Blog catch up…Polls and media myths

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The latest Roy Morgan burst upon a breathless nation at the end of the week, showing National jumped 10% in support compared to the last poll, taking the party’s rating to 53%.

I’ll be writing more about this in my paid writing on Monday morning – suffice it to say, the Roy Morgan poll is notorious for its volatility in much the same way the Pacific Ocean is notorious for reasonably high degree of dampness.

The Young Nats are circulating a poster on social media triumphantly proclaiming the 53% rating.

I suppose youth must have its fling, and all that, but over at Home Paddock, Ele Ludemann, whose loyalty to the National Party is long and unquestionable, has some wise words in her post ‘A Snap In Time’. Don’t get too carried away here, is the essence of the message.

Ele’s blog to me epitomises some of the best aspects of New Zealand conservatism – low key, based on instinct rather than abstract ideology, essentially liberal in an open-minded rather than prescriptive way, and with a basic decency.

And as with many of the wiser people I’ve known, what is significant is often what is not said, or left out rather than what is made explicit.

Oh, and politics is not treated as the be all and end all of life.

Elsewhere on the blog front….Danyl at Dimpost asks the source of the tale, recounted occasionally in columns by babyboomers perusing the New Zealand culture, of a small provincial newspaper editorial booming ‘once again, we warn the Kaiser…’.

Or, in some versions,  the Tsar.

The tale is usually, locally, associated with the Grey River Argus, a West Coast paper which was at one time a Labour Party organ. I first heard this tale on the Wellington Polytechnic journalism course in 1982, from one of the tutors.

At the time I took it as one of the legends of The Profession: as I grew older and more sceptical I wondered a bit more about its accuracy. I’ve heard it applied to both the pre-World War One build up, and aimed at Germany, as well as the Russian Scare of the 1880s.

It seems it is a regular legend about the pretensions of provincial, Victorian/Edwardian newspapers, around the English-speaking world.

A lot of the informal tales of The Profession are like that.

One involved when explorer Vivian Fuchs was in New Zealand, for Sir Edmund Hilary’s expedition to Antartica.

According to the legend, a  sub-editor at the Christchurch Star was being let go, and his final front page, which featured a story about Fuchs, was headlined, ‘Fuchs Off To Antartica’  – only with a strategic and obvious misspelling of the explorer’s surname.

The error was spotted, according to the story, as the presses rolled, leading to a ‘STOP THE PRESSES’ moment and all papers hurriedly burned and a new edition quickly put together.

Great story – and one which has been told in other English speaking countries, about other newspapers.  Apocryphal tales told by journalists over a drinks or five are without borders.

Besides, what I do know about my fellow scribes, and survivors of the era when there were real print rooms, is that if any such edition had been printed, someone would have illicitly saved a copy.

Yes, even with the threat of being fired if you did so.

Come on. Why wouldn’t you?  It’d be a great story.

My favourite legend of journalism…well, one of them… is from the era British Fleet Street.

The story goes one of the dailies – probably the Telegraph, although the Times is possible – realised, as print time approached, the regular editorial writer was away and the job had not been assigned to anyone else.

A senior journalist was given the task and bundled into one of the small side offices with a bottle of whisky,  a topic and a deadline.

Right on the dot someone realised he hadn’t filed: a quick check found him, slumped over his typewriter, the tide having gone down considerably in the bottle and a magisterial “Notwithstanding….” the only word produced.

And while I usually raise a dubious eyebrow at many tales from The Profession, I choose to believe this one.




2 thoughts on “Blog catch up…Polls and media myths

  1. Thank you.

    At the risk of looking like a mutual admiration society, I value your comments because I admire your non-partisan analysis and commentary and the way you write it for your paid work and on this blog.


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