Dom’s upside-down youth rates story keeps Nats on top
One doesn’t have to spend ten years at The Guardian or the Washington Post to know that there is more news value in the final sentence of this one-sided piece of writing than in the rest of it put together. So for the benefit of Fairfax’s editors, I’m gonna provide a wee lesson in journalism, just so they can maybe get it right next time.
It is commonly accepted in journalism that a news story works like an inverted triangle, with the biggest, most powerful or controversial information at the top, and less important details further down. Of course, the opinions of those concerned should be sought and published, so that balance can be provided to the issue somewhere within the piece.
So, bearing this in mind, let’s consider the first and final sentences of this story, and decide if it is really journalism, or simply another shameless piece of propaganda on behalf of the National Party…
Which of the following two sentences is the most powerful?
A) Jobless young people are getting the help they need despite the high youth unemployment rate, the social development minister says.
B) Ms Bennett refused to say whether she supported a separate minimum wage for young people when asked by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern.
It’s not rocket science is it? Sentence B is clearly the most powerful, and therefore the most newsworthy introduction to this story. Sentence A is simply the self-serving view of Social Development Minsiter, Paula Bennett. So, while a real journalist would enter this story from the facts contained in sentence B – especially given that the ‘youth rates’ concerned may affect people upto 24 years of age – Fairfax choose to ignore journalistic conventions and slant this piece from the carefully spun words of their buddies in the National Party, using sentence A. And, just for the record, The Dom haven’t once mentioned the spectre of youth rates up to 24 years to their readers, in any capacity.
Without even taking into account that this story sits under the leading headline “Jobless teens getting help, says Bennett”, or the fact that it’s positioned inconspicuously in the middle of page eight, rather than on the politics page, we get a very clear insight into the appalling level of bias conducted by Fairfax Media on a daily basis.
Obviously, there was no room on the official politics page – page two – for anything damaging to National, no matter how carefully worded; once page two had been filled with details of how that nice John Key is going to buy the worst-hit Christchurch homes, and how that lovely caring Tony Ryall is “considering” paying parents to immunise their children – bless ‘im – even though it’s “unlikely to go ahead”, there was no room for any real news.
Even the fact that the Government are spending six-million of our dollars investigating asset sales, despite claiming they wouldn’t do this until after the election, gets relegated to a single paragraph in the Dom’s ‘Political briefs’. I mean, seriously, how is this not a major story, or even a minor story in the capital’s daily newspaper?
Fairfax Media – journalists or propagandists? You decide!