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July 15, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – Media

Media is changing. It’s no longer just limited to the newspapers we don’t buy, or the television news we don’t watch. We consume media differently to the older generation. For many of us, we are the media. We tweet, we status, we share information at a pace and in a way that the timing is on our terms—we’re used to being in control of how, and what, we’re consuming. We want on-demand. We want to create our own playlists. But most importantly, we don’t want to pay for it.

Based on an average scroll of Stuff.co.nz’s homepage, you’d have to be mad to pay for this shit, right? Entire ‘news’ stories based on the results of reality TV shows like The X Factor and Masterchef; celebrity fluff pieces syndicated from US news sites consistently topping the Most Popular categories; hell, earlier this year the website just ran with a picture of a naked woman running down a beach for its lead image. We don’t even need to tell you: Stuff.co.nz’s a bit shit.

In New Zealand, it can be hard to know where to go to find the ‘real’ news. We’re a small nation, which means the size and range of our media outlets is limited. NZ Herald, The Dominion Post; there’s lots of big fish in a small pond. There are very few voices speaking, but when they do, it’s very loud. Personalities like Patrick Gower makes it seem pretty easy for one person to make all the difference, ending political careers like notches in a bed post—although David Shearer’s playing hard to get.

Is this what our Fourth Estate has been reduced to? Sure, we all fist-pumped a little when that dickhead Aaron Gilmore finally left the building, but if we’re expecting our media to act as a check on government, this simply isn’t good enough. Acting as a watchdog means more than simply chasing the next sensationalist headline and collecting resignations like gold stars.

But the news is changing. More than ever before, we’re the ones making the news, and that doesn’t just mean what we’re tweeting, posting, and sharing. With each guilty click on the latest update on baby Kimye, or Beyoncé’s World Tour, we seal our own fate. In the modern news environment, our demand determines the type of news that we will read in tomorrow’s newspapers, on tomorrow’s homepages.

Sure, in an ideal world we’d want the likes of Gower and Garner to be producing hard-hitting, investigative, analytical pieces. But if media outlets can attract a larger audience, and pay their bills by making Gilmore cry, then that’s the kind of journalism they will continue to produce.

The next generation of news will come, eventually. If you want to see change, you have to make it happen— come along to the Salient Office Open Day on Tuesday, 12-2 pm. Even if it’s just to tell us that you want more pictures of cats.

 

MOLLY & STELLA

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About the Author ()

Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly are Salient Co-Editors for 2013, AKA Salient Babes.

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