Author Archives: newswirenz

NZ Herald and Campbell Live test Takutai Moana waters

BERNIE WHELAN: Much of the focus of debate about the Government’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill has been on Maori potentially denying access. Reporter Yvonne Tahana and photographer Richard Robinson from the New Zealand Herald, and Campbell Live’s Tristram Clayton test the waters and find out it is mainly non-Maori property owners standing between Kiwis and their beaches. READY MORE>>, WATCH>>

Making sense of WikiLeaks’ document bombshell

WIKILEAKS’ latest leaks are searchable online at The Guardian in an  impressive interactive infographic/database. The Guardian also has a terrific lead story on the diplomatic cables release here.

Blogger No Right Turn has just tweeted that 1490 diplomatic cables  in the document dump originate from Wellington. This is another big moment in journalism, with The Guardian again apparently leading the way.

Honey, I shrunk The Times to a newsletter

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: With non-subscribers prevented from reading The Times on the web, changes are being forced on the content, argues Clay Shirky, author and teacher.

Links to Times stories are rarely forwarded by colleagues or friends or linked to from Facebook or Twitter, says Shirky, adjunct professor in New York University’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program.

On his self-titled blog, he argues the paywall has created “newsletter economics”, and offers some analysis of the readership data. Shirky sees the Times becoming “the online newsletter of the Tories, the UK’s conservative political party, read much less widely than its paper counterpart”.

He concludes:

If you are going to produce news that can’t be shared outside a particular community, you will want to recruit and retain a community that doesn’t care whether any given piece of news spreads, which means tightly interconnected readerships become the ideal ones. However, tight interconnectedness correlates inversely with audience size, making for a stark choice, rather than offering a way of preserving the status quo.

The dangerous allure of phony data

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: People are wired to accept mathematical deception, according to a New York mathematician who’s also a journalism professor.

The tendency of academics, politicians and pundits to generate numerical falsehoods from data is cleverly explored in the new book Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, by Charles Seife, The New York Times reports.

We are routinely bamboozled by phony data, bogus statistics and bad math, he says.

Seife says:
A good example is in economics. If you think elections are affected by the inflation rate and G.D.P. and the unemployment rate, you turn all of these things into a regression model, and you come up with a formula that predicts the president based on these variables. The problem is that if your initial assumptions don’t have a basis in reality, then it’s going to come up with an answer that makes it look like there’s a connection when in fact there isn’t.


Powers takes step toward new-media regulation

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: Justice Minister Simon Power is calling cyberspace a “bit of a Wild West” as he announces a major review of media regulation.

The Law Commission has the job of examining new media and its intersection with the justice system.

The work will be led by the commission’s chairman, lawyer Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and policy adviser, former Sunday Star-Times editor Cate Honore Brett.

Questions will include:

  • How to define “news media” for the purposes of the law.
  • Whether and to what extent the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and/or the Press Council should be extended to cover currently unregulated news media, and if so what legislative changes would be required to achieve this.
  • Whether existing criminal and civil remedies for wrongs such as defamation, harassment, breach of confidence, and privacy are effective in the new media environment, and if not whether alternative remedies are available.

The minister’s release is here.

Whale Oil (Cameron Slater) has collated a colourful array of responses from bloggers, many incensed at an assumed threat of censorship.

All is not well amid name-suppression rejig

VIRGINIA McMILLAN: A day after the New Zealand Government announced ministers had signed off proposals for new name suppression law, NewstalkZB was reporting here a blogger had revealed the identity of a man arrested in an alleged electoral scam.
Meanwhile, Radio New Zealand has an article here quoting critics of the proposals to make suppression harder to obtain.
NewstalkZB is also citing concerns of internet entrepreneur Lance Wiggs that websites will still be able to host supressed information offshore.

Under fire: Bloggers’ citing and linking rights

Whitireia journalism student HANNA BUTLER alerts us to a chilling new practice emerging among media companies.

As reported by Megan Tady, a legal firm is targeting bloggers on behalf of publishers suing them for sharing entire articles, linking to an attributed article, or even hosting a forum where readers include links to articles in comment sections.  The moves are revealed in the nonprofit and independent newsmagazine In These Times.

(See Megan’s article: Copyright Enragement — In These Times.)