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April 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


“Dear Sir, The recent council spending on the flash new public lavatories is quite frankly a god awful waste of hardworking ratepayers’ money. Firstly, the lack of nearby parking is a total bother to mature residents such as myself. This is not to mention the completely unnecessary construction of a ramp device next to…”

This. This, and a collection of ‘human interest’ (read: about pretty pets) stories dominate a significant portion of the media presented to us each day. We hate to sound like the letter writer above, but–quite frankly–this kind of candy-floss journalism seems to be getting worse. The Dominion Post recently introduced a regular section called ‘Pet of the Week’. Vital, certainly. It would be nice if we had the choice to read this–if we so wanted– but also to be treated to something with more… substance.

But that’s not the world we’re living in. Each major New Zealand city has, in reality, only one daily newspaper. Moreover, aside from the rogue (and essentially irrelevant) Otago Daily Times, all of New Zealand’s key newspapers are owned by two companies: Fairfax and APN. Even our dear old Dominion Post is

the precious property of Fairfax. Like all institutions, Fairfax and APN have agendas– but ‘agenda’ is perhaps too dramatic a word. What we’re really talking about is a cozy duopoly in which quality is determined by who can print the most fearsome shark tales and most heart-wrenching anecdotal tragedy.

Perhaps though, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. No, not Jesus. THE INTERNET! You may have heard that this new technology weaves miracles. Well, my friend, this is no lie. Media has changed. There are changing forces. You’ve heard all the buzzwords.

There is excellent journalism out there in New Zealand, but too often it is relegated to the blogosphere and neglected by mainstream outlets. It is with the new communication platforms of social media however, that new opportunities for those operating outside of the mainstream to set the agenda arise. With the increased attention of a generation committed to diversity, this content may in time gravitate back towards the mainstream, and the word ‘quality’ might once again be able to appear in the same sentence as ‘newspaper’.

The aspiration of this week’s Salient is to take a hearty jab at our vastly more powerful and moneyed media peers–some serious, some in jest. We’ve printed in tabloid format to lend it that authentic exploitative, sensationalist feel (admittedly, a tone we are fond of). Hopefully, you’ll find it a case for change. Our frontpage this week is a homage to the tired techniques of the current media orthodoxy. Spice without meat. And you can’t make a meal with spice alone.

P.S. We’ve also included some photos of baby animals for your amusement. Of course.


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