The current state of the NZ media Royal Rumble (illustration: Tina Tiller)

The best of The Spinoff this week

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website.

Duncan Greive: The real ratings of NZ’s news sites shows some have a big problem

“For 20 straight days we didn’t crest 60,000 pageviews – our marker for a good day – even once. It had come from nowhere: between the start of June and July 3rd we had 10 days over 60,000, and a pair just shy of 100,000. Our simultaneous on-site number sat in the 200s for hours on end, and pieces we had been certain would become huge hits seemed to start trending down far faster and harder than we had anticipated.

It breeds a kind of neurotic angst – always an occupational hazard in this industry – in editors and journalists. A paranoid second-guessing of what might be the cause. Have we lost our edge? Has all the negative coverage of our TV show (a note on that at the bottom of this story) impacted the site? Are people just sick of us now?

‘I bet it picked up about 10 days ago,’ he added. ‘Facebook eh,’ he said, shaking his head. And he was right, it had. I felt the relief of a problem shared and halved wash over me. The answer was what it always is: Zuckerberg had tweaked his algorithm again.”

Hayden Donnell: How NZ news livestreams became overwhelmed by anti-1080 activists

“Yesterday the government announced new wheel clamping regulations. As it often does, the Herald posted live video of the press conference on Facebook. It was pretty standard political fare: Phil Twyford and Kris Faafoi said “cowboy clampers” roughly 300 times as they explained their half-hearted new rules. In the comments, though, a different story was playing out. Virtually no-one there cared about cowboy clampers or even Phil Twyford. Comment after comment flooded in, all variations on the same plea. Each carried some version of the words “ban 1080”.

Where was the flood coming from?”

Calum Henderson: We found the genius behind the 1 News Tonight weather music

Fascinated by the surprising and often inspired music curation on TVNZ 1’s evening news bulletin, Calum Henderson goes in search of the person responsible – Greg Boyed, who sadly passed away earlier this week in Switzerland.

Matthew Motta, Steven Sylvester and Timothy Callaghan: Why vaccine opponents think they know more than medical experts

The growing “anti-vax” movement here and abroad has seen parents refuse to give their children mandatory school vaccinationsgrowing numbers of celebrities questioning vaccine safety, and even pet owners refusing to vaccinate their dogs – forcing the British Veterinary Association to issue a statement in April that dogs cannot develop autism.

Given the consistent message from the scientific community about the safety of vaccines, and evidence of vaccine success as seen through the eradication of diseases, why has the skepticism about vaccines continued?

Toby Manhire: TOP is not dead after all, and Simon Bridges is pretty damn happy about that

“RIP, TOP. Thanks for the memories. Except – what’s that noise coming from the coffin? Could it be Gareth Morgan, bellowing injustice, railing against those ‘flakes and groupies’. Was it Sean Plunket, attempting to reclaim the word cunt for political communications practitioners? Inch closer, and, no, it’s someone else: it’s Geoff Simmons, announcing he’s taking over as leader, making cerebral observations about the electoral prospects for a party appealing to a non-property-owning generation.

The same Geoff Simmons, formerly TOP deputy leader, who a month ago was writing in the Spinoff that it was ‘sad and surreal to watch TOP’s demise’. There he was this morning on the radio (from Italy, naturally) heralding the resurrection. The Opportunities Party would be contesting the 2020 election, after all. This party has almost as many lives as a cat.

The rebirth will be welcomed, of course, by those who cleaved to TOP’s ‘evidence based’ platform last year.'”

Drone footage of the Five Star Beef feedlot.

Don Rowe: Why you should give a damn about feedlots

“Earlier this week both SAFE and Fish and Game called on government to ban feedlots, calling it an Americanisation of the farming process. I’m with the hippies – feedlots are ethically and ecologically unconscionable, and incongruous with the way we market one of our biggest export earners to the world.

Operational since 1991, ANZCO’s Five Star Beef is New Zealand’s only large-scale commercial feedlot. Its product, Wakanui Beef, is ‘grain finished’, the company says on its website, in ‘an idyllic, stress-free environment’, where cattle are ‘refreshed by breezes off the Pacific Ocean’.

Let’s unpack that, because, as minister for agriculture Damien O’Connor said this week, ‘the image of pastoral farming is the one New Zealand promotes’ – and feedlots don’t look anything like pastoral, stress-free or idyllic.”

Jane Patterson: If Simon Bridges wasn’t already sweating, he will be now

“If National Party leader Simon Bridges wasn’t already sweating he will be now, with a second leak, possibly from within his own caucus.

First there was a leak to Newshub about his travel expenses; now there’s been a second leak from someone concerned the inquiry into the first leak is still going ahead.

An anonymous source has contacted RNZ to reveal both Bridges and the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, received a text from an unidentified member of the National Party caucus, claiming to be the source of the original leak.

Based on information given to RNZ, the text from the unnamed MP last week went on to say they were in a vulnerable emotional state and if they were named and shamed that could tip them over the edge.

That would seem to verify the widely held belief the original leak did in fact come from one of Bridges’ own MPs.”

The ‘We’re Not Going Out Of Business Sale’

Jihee Junn: Crocs are dead, long live the Crocs store

When I visited the Crocs store days after the news broke, I didn’t quite know what to expect. The company said it would be shutting some of its retail stores – would little old New Zealand’s be one of them? In fact, would it even be open? Would I be allowed in? And if so, would there be a clearance sale with 70% off all marked prices?

The reality, however, was quite the opposite, with the store offering up to 30% off in its ‘We’re Not Going Out Of Business’ sale instead.

‘We’re not going anywhere,’ the shop assistant tells me. ‘Crocs is a multimillion dollar business and we’re simply changing our supply by using third-party manufacturers. There’s been a lot of stuff in the media about how we’re going out of business, but the media in New Zealand doesn’t understand how business works.’

Alex Braae: Spill! Spill! Spill? Is Malcolm Turnbull about to get rolled as Australian PM?

Spoiler: yes.

Related:


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.