ODT “stories” —parochial sun rays

Email received from Grahame Sydney
Saturday, 27 April 2013 1:22 p.m.

re ODT

My heart goes out to the loyal reporters at the ODT having to file garbage promotional stories extolling the fabulousness and phenomenal success of the Plastic Stadium, most of which “stories” are given front page treatment: since when did a “story” on the Aerosmith gear-haulage convoy rate as front page “news”, let alone the disgraceful banner headline and page-wide photograph of the band performing (“SILVER SPANGLED SPECTACLE” -Thursday 25 April) ? Is there no limit to the depths to which the editorial staff at ODT will sink in order to underwrite the foundering stadium, at the cost of editorial integrity ?

But while such transparent commercialism makes the opening of the ODT an increasingly difficult daily ritual, testing to the limits one’s own parochial tendencies, and the assault of full-page advertisements (7 in the first 22 page section today, not counting half-page ads…) makes the reading an habitual speed-read, is there any explanation for the strange appearance on page 12 today (27.3.13) of a colourful little child’s world picture of six happy Small People, one on a bike, one with a pet dog, two with a ball, all beaming innocently as yellow sun rays glow from a distant unseen horizon and five dinky, driverless vehicles crowd the streets ?

ODT 27.4.13 advertisement (page 12) 1

Below this merry fantasy is the exhortation: “Spend QUALITY TIME” at Dunedin’s intersections… there’s so much to see !”

No clue offered as to who is responsible for this mysterious insertion, nor why, what it might mean, or who it is aimed at. If it’s the DCC Traffic people, the message is highly questionable. Perhaps it’s the start of a new branding exercise, in the “It’s All Right Here” mould. If it’s a new campaign from the city’s tourist promotional wing, embarking on a bold new initiative to identify the REAL attractions of the town – I can see the entrance billboards and the bumper-stickers now: IGNORE THE HOTEL: COME AND EXPERIENCE OUR INTERSECTIONS !” – then someone needs to be singled out and front-paged for their imaginative genius.

It’d be a change from yet another damned propagandist sell on the Stadium, if nothing else.


Dunedin city was ranked at the top of the agency’s [NZTA] list for urban intersection crashes causing either fatal or serious injuries during the five years from 2006 to 2010. The city also featured in the top five for the crash categories involving pedestrians (second), motorcycles (third), older drivers (third), cyclists (fourth) and young drivers (fourth), and ranked sixth for accidents caused by distracted drivers. ODT 24.3.12

Dunedin is ranked the third-worst local authority area in New Zealand for fatal and serious injury crashes, statistics in the NZTA’s “communities at risk” register show. The NZTA has compiled lists ranking local authorities across 12 categories, although there is some contention about the methodology used to record the statistics. ODT 23.10.11

Related Post and Comments:
6.2.13 Editorial bias

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Design, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Stadiums, Tourism

8 responses to “ODT “stories” —parochial sun rays

  1. chirpbird

    Well said. I looked at Friday’s Otago Daily Times and saw this:
    Then today see this: http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/254546/never-ending-challenge
    And also this: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/254578/boycott-cannabis-shops-cull
    demonstrating the ‘community leadership’ of Mayor Cull
    and thought “Ah, campaigning in the local body elections has begun.”
    So much for the impartiality of the press.

  2. chirpbird

    In other words, let’s all focus on what a good guy Cull is protesting about synthetic cannabis junk, an action which costs him nothing and will make little difference to anything. And let’s all forget that the Council he led kept on spending and keeps on spending ever more money to prove that the stadium is just as fabulous and wonderful as Mr Farry and Co said all along. And don’t even think about how much money it is now costing the ratepayers of Dunedin to operate, let alone thinking about how much borrowed money it cost to build in the first place. ODT has been the opiate of the masses in Dunedin for too long. Time for people here to kick the habit!

    • I agree. chirpbird! And let’s add the money still being borrowed (DCC/DCHL via DCTL, oh yeah, it hasn’t stopped) to ‘finance the finance’ for the council. All on Liability Cull’s watch, who has no idea whatsoever of how to clean up the extortionate mess, relying on callboys for advice. Meanwhile, the desperate race to avoid a declaration of “serious conflicts of interest” over Delta – if it doesn’t sting Cull this term it will the next, even if it takes a legal challenge from ratepayers to do it !!!!

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Grahame, I read or watched an explanation of this advt. It’s about road safety, and the idea is that instead of telling people about all the potential dangers it shows them e.g. child with ball may suddenly run onto road. Me, I’m unconvinced that anyone will bother decoding the “message” and if not it’s nothing but a cheery bright picture, perhaps half of a “how many changes can you see in these 2 pictures” games.

  4. On that note Elizabeth, did you see the bit about how much trouble Spain is in, and one of the cities was panicking cause for 200,000 people they had $1B debt. Beginners, they should come and see a real council get the debt stacked higher than that per head…..

  5. Peter

    That is a very scathing comment by Grahame Sydney on the ODT, but unfortunately so very true. It is also a view held by so many people out there I have come across. More often than not they comment first before I do. (No wonder they have to offer discounts for former subscribers to get them buying the paper again.)
    I feel sorry for the good journalists there who may be committed to Dunedin and can’t get a job elsewhere. The editorial on Saturday was so insipid. A total lack of insight with no regard for searching for answers behind the superficial glitz they report on.
    The ODT needs an editorial team with people who have gumption and not content with self satisfied mediocrity. I watch, with incredulity, on Channel 39, ‘What’s on in the ODT tomorrow’ segment. One of the usual people come on and we are treated to ‘news’ of something exciting in the food section for readers to read, etc etc etc.
    Come on ODT, get your act together!

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    It used to be so much better.

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