Minister, we are being kept in the dark. Mushrooms.

·         The merger would have less affect for us as it does not affect the ODT

·         The news that interests me is available on BBC, and other International networks LONG before it is published by Stuff or NZH. Stuff is mainly a tabloid and only warrants a causal glance, and NZH too focused on sensational news and crap from the US.

·         The Otago Daily Times is one of the few truly independent newspapers in the county- not owned by huge media companies- we need more independent media companies, not less

·         The printed paper is very important for the residents in the care home where I work. They do not have access to website for news.

·         The quality of factual reporting has declined

·         The standard of journalism, but more so the standard of JOURNALISTS has deteriorated considerably in the last decade or so. Spelling errors, grammatical disasters, repetition, blatant bias et al seems to have become acceptable to the editors. Indeed, do we have editors that actually edit anymore?

·         The world should not be controlled by just a handful of companies/people// we must have competition//what about honesty rather than greed / all people are entitled and have the right to know what is in their food. This makes me very angry.

·         There are better places to get valued news

·         There has already been a huge deterioration in the quality of NZ journalism. Fairfax papers are constantly riddled with errors and duplicate stories since the loss of subeditors and even editors for regional papers. Both websites (NZH and Stuff) are more interested in gossip and soft news than providing quality writing on important news and issues.

·         There is no doubt that journalism has deteriorated but combining two of the largest print media companies will not improve the print media

·         Today's news media both printed and electronic has become the medium of opinion and political expression. There is no accuracy in reporting the true or correct facts, and all so-called news merely represents an essay of biased opinion from the editors. .Accuracy has disappeared and the credibility of all reporting vanished a long time ago.

·         Two things you didn't mention
a) The quality of journalism. You asked 'would it be good or bad for journalism."
The real question is how good is it now and would it get better. It’s not good now and it would only get worse. You need independence and you need competition. With a merged company you may say "You get more money for Investigative, responsible journalism' I disagree, the money goes to shareholders. We need an alternate voice, and we need competition. This survey will be being done on behalf of the Newspapers, not the Commerce Commission so I suggest these comments won't see light of day. Get my point. You publish what suits you. Journalism quality in NZ is varied - generally to the point of a Headline read - but there is very, very little investigative journalism, and NO good news reporting. Sensationalism sells and this is what we get. Run in and tell the headline without finding the real story. And Good stories - Never.
b) The problem with external internet based reporting from Overseas (YouTube, weather, Google, Yahoo and streaming and God forbid us Facebook - HELP is that it is frequently delayed (not live streaming) with a bent overseas twist, and invariably POOR QUALITY in its presentation and content. Good alternatives are Al Jazeera, BBC, the National programme but they cover little about NZ (other than the National programme). Overall I'm not keen on the merger.

·         We don't have a local daily newspaper.

·         We get very little local coverage now either online or in the newspaper. Newspaper news has all been reported online the day before. Small local community papers have a better coverage of local community events.

·         We have guidelines for mergers for a reason, we should not be allowing one company to have vast amounts of control over a business sector in this country and I think especially so when it's a foreign company we have no control over.

·         We have recently cancelled our subscription to The Timaru Herald, whilst continuing The Press, as since they have been owned by the same company there is a very high proportion of double-up.

·         Media is not giving us a good service as both channels now seem the same. Giving us the same edited reality

·         We live in an electronic age... this is bound to happen. The news is bad enough now... can only get worse... no faith in the media at all.

·         we need strong media outlets

·         We need to devolve media, not amass it. A lack of points of view is dangerous.

·         We should be cautious about monopolization of media within the country - regardless of the global influence; we need to be able to rely on unbiased media within the country.

·         World media is dominated / controlled by cartels - It makes no difference if these companies merge or not. Journalists do not have complete independence to report the truth.

·         Would be great to actually have some real journalism content in our news in general