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News -- The Real Story 15 January 2002 Edition
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The Internet, and the WWW in particular, has dramatically changed the way news is reported.

There was a time when the only way you could learn about events around the country and around the world was to wait for a lump of dead tree to be delivered to your door each morning/evening, or tune in your radio/TV set to the next scheduled broadcast.

This meant our news was often out of date and that the media had a huge amount of control over what we were told and the way it was told.

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However, now that just about anyone can knock up a website with global coverage, the power of the mainstream media has been eroded -- and perhaps it's just as well.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • News & Sky TV coverage... - Kyle
  • Sky TV reporting... - Grant
  • TV News coverage... - Allister
  • Have Your Say

    The recent Sky TV debacle has been an extremely interesting example of how mainstream media seems to have been either oblivious or deliberately ignoring a problem affecting 300,000 NZ households.

    Perhaps I've missed it, but to the best of my recollection, TVNZ has said nothing about the problems associated with the recent upgrade(?) of the Sky TV software. I even tried searching the NZoom.com site for any hint of coverage but came up empty.

    What's going on here? I can't think of any other instance where such a fiasco would have gone unnoticed by One News. Could it be that they're censoring the news -- deliberately avoiding coverage so as not to upset their broadcast partner?

    But what about the NZ Herald -- the country's largest daily newspaper -- what have they had to say?

    They're a whole lot better than TVNZ and I recall that they've published two stories on the matter (Dialogue story, Entertainment story) however their appearance in the "dialogue" and "entertainment" sections of the paper seem to downplay the scope and significance of the problems somewhat.

    The local (particularly TV) coverage of the Sky story leaves you wondering about just how much other news is being carefully "avoided" by our major broadcasters for reasons of self-interest.

    Fortunately the Net has meant that at least some of us are able to dig beyond the diet of 2-minute newsbytes and human-interest stories that we get fed on the 6 o'clock news. Now we can choose from any number of independent news sources and learn about world events from a totally different perspective.

    This ability has meant that the truth need no longer be a casualty of war -- and a growing number of small sites are busy trying to counter what they consider to be the propaganda espoused by CNN, the BBC and other global broadcasters in respect to the Afghanistan conflict.

    Unfortunately, despite the ready availability of Net access, the vast majority of Kiwis will remain passive "victims" of mainstream news coverage. Willing to accept whatever they're told by publishers and broadcasters who may have their own agenda when choosing or presenting the "news" -- never taking the time to explore alternative sources and versions.

    Fortunately, the fact that you're reading this means you're unlikely to be a passive news consumer so pat yourself on the back. However, spare a thought for just how many other people's knowledge and opinions of events are being shaped by so few.

    The Net has the power to broaden our horizons and provide a wider view of the world -- but people must choose to use it for this purpose. Let's hope that more do.

    Have your say (remember to select For Publication if you want to see your comments on this page).

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