Periodically I pile into our newspapers, particularly the NZ Herald, for their cock-ups.
But as punishing-delivering parents or schoolmasters have traditionally uttered a million times, I do this because I care.
I’m a life-long newspaper aficionado. There’s a general acceptance that the Weekend Financial Times is the world’s best newspaper and certainly it’s a delight on a number of counts. At least three of my scattered offspring fork out circa NZ$15 for it each week.
Having said that, let me shout this to the heavens. Last Saturday’s weekend Dominion Post was as good a newspaper as any I’ve ever read. From beginning to end it was packed with first rate material and comment.
The front page story by Rob Mitchell revealed that a fairly non-descript character, Campbell Barry, currently Lower Hutt’s mayor, had bought a parcel of land while privy to a highly confidential proposed zoning change, and thus is millions ahead.
The report said the Serious Fraud Office has declared it beyond their jurisdiction. Such inside trading in a corporate context would see Barry behind bars.
I imagine the under pressure SFO’s problem with the prosecution is identifying a victim. Obviously the citizenry are no worse off but the land vendor might have an argument.
One thing’s clear, Barry will not be re-elected and can wave goodbye to his apparent Parliamentary ambitions.
But enough of that. Putting aside diverse hard news items, as befitting a weekend newspaper the edition was packed with some excellent columnist pieces. It was, I repeat as good a newspaper edition as I ever read.
As we know, Stuff has a new owner. Perhaps more pertinent it has a new editor, a kiwi woman I’d never heard of but who came to the job with impressive foreign newspaper credentials.
I’m sceptical as to the prospects of the young reading print media, so strong is their debilitating addiction to electronic devices.
Three decades back I tried to persuade the Stuff (then INL) boss and former Evening Post editor, Mike Robson, of the coming crisis.
Mike was a good friend but my efforts were in vain for newspapers were probably then at their post-war peak and he didn’t buy into the problem.
My proposal was to persuade secondary schools to set aside an hour each day for newspaper reading and deliver free copies to the targeted senior classes. But here’s the oddity. The young are still reading books, indeed more titles and more total physical books are being printed than ever before, so who knows, perhaps a renaissance for print media is possible.
Some may ask why it matters whether one reads the news on a computer as opposed to on paper. It does. It’s an intangible difference which is true of so many human activities.
For example, attending say a cricket test in the flesh, viewing-wise cannot be compared to watching it all intimate detail on television, so too with most sporting events. Yet every fan, given the choice, would opt for the attendance choice.
It’s true of numerous human endeavours so who knows, all may not yet be lost for newspapers.
But regardless, well-done to the Dom’ personnel for a great effort and all for the price of a coffee.
POSTSCRIPT – My Dom’ wasn’t delivered this morning; in fairness, not the editorial staff’s fault.