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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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News, as a service, is dead

4 May 2016

Part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember has been to scan the newswires of the world from my computer keyboard.

The Net is a fantastic vehicle for the rapid dissemination of news and information and has changed the face of the fourth estate in a way that I suspect nobody could have even remotely imagined just a few short decades ago.

This morning however, two of New Zealand's leading news sites effectively proved themselves unworthy of any title which includes the word "news".

It's bad enough that television lost its way in respect to news reporting some time ago and opted instead to go the way of "reality" shows -- but now it seems that we can't escape this trend even in print.

The NZ Herald website carried this story just two from the top of its front page and over at Stuff, this piece was flagged as "most viewed".

Now part of me says "well obviously, these publications are simply catering for public demand". However, another part of me says "oh my gawd, they've dumbed down the public to such an extent that *this* is the result!".

Now as someone who hasn't watched a single minute of broadcast TV in almost eight years, I have no idea what "The Bachelor" is about but, after reading these stories I can pretty much get the drift that it's reality TV of the most appalling type.

Any programme where one contestant is invited to "sleep over" with another in order to effectively "score points" is (in my own opinion) shallow on so many levels!

I recall that when TV was first rolled out, its proponents proudly claimed that it would usher in a new era of education -- bringing informative and worthy stuff right into your living room.

The same claims were made for the Internet. The Net has the power to connect people with learning resources and information in a way that we have never seen before.

Sadly, programmes like "The Bachelor" seem to indicate that both mediums have effectively been dumbed-down to the extent that viewers/users are now treated like idiots -- and deservedly so.

You think I'm wrong?

Well look what else is making "headlines" in our news media:


Meanwhile, the really important stuff is buried deep down the page.

Even the stuff that is purported to be "news" is often riddled with mistakes, misinformation and hype. One only has to look at the endless stream of stories about drones "just missing" airliners to see this. The latest of these stories appears to have been an almost total fabrication by the media. I went public with my belief that this was just a load of bullshirt many days before it was finally revealed that no drone was involved at all and that the likely culprit was a plastic supermarket bag, dragged into the air by winds.

Tragic, just tragic.

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