Tag Archives: Editorial stance

ODT Online: ‘Gone, deleted, it never happened, Councillor’

All is safe, RT. We know nothing!

Elizabeth @ What if? Dunedin
Submitted on 2013/02/10 at 12:39 pm | In reply to Hype O’Thermia.

This one sent to http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/244913/do-maths-stadium-costs hasn’t aired, thrown into the ghost bucket, I guess:

Public accountability, arithmetic
Submitted by ej kerr on Sat, 09/02/2013 – 6:49pm

There’s reason to be grateful to members of the public quickly leaping on superficialities put out by the councillor, as ‘spokesman’ for the DCC on the loss making stadium.

The city council in its wisdom formed a series of shells to ‘see through’ the stadium project; these have resulted in a lack of transparency in governance, a resounding loss of accountability, and multiple opportunities for potential misrepresentation to citizens and ratepayers.

The cumulative bid to foster acceptance in the community for ‘intergenerational debt’ being loaded on citizen ratepayers – as if ‘sustainable’, as if ‘logical’, for future fortunes to be made and shared – was/is a highly immoral behaviour that council politicians are ultimately responsible for.

At the Milton Hilton rests a flag-waver to a board’s lack of diligence and knowledge of its own accounting systems. We don’t need another flag waver, councillor…. not in apology to the city council’s callous disregard for financial prudence.

UPDATE 11.2.13
No longer at the Milton Hilton, the crim-flagwaver has been moved to a 4-bedroom house in “the grounds” of another HM’s establishment near Christchurch.

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6.2.13 Editorial bias
29.1.13 Pecuniary interest: Crs Wilson and Thomson in events fund debate

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

19 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design

Editorial bias

Received today from Russell Garbutt [email].

Have readers of the ODT online site noticed the failure of the ODT Online Editor to acknowledge that they are abridging comments or simply wiping them?

Two examples of mine recently spring to mind and the context shows where the sympathies of the ODT lies. The first was in response to a comment made by speedfreak43 who noted that the GV of Carisbrook at the time the dear old DCC masquerading as a body acting in the interests of the ratepayers was about $1.5m when the purchase price from the ORFU who really run the DCC, was $7m. This is what I wrote, which simply vanished into thin air:

“speedfreak43, I think you are pretty close to the mark with the recollection of a GV of about $1.5m for Carisbrook. That makes this story even more worth pursuing by the ODT. Here we have a previous owner in the financial doodah for $7m – interestingly because of their purchases of Auckland bars to carry out their pokie fund rort – bailed out by a Council decision to purchase at a price many times more than what is clearly a market price. All backed up by “valuations” that appear to be nothing other than part of the shonky deals done behind closed doors. All replicated almost exactly with Luggate and Jack’s Point. Bearing in mind that every $1m of spend without income that this Council does equates to 1% on the rates and you can see that these 3 property deals alone have cost Dunedin ratepayers close on 15% of rates increases. My question again – who is going to hold these Councillors accountable?”

Now why this sensitivity? The ORFU were involved in a rort and everyone knows that. Were there shonky deals done behind closed doors? Well, we have Carisbrook, Jacks Point and Luggate as examples that are in the public domain. Is it that the ODT don’t want some Councillors to be exposed for what they are? Well here my posting in another thread with the deleted portion emboldened.

“If the promoters are well aware in advance of sound issues at the stadium and have prepared accordingly, then a simple question remains unanswered. Why do patrons who shell out money to see and hear acts at the stadium rate the sound quality over the PA systems as “abhorrent”? While pondering that answer, why is it that, after we were all told that the surface was the most high-tech, durable and incredible surface ever devised that the recent soccer fixture rated the surface as being the worst they had played on? When considering the answer to that question, readers may like to consider just how much they have paid in their rates to achieve these levels of mediocrity. Perhaps Malcolm Farry and the stadium Councillors could provide some answers?”

So, the ODT had printed stories about the sound quality and the turf quality so they couldn’t take exception to that, but they didn’t want Farry and the Stadium Councillors being asked to be held accountable.

This I suggest, is a very clear indication of where the ODT’s sympathies and probable support will be for any forthcoming Council elections. Can it logically be seen in any other way?

[ends]

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10.6.12 What won’t get printed on ORT’s front page (pssst, about the Albatross…….)
3.8.12 Extraordinary editorials
28.7.12 Pokie fraud: ODT fails to notice own backyard
26.6.12 Defamation
7.5.12 ODT: “the cupboard has been bare” [still is]
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31.12.11 Dishonourable mention
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[the list goes on . . . ]

Editorial Note:
When the What if? moderators enter “abridge” in their dashboard search box up come 74 items of observation and complaint on multiple threads about comments being abridged or not published after submission to ODT Online.
Spot the trend.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

46 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Concerts, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design

Extraordinary editorials

The ODT bellows: “They should be more open.” Their editorial today is a form of tirade directed at the Southern District Health Board (SDHB); with a wrist slap to the University of Otago. The message, however, has sticky parallels.

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Aug 2012
Editorial: Open communication
It is natural organisations want to control news about themselves. They want “good news” to spread and bad news to remain as hidden as possible. No-one wants their dirty linen flapping in the breeze. Thus, public relations firms and communications specialists are paid to develop strategies and to help massage and control information. Of course, it pays to be upfront and open because the consequences of not doing so could well be much worse publicity. Often, public relations advisers will, sensibly, advise openness, recognising the longer-term benefits. But no-one should be fooled into thinking that they are operating for wider altruistic reasons. They are serving their clients or bosses.
Read more

We’re in NO DOUBT the ODT editor has chosen their words very carefully, but in so doing perhaps they should pause to reflect on their own production of what constitutes local news in the Southern Region. We use the plural.

And here’s the thing, it’s hard for the ‘average reader’ to work out who is ‘speaking’ in each of the newspaper’s editorials these days, since there’s a discernible movement and variance of principle, voice and direction, or so it appears.

The anonymity of the editor – or the actions and beliefs of the team producing editorial material – erodes believability and reader confidence; in much the same way as when the newspaper’s ownership comes to bear (do we detect?) on the printed editorial stance.

‘Open communication’ is the headline. It’s something we expect from the independent newspaper, owing to the less than edifying antics and misdeeds that riddle city power structures and business, tied to in-your-face indiscriminate spending of public funds for little or no perceptible public gain.

In an effective democracy, and particularly when public money at stake, however, transparency should be fundamental. Not only does this diminish the opportunity for the cancer of corruption, but it also – as noted last week by the Law Commission in its report on the Official Information Act – promotes accountability. -ODT

ODT itself should be in no doubt that if it wants to play ‘dumb blonde’ or ‘dull brunette’ then the community’s quest for transparency, exposure and lack of newspaper bias will simply change gear – we’ll slip quietly to other news sources for the information we seek, some published, some underground. Motivated people get what they need, where they can. The work-arounds: internet and web sources are all-powerful for constant/instant messaging and exchange of visual data. The underground news economy.

The newspaper – while the physical paper appeals to the eye and hand – is ‘maybe’ something we’ll continue to buy, as a habit. For the most part, Southern news (and morality) is coming to us via social networking services, phone calls and person-to-person meetings – it’s fast and unabridged. People are taking charge of their information sharing. It’s exciting, it’s risky, it works for good and bad. It’s addictive.

We know that lumbering institutions have trouble sending the ‘real news’ by official means – there’s a lot to hide, wheelings, dealings, and slights.

Watch the silence of city councillors. Most are scared of communicating with their constituents by media; god forbid that social media should come between them and their council paychecks or, for some at least, the kickbacks and advantages received from private interests to propel decisions through council committee and departmental processes.

It’s a small world and the Otago Daily Times could adopt a neutral independent newspaper stance to capture most of the undercurrents. Does it? No. Especially not, if when things get too close.

Why are letters to the editor not printed? Why are online comments deleted, rewritten or abridged without explanation on certain topics? Frankly, it’s not all about bad grammar or actionable comments.

Most of the time we’re allowed to read ‘what is safe’, things guaranteed to not upset the Applecart of Order established by the Otago Daily Times in conjunction with (we suspect…) Dunedin City Council and the old boy networks. Intelligent networked people watch for what’s NOT being printed by the patriarchy.

****

The Catholic Bishop of Dunedin has come out as a misogynist… that ODT won’t allow comments at the online post in the interests of widening the debate for female and male subscribers is a sad indictment on the newspaper. Loudly, it shows the inability of All to participate in ‘open communication’ through the newspaper at yet another critical moment for the great ink-blackened unwashed.

Related Post:
28.7.12 Pokie fraud: ODT fails to notice own backyard

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

78 Comments

Filed under Business, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, People, Politics