Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Views

I was feeling a bit like a day off, but it seems there's no room for slacking in the dog-eat-dog world of unpaid blogging.

1) Because I was bored, I decided to start a new feature where I tally all the advertising in the front section of each day's Herald, feed the results into a supercomputer, and come out with the percentage of the Herald that is advertising. I will then outsource the making of a graph, which may or may not provide insight into the seedy underbelly of newspaper journalism. I'm not sure quite what I'll call it yet. Their Views? Ad Views? Because that's a pun that will never get old.

Anyway, today's Herald was 45% advertising. Because I have only one data set, I thought this might be best represented as a pie chart:
Expect more data to be made available in easy-to-read "Herald Graphic" as it comes to hand.

2) In case you thought I was making up the Herald's, erm, "Victim's Views" policy on crime reporting, there's a nice, brief article - not to be confused with a nice "In Brief" article - in today's paper about Bailey Kurariki. Apparently, the proposed 'three strikes' bill "fits Kurariki", according to an expert on the justice system. And when I say 'expert on the justice system', I mean the mother of the young man Kurariki and others brutally and pointlessly killed. I would be interested to know whether it is the Herald contacting her every time Kurariki gets a mention in the paper, or vice versa - although it doesn't really matter, as it is the Herald who decides to print it in the end.
"A lot of the general public don't know his background and just think, 'Oh he was so young,' and excuse it."
Really? Where are these people? And if there are so many of them, why are they never reported in the paper?

Epilogue: You can imagine my delight when, searching for 'Kurariki' on the Herald site to find that quote, I discovered that he is now the subject of another "Your Views" - just the latest of the 114 Herald articles that mention him by name.


  1. I posted on this in your "ask the victims" post as well, but I just wanted to raise a point about this article too.

    Your distinction between "expert on the justice system" and victim's mother surely isn't implying that only legal experts should be mentioned in discussing sentences for criminals?

    In a general policy debate about the effectiveness of different sentencing theories, then sure, a legal expert would be more appropriate to quote. (Although I'm not holding my breath for the Herald to publish such a piece).

    But in an article in which the proposed law is discussed in the specific context of a particular case ("New Zealand's Youngest Convicted Killer") then her views are certainly more relevant in that context.

  2. Jordan,

    Your argument makes little sense to me. The article was devised by the herald, and was entirely based around the opinion in question.

    There is no 'context' here. There is no wider public debate about the effects of the proposed law on this one person.