Saturday, November 12, 2022

Frank Newman: Media Watch - Inside Journalism

Massey University has just published the results of a survey in a report called, “Worlds of Journalism Study 2.0. Journalists in Aotearoa/New Zealand”.

In the introduction they describe the report as follows:

“This is the third survey of journalists undertaken by the Worlds of Journalism Study group. The WJS is a collaboration of academics from more than 120 countries…These preliminary results are from the Aotearoa/ New Zealand part of the WJS study…this is the first time NZ journalists have been asked about their attitudes to the Treaty of Waitangi…”

Here are their key findings:

  • Women increasingly dominate the profession, making up nearly 60% of the workforce.
  • Māori now makes up a tenth of all journalists, a 20% increase in five years.
  • Journalists overwhelmingly support the Treaty of Waitangi in their work. Almost a third (31%) said the Treaty applied to everything they wrote about. Another 43% said it applied to most things, such as any stories that involve legislation or politics, culture or society in which the treaty is referenced. A minority (16 percent) thought it only related to some things, such as stories for Māori about Māori issues, while 2% thought it had no relevance to journalism.
  • Journalists now feel their most important role is “educating the public”, more important than what traditionally has been a “non-biased neutral observer role”.
  • On the subject of bias, they say “there are very few strongly right-wing journalists, but a substantial number of moderately or strongly left-wingers.” Five percent were described as “extreme left”, and 15% “hard left”. In other words, one in five journalists is a rabid socialist. At the other extreme, there were virtually no extreme right or hard right journalists. Given the left-wing bias is stated so plainly, they make a puzzling comment: “Somewhat surprisingly, there has been an increase in journalists favouring supporting government policy and conveying a positive image of political leadership…”
  • With respect to the topics reported, 75% said they had “either a great deal or complete media freedom about what they write about and deciding which aspects of stories to emphasise”. That would suggest there is very little oversight from editorial management to ensure articles meet the ethical standards of balance and fairness.
  • On the matter of journalist practices, there were some extraordinary findings. Seventy-nine percent said it was OK to use the personal materials of powerful people, such as documents and photos, without their permission! That dropped to 54% if the information related to “ordinary people”. Clearly “powerful” people are less deserving of fair treatment. Seventy-six percent said it was OK to use “secret recording devices”! Thirty-five percent said it was OK to impersonate someone else! Thirty-five percent said that "Publishing or broadcasting stories with information that is not yet verified" is acceptable!

The survey confirms what most news consumers already know – as a whole, journalists are biased. Not only do they have a strong left-wing bias, but about a third of the industry is also hard-core in their left-wing beliefs.

That would not be of concern if the journalists kept their personal views to themselves and saw their role as non-biased neutral observers. While that may have been their role in years gone by, journalists now see their role is to change the opinion of their audience. 

Typically, editors have acted as the gatekeepers to maintain balance and ethical practices. That too has shifted with journalists stating they have a high level of autonomy.  That would explain why some publications are now overtly biased. 

What is quite clear is the growing disconnect between what journalists produce and what the public wants to consume. That is visible in their declining audience and reflected in a noticeable mistrust of the mainstream media.

The audience that is looking for media coverage that is balanced and fair is increasingly turning to new channels for news and political commentary. It is therefore hardly surprising that the legacy media is becoming its own echo chamber with a dwindling audience. 

The challenge for the media sector is how it remains relevant. The logical response is to return to the more traditional values as espoused in the virtuous principles of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Media Council. That will, however, be difficult for an industry that is now highly populated with extreme socialists intent on re-educating their audience towards their form of left-wing ideology.

View the full survey HERE >>>

Frank Newman is an investment analyst. He served two terms as a councillor on the Whangarei District Council and is the author of numerous books on investment matters.


DeeM said...

The survey confirmed everything I thought I knew about mainstream media in NZ.
The sooner the MSM stop being funded by taxpayers money the better. They'll have to appeal to their audience and their advertisers based on the content of their news and articles. They'll soon go down the gurgler.

Most journos are probably young and have been brainwashed at our Left-wing universities and imbued with the delusion that they are experienced and qualified enough to advise the rest of us on what views we should hold.

We need a new generation of REAL journalists that apply the ethics and standards the public expect.
The current lot are beyond redemption and will have to be made redundant as they increasingly appeal to a diminishing audience and their employers hopefully go broke.

If National/ACT do one thing in their next term it should be to defund the media.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

Unfortunately the rather low response rate of 30% renders the conclusions next to meaningless when sample data are extrapolated to the population the sample ostensibly represents. As is a problem for all social science surveying, self-selected samples are inevitably biased - often strongly biased - as respondents tend to be those who wish to be heard and who know what they have to say will meet with general approval, while potential respondents who have unpopular views tend to stay shtum.

Mudbayripper said...

Don't expect "real" journalists to pop up any time soon. Existing non bias journos are either retired or working through online platforms remote to the MSM.
The current crop of young enthusiastic media darlings have been carefully groomed through the system as a result of the long march. Any one under the age of 50 or there abouts will all fall into line according to leftist group think.
The PIJF is merely a sweetener.

Terry Morrissey said...

Maybe we need the introduction of a little "McArthyism" to ferret out a whole bunch of reds from politics and academia. There's not a hope in hell of educating students in schools or universities at the moment without them being indoctrinated with all things socialist.
Good project for Rebecca Kitteridge and her SIS instead of supporting Kate Hannah and her ilk in inventing new and improved sources of extremism.

Ross said...

MSM lost my trust quite some time ago but this tells me it worse than I thought.

Barend --I take your point about the 30%, but that was the total survey or all countries involved. I'm guessing, but I would not be surprised if for NZ the figure was much higher.

EP said...

made me very depressed until I saw the response rate. 30% is meaningless.

David Lillis said...

Unfortunately, I believe that Frank Newman is right. Surely, our media should be tasked with providing the facts rather than peddling one or other political perspective.

Like many others, I am concerned about what we are getting from our New Zealand media. I did write a piece about it recently and here I quote two excerpts:

"Perhaps the world’s media will recognize that most often there is more than one side to a political or social issue and that it has the power to influence public thinking for good, but also for ill".


"Let us also hope for balanced journalism that does not seek to sway opinion in ways that amplify mistrust and division. In the end, genuine conciliation, supported by objective media, could lead to greater chances of diverse people putting aside their differences and moving forward with greater goodwill and understanding than we have witnessed during the first quarter of the twenty-first century".

The article was first published here:

David Lillis

Robert Arthur said...

The journalism survey is farcical.

Maybe 10% choose to identify as maori but pro maori attitudes are now adopted by near all.
Advertisements for journalist certainly are far more than 10% seeking maori/ pro maori.

All support the ToW. Of course they do or ensure they are appear to. Avoidance of cancellation and continued employment demands. On non msm sites there have been very interesting reports of WT meetings. No hint of any reporting , and certainly not objectively, in the msm. If we got a revisionist govt who puts the ToW back in the history box where it belongs it will be interesting to see if all the essentially commercial enterprise msms follow.

As for education many reporters are far too ignorant for any such role. If by education they mean propogandise then they certainly achieve that. To educate requires research and objective observation and questioning; all lost arts.

And 75% freedom is absurd. All now operate on the understanding that conditions as for the PIJF apply. There is no need for senior editors to rule; the minions know exactly their working parameters

Newspapers repeatedly publish puerile letters on stock themes but anything questing the current established PC convention is doomed however thoughtful.

Don said...

Catch 22 rules. If you are a journalist you must support the blatant lie that the Treaty involves partnership between government and Maori. Your job is dependent on it. If you attempt to reveal that the partnership myth is not valid you lose your job. Consequently any work by any journalist is questionable. If such untruths are promulgated how can anything any journalist produces be accepted as unbiased?
This "employment blackmail" applies to other occupations. I am lucky to have completed 50 years teaching service before the requirement to support the mythical principles of the Treaty became mandatory. We tried to encourage our students to think for themselves; now they are told what to think.