Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sir Bob Jones: Is Stuff stuffed?

Reading Stuff’s principal newspaper, Wellington’s The Post, I now treat as a daily entertainment for its blunders.

Worldwide, newspapers are going over like ninepins, sustained only because they’re a life-long habit by older generations. Most people under 35 have never as much held a copy, glued as they are to their brain-rotting, ironically so-called smart phones and their diverse idiotic but plainly addictive offerings.

The problem for print media relying on that aging demographic is the buggers keep dying off.

Some Post issues are virtually newsless and filled with advertising, often including farcical advertorials being passed off as news.

An example of the latter is a recent Post non-news article, doubtless paid by the real estate agent involved, and given major news item treatment, of the availability of some (unsurprisingly) empty houses on Stewart Island. I doubt Air New Zealand will be putting on extra flights to cope with the hordes of eager buyers. The island’s tiny population says everything about its appeal.

The most amusing aspect of this was the bold caption referring to “Stuart Island”, this abominable ignorance repeated with the photo caption.

That reflects Stuff’s constant staff reductions with skilled personnel being replaced by lower paid, otherwise unemployable nincompoops.

Journalists are not highly paid but are traditionally part compensated by baubles, namely the prefix “award winning” before their name. But that once meaningful accolade has been diminished by virtually everyone receiving it.

Now Stuff has come up with a fresh gimmick. Today seemingly everyone has an “editor” prefix.

Recently, one of their new faux editors contributed an article on swimming dangers and began a sentence, “me and…” It’s bloody unbelievable.

Last week it carried a heading on its website; “Fashion retailers banking on “an” Taylor Swift boost.

These disasters reflect the grammar level of a drunken drainlayer, aside from which it’s a ridiculous assertion as the Swift woman can apparently only bawl into a microphone if in her underwear. Presumably, the claimed fashion retailers are hoping that all women get about in their underwear, a terrifying prospect in the capital in which the average female has a stripped fighting weight of about 300lbs.

So how does The Post survive? That’s easy. Dependent on an older generation of habitual readers it’s the perfect advertising medium for the booming cruise ship industry and carries a huge volume of cruise advertising.

The typical cruise ship passenger is a retiree, in other words a habitual newspaper reader. Accordingly, The Post also scores well with the thriving retirement village industry targeting the same age group.

Apart from the life-long newspaper reading habit, another “attraction” for this age group are the death notices, these avidly read for obvious reasons.

But advertising aside, The Post is almost devoid of local news. The free-site Scoop run more local news every day than the Post carries in a week, it instead filling its pages with columnists, all boringly predictable apart from Josie Pagani and Damien Grant who are both outstanding. It certainly doesn’t help itself with this demographic filling its pages with absurd maori wonderfulness guff.

On a plus note The Post layout is impressively crisp and far superior to the NZ Herald’s.

It also hugely outguns the Herald with its range of crosswords and other such word games which older folk have the time to indulge in.

Finally, our print media also scores well with numerous pages of commercial real estate adverts, these mainly small industrial and retail buildings which this demographic buys.

So is Stuff stuffed?

Ultimately yes with their print media as their current readership dies off and will not be replaced by the next generation for whom ironically so-called smart phones are an addiction for all info’ on everything. I say ironic given the overwhelming evidence of their dumbing down effect.

Stuff is now trying to emulate the Herald and develope an online subscription service, hard work with an older generation as a target plus the competition from easily created on-line local news-services such as Scoop. Time will tell but The Herald’s ownership company, which also includes half New Zealand’s commercial radio stations latest results make grim reading.

For running such a large organisation over the last year they averaged a lousy $200,000 profit per week.

As an aside the regrettable (to me) collapse in the print media is not confined to newspapers but is also hitting magazines hard as well.

Some such as The Economist, which up to a decade back rated as blue as a blue chip asset could be, is seeing a decline, this reflected in hitherto unknown sloppy reporting. A recent Economist article on American political polls included this “…that compares with a 0.2% lead…” That appalling grammatical error would have been inconceivable five years back. So too with numerous other long established magazines, all it would sadly seem at the early death spiral stages, as with newspapers.

Sir Bob Jones is a renowned author, columnist , property investor, and former politician, who blogs at No Punches Pulled HERE - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Yes. They. Are. Good. Riddance.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord Sir Robert has "been hanging over the parapet to observe the mood & movement of Wellington on the streets below".

In light of you comments on Editorial eloquence at The Post - you only need to look at who is the Editor, the same lady also is Editor of - The Sunday Star Times and her recent editorials have been a "wincing read".

A letter submitted by a male, to her, as Editor, stated - "the Sunday Star Times had become a girly magazine". Yup - you only have to look at the majority of articles (and advertising) and who they are aimed at.

International News - back page, possibly covers two pages.

No wonder New Zealanders do not not know what is happening around the World.

Sir Robert, the older generation, like you turned to the papers to read, which on many occasions past, you have stated - "it was your source of news" - it was ours as well.

Sadly those people are "moving on" and no doubt, like you find today's papers lacking in substance.

The Younger Generation are not interested in NEWS - reading & watching their cell phones for NEWS of the latest action etc of Taylor Swift is more important to them - than the Gent at the Reserve bank raising to OCR.

It is interesting, on that point, that in America, for the younger generation, the reliance on a cell phone & social media is beyond belief - and the number of females who call themselves - "influencers"/ a big field and has many of the younger generation 'hooked into their views'/ not all being relevant or accurate.

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg & The establishment of Twitter (now X - which dear Elon Musk uses to great abandon) and must add Tik-Tok - these have captured the "market in news" - items that Sir Robert, you (and I) - would cringe at reading.

On an amusing note, I can envisage that Astronauts of the future will only enroll, as long as they have access to wi-fi, a cell tower for which from space they can communicate all over the world, as long as they can "repost any thing and everything they read".

And to think many years ago, the operators of Fish & Chip shops, here in NZ use to wrap your order in a newspaper - which you could sit and read whilst eating the meal.

Nice to see you back Sir Robert - your views are a welcome facet in our lives.

Anonymous said...

Great description of Taylor Swift. Yet she still manages to create hysteria and mania.

Anonymous said...

had heard of 'schadenfreude', but now realise how it feels!

Anonymous said...

All good stuff bar the "appalling grammatical error" bit at the end. "A" is perfectly appropriate if you read it correctly as a zero point two percent lead - perhaps not so if it's incorrectly, but commonly read as an "o" (as in the vowel) point two percent... I certainly wouldn't call them out on that one, but each to their own.