Monday, August 17, 2009

Swimming into the current

After being playtested on this blog a couple of weeks ago, my review of Jen Crawford's new chapbook Napoleon Swings has appeared at the Scoop Review of Books. The review discusses Debbie Gerbich, who committed suicide after her link to a police sex scandal was revealed, and lays into Stephen Cook, the former assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday, who sent two aggressive messages to Gerbich after she complained about the way his paper had treated her.

I ought to have qualified, at least slightly, the condemnations of journalists and journalism that ring out in the review by noting that, despite the intellectual decline of most mainstream newspapers, let alone television and radio news networks, a few people in the media are still attempting to practise something resembling principled investigative journalism.

One of the journalists swimming against the cold and muddy current is Jeremy Rose, who combines editorship of the Scoop Review of Books with work for National Radio's Mediawatch, a programme which attempts, on a small budget and in a pitifully inappropriate Sunday morning time slot, to hold New Zealand journalism to some rudimentary standards of balance and truth. Over the last fortnight Mediawatch has considered Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett's decision to reveal the financial details of two solo mothers who had the temerity to criticise her, and the media coverage of the Key government's decision to send more New Zealand troops to reinforce the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. You can listen to and download both shows here.

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