If dollops of trivial news are the best measure, we may never know when the silly season is over

The so-called “silly season” isn’t a Kiwi phenomenon.

According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom and in some other places

” … the silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media.

“It is known in many languages as the cucumber time.

“The term is first attested in 1861, was listed in the second (1894) edition of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and remains in use at the start of the 21st century. The fifteenth edition of Brewer’s expands on the second, defining the silly season as “the part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting (about August and September)”.

“In North America the period is often referred to prosaically as the slow news season, or less commonly with the phrase dog days of summer.

“In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the silly season has come to refer to the Christmas/New Year festive period (which occurs during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere) on account of the higher than usual number of social engagements where the consumption of alcohol is typical.” Continue reading “If dollops of trivial news are the best measure, we may never know when the silly season is over”

If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood

Newspaper staff were among those to express dismay and fury during the frenzy of denunciations that followed publication of an ill-considered cartoon about Samoa and the measles epidemic.

The Spinoff recorded their reactions under the heading ODT cartoonist infuriates his colleagues with Sāmoa measles epidemic ‘joke’.

It also reproduced the highly controversial cartoon (just in case readers didn’t know what the fuss was about?) while reporting:

An Otago Daily Times cartoonist who saw humour in the deadly Samoan measles epidemic has found himself at odds with both colleagues and his editors.

As most if not all other media have done, it proceeded to repeat the joke:  a Garrick Tremain cartoon in the ODT depicted two women leaving a travel agency. One asked the other what the “least popular spots” to visit right now were, and the other responded with “the ones people are picking up in Samoa.” Continue reading “If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood”

We strike a blow against the Herald paywall by bringing Phil’s article to a wider audience

The Spinoff’s daily newsletter to subscribers today reports an interesting note of feedback from a reader yesterday.  At issue was the NZ Herald putting comment pieces by politicians behind the paywall.

Reader John told The Spinoff it “seems antidemocratic” to do so, in referring to this piece by Phil Twyford being blocked.

According to the headline, Twyford contended his government was spending more on roading projects while prioritising safety.

But non-subscribers would have to cough up to read beyond the Minister’s first few sentences.

At Point of Order we wondered if we could skirt the paywall by asking the Minister’s press secretaries for a copy of the article.

No problem.  A copy could be found on the Minister’s Facebook page, we were advised – but here was a copy for us –   Continue reading “We strike a blow against the Herald paywall by bringing Phil’s article to a wider audience”

How a real estate writer blundered about Air NZ by forgetting what he wrote in 2006

One of the biggest vertically-integrated urban function venues and corporate retreats in Auckland – set up by the man who established Air New Zealand – has been placed on the market for sale.

So says a press release from Bayleys Canterbury.

One of the biggest vertically-integrated urban function venues and corporate retreats in Auckland — set up by the man who was instrumental in establishing Air New Zealand — has been placed on the market.

So says Colin Taylor, reporting on real estate matters for the New Zealand Herald.

Forget about the minor differences in the two sentences.  It’s wrong to say the retreat was set up  by the man who established (or was instrumental in establishing) Air New Zealand.

The error is repeated in paragraph three of the press statement, which says: Continue reading “How a real estate writer blundered about Air NZ by forgetting what he wrote in 2006”

Here’s hoping Guyon Espiner now grills Callaghan Innovation about its OIA practices…

Before exposing his moral indignation about the Taxpayers’ Union using false names to file Official Information Act requests, Radio New Zealand’s Guyon Espiner should have consulted  the publisher of No Right Turn.

This blog and the Taxpayers Union are poles apart, ideologically.

But political commentator Malcolm  Harbrow – who blogs under the nom-de-plume is an indefatigable champion of the public’s right to request information from public agencies under the OIA and a stern critic of agencies which fail to meet their legal obligations to provide the information requested.

He was astonished by the thrust of an article, published by the New Zealand Herald under the byline of one David Fisher and beguilingly headed How right-wing lobby group NZ Taxpayers’ Union used false identities to make OIA request – and how it got caught.

This article was the prompt for Espiner, on Morning Report today, grilling Taxpayers Union chief executive Jordan Williams about the use of pseudonyms.

Continue reading “Here’s hoping Guyon Espiner now grills Callaghan Innovation about its OIA practices…”