Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweating the small stuff

Misleading headline of the day: "Kiwi dies after attack in Bali".

Know the odds:

The two Queensland finalists for the "best job in the world" are among the top contenders to win the dream gig, according to the bookies and a talent casting director.

While interpreter Clare Wang, 30, of Taiwan is currently the bookies' stand-out leader, with odds of A$3.50 ($4.32), Queenslander James Hill is the second favourite to win the competition, at A$5.

So... if I bet NZD$1, I get $4.32? No. You don't understand what odds are, do you?

Surveywatch: You all know how much I love survey results being published as news, so you will realise how delighted I was to read this 'article' today. Jesus, the tedium! Here are some highlights from the article, which was about a survey of Wellington apartment-dwellers, and which someone at an Auckland newspaper thought was interesting, informative and relevant:
In the results released last month, the council said the typical city apartment dweller was most likely to be a New Zealand European male or female, aged between 24 and 35, with a professional job in the downtown area.
Male or female, you say? Thank God this research was commissioned.
The majority of those surveyed (73 per cent) worked or studied in the central city area.
Newsflash: city apartment dwellers tend to work in the city. Honestly, it just goes on about this survey for literally hundreds of words. Go on, look at it. Here's the link again. Go now.

Big News in the Bay: "Actor takes Easter break", the Herald is excited to report. And by report I mean 'steal from Hawke's Bay Today'. The actor in question is one John Hannah, a man of whom I have never heard, but evidently someone who is a big fish in the small puddle of Napier.

Hannah, actress wife Joanna Roth and 5-year-old twins Gabriel and Astrid were noticed by fan Marianne Gannaway in a cafe on Saturday.

"I was so sure it was John Hannah so on a pretend trip to the loo, I nervously asked him if he was indeed John Hannah," Ms Gannaway posted on a fan website.

Ah, cultural cringe.


  1. re: Surveywatch, the survey results are actually a little more interesting than the Herald's reporting of it. There's an aspect of "no shit, Sherlock" to the "city apartment dwellers tend to work in the city", thing, but the percentage does make a difference. If it were 60%, the implications for public transport planning, walking requirements & so forth would be rather different than if it were 90%. Besides, there are reasons to live in the city other than just being close to work: personally, if I had to work in the suburbs I'd still rather commute out of the CBD than live in the suburbs and walk to work.

    It's a pity that neither the Herald or DomPost managed to add any value to the actual survey (http://www.wellington.govt.nz/news/display-item.php?id=3502, which both online papers obviously found too hard to link to), other than a single nterview and debatable infographics in the latter. One thing that would have been interesting would have been to do a quick cross-check between the demographics of the respondents and the corresponding census figures. That would have revealed that younger people were much less likely to respond: only a third of respondents were under 35, compared to two-thirds of the inner-city population at the 2006 Census. Thus, all the stats about income, apartment size, car ownership and so forth should be adjusted downwards.

    Oh, and at least the Herald skirted controversy by referring to "European" people: Stuff's comments mostly consist of people getting offended at being called "Pakeha" or making jokes about Wellington being small and windy. Jebus wept.

  2. Why is that headline misleading?

    He was kiwi, he was attacked with a bottle, he died soon after.

  3. A Kiwi is a bird.

  4. I see. Pedantry of the day.

  5. Reheating the whole 'murder is not news' schism, I think you boys should head over to Fiji:

    In a satirical jibe at stringent censorship imposed by Fiji's military government, the Daily Post newspaper has been filling the space
    with some no news.

    Headlines in Wednesday's edition included ``Man gets on bus'' over an item reading: ``In what is believed to be the first reported incident of its kind, a man got on a bus yesterday. 'It was easy,' he said. 'I just lifted one leg up and then the other and I was on.'''

    Another headed ``Breakfast as usual'' began: ``It was break fast as usual for the staff
    of this newspaper. 'I had leftover roti from
    last night,' senior re porter Manueli told his
    colleague yesterday morning.

    A third story began, ``Paint has apparently dried on his old couch, Max reports. Given the
    job of painting the couch, Max was excited at the prospect of the paint drying. But when asked how it dried, he was nonplussed.

  6. The headline is great because when you use the words "attack" and "Bali" in the same sentence it sounds like a terrorist attack. Which is a sensationalist and deliberately misleading way to describe a bar fight.

    Personally I would've gone with "Kiwi Death Toll From Bali Attack Rises"

  7. Don't be such a prat.

  8. So anything with 'attack' and 'New York' signifies the rapture, does it?

  9. So anything with 'attack' and 'New York' signifies the rapture, does it?Yes.

    Wait, no.


  10. Let me nip this in the bud here by confirming that yes, indeed, I am a pedant who has a distaste for being called a Kiwi.

    When I read the headline, my initial reaction was "What the hell is a kiwi doing in Bali?"

    Sorry if no one else thought that, you humourless bastards!

  11. if you had standards i'd ask you to uphold them. as it is, picking up on the use of a frequent and accepted nickname as some great crime against journalism highlights your tendency to clutch at a big fuck-off straw.