Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | October 9, 2009

The aftermath of the storm

Storm in this case is media storm. Radio NZ, Radio Live, Newstalk ZB, the Dom, HBToday, Manawatu Evening Standard, TV3, TVNZ… they have been and gone.

But they have left their mark.

At a community gathering last night (twilight tennis!) the main topic of conversation, apart from the hiding the Magpies were giving Counties Manukau, was the week’s gunman drama.

The shooting that led to the police chase that led to the crash that led to the shooting that led to the AOS callout that led to cordons that led to unfed and unmilked animals (but that’s another story) that led to a media frenzy.

A piranha feeding frenzy that was over almost as soon as it began.  Norsewood’s new claim to fame is not its woollen socks but its inability to find a shotgun-waving man within the police cordon (because he was already outside it, but that too, is another story).

My first call came from a Radio NZ friend on Sunday night. We were in the middle of finding out ourselves on whose place the shooting had taken place, which also involved making sure it wasn’t a member of our own community that had gone berko. That was fine, I gave some comments, as a nearby resident, and all was well. But others were obviously listening, which is good kudos for RNZ, as the next day my phone went mental.

Some tried and tried to get me to give people’s names and numbers from within the cordon. I did ask some of the locals, but only one said it was okay. And in hindsight, he is not complimentary of what he then faced although he continued to refuse to go on TV because of their coverage of the events, much to the disgust of his sons (who apparently have been acting as armed offenders squad members all week).

I hadn’t really understood until this week what a low opinion people have of the NZ media, TV in particular, and how badly that media treats the people it is dealing with.  Not badly, perhaps, just no long term thought given to the impression they leave behind (because they don’t care?) Journalists sweep into an area, Norsewood/Takapau for example, and sweep out again a few days later leaving those communities not just thankful a gunman has been captured but thankful the media has buggered off to annoy some other unsuspecting blighters. I say this not in respect to the personalities of some of the journalists I dealt with, many of whom I already knew, but some of the stories that are coming back from those interviewed (hounded).

The journalist in me is in two minds. One journalist or researcher person was like a dog with a bone in getting one angle of the story for their employer. Good on them – they got the story and will probably get a pat on the back from their boss. But the people left behind in their wake are still shaking their heads in disbelief.

Today’s blog has come as a result of reading another blog this morning: that mentions a media poll on another blog:

 Sorry, I don’t know how to shrink those links…..

This is my second comment on homepaddock’s blog:

I’m still mulling over what I just said. It’s not that journalists are intentionally rude, just the nature of the quick turnaround of their work, but the determination of some journalists to get the names, to get the people, to get the exclusive, to get their first, then move on to the next thing. My community is reeling from what happened here earlier this week and it feels like noone gives a toss because the news immediacy has been and gone (except for the animal welfare issues that David Hunt, rightly so, is not going to let go). Mmm. I think I should have started my own blog about this instead of starting a comment on yours Ele!

I love my profession and I loved the adrenalin buzz of having something happen on my doorstep. I loved the immediacy of being on the radio again. But I don’t like the after taste the media whirlwind has left in my community. It’s getting harder and harder to defend.



  1. Lovely post, Kate.

    The immediacy of it is wonderful and as someone in the profession, all the more poignant.

    The comment that these posts you are referring to as well as your own is chilling if one regards the media as a mirror of society.

    Lovely writing and I wish I could write half as well.


    PS. I’m not a towny!

  2. Oh and as an addendum, check out this that I wrote (obviously) some time ago.


  3. I dont know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂

    …..Frank Scurley

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