Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well laid plans of ...

For some years now (perhaps as many as 20!!) SWMBO and the ol' probligo have promised themselves the opportunity to attend the World of Wearable Arts originally when it was held in Nelson but the desire has remained to this day.

Now, with the stars aligned as close as we could get them to 12/69 comes the opportunity. We booked about 8 months back. No problems at that time with getting tickets to the event, nor accomodation; fly down, and we train back.

To explain.

My father was "mad on trains". The reason for the quotes will be a mystery to all except those who have read "Anthony and Antimaccasser" and The Potentate of Raspberry Jam. Anyhoos. We had everything booked and then we get a message from TranzRail saying that our train will arrive in Auckland an hour late. This is 7 months before the trip and they already know it will be an hour late? But then the explanation. There will be an extra two engine changes. The first in Feilding, to replace the enormous Diesel with a far more interesting steam 'J' (Pacific Class for the spotters) and then again at Taihape to remove said very interesting engine and replace it with a more mundane electric. So that single event was enough to transmogrify a pleasant jaunt to an event which I have looked forward to for years into a double-header of pleasure and memories.

In the meantime, good ol' BE is at the tail of Granny Herald once more with his analysis that it is not a broadsheet but far more tabloid in nature. He points out as evidence the teasers and whatnot at the top of Page 1. Brian, me old mate, shurely it is the content, the writing, that is of far greater import than whether Pamela Anderson is pictured on Page 3? If you had applied some effort to the critique of "mass media news" - which term I think covers the intent rather than the means of broadcast - as published by Herald, Dom Post and the others rather than the very simplistic "It looks like The Sun" your point would have been far better made.

As it stands, Herald along with a very large number of "reputable" news media has become lost in the cost-cutting editors room where news stories are judged by cost rather than worthiness or content. You can find the same stories for free, by-lined PA and Reuters, even MSN and Fox can feature, spread over a very wide range of publishers. To get anything different, the Independent sometimes puts its own people on a story, Guardian likewise, but one has really to go to the likes of Aljazheera to get anything like a "different perspective".

That said, the picture of Auntie Helen, and more recently Jonkey, holding a mobile press conference whilst in transit to the House is truly a neat caricature of the relationship between news media and politics in this country. I doubt that it differs in others. In fact we might even be lucky to have reporters in the House, instead of a daily meal of government political party announcements and pre-recorded releases.

Come to think of it, TV1 and TV3 do little more at present than provide a free service in place of what would otherwise be paid for by the government.

As for knowledgeable analysis of that "news"? I dispair.

Until I turn on Maori TV that is.

Who watched The Aunties last night? They ran through the services provided to a woman with breast cancer and gave her a bit of jolly-up at the same time. All told 30 minutes of excellent tv; informative, critical when necessary, go with the flow presentation, co-operative and not antagonistic. Great stuff!!

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