Napier siege: did the media do a good job?

May 10, 2009

[Monday update: I’ve had some responses now. Read down to comments, EM]

I’ve written some critical comments recently about the news media’s coverage of the Napier siege situation that ended yesterday with the death of Jan Molenaar.

Now, I’ve decided to do a small experiment using Twitter. I’m seeking comments from people who were close to the action, I’d like to know what the people of Napier thinks of the media’s handling of the siege coverage.

Yesterday evening I tweeted using the # symbol, which signals to Twitter that you’re looking for a particular topic:

#Napier questions that I tweeted last night:

#Napier did the media do a good job? Was it facts v. rumour or were you well informed about the siege and Jan Molenaar’s history or motives?

#Napier, if you have a story about the news media’s presence in Napier this week, tweet me or email:

So far, I’ve had two responses:

[Kelly] @ethicalmartini media did a *terrible* job re #napier hill tragedy.  first night NO info for residents, so MUCH misinformation & gossip

[fushnchups] @ethicalmartini Quite a lot of rumour was reported from “un-named sources”, see reporting the gunman’s death about 18hrs ahead.

I need  a bit more evidence and more responses to make this work.

Dog survives rumour of death

May 9, 2009

I must say there was relief at Casa Refugio when Fi was discovered alive inside the police cordon at the Napier siege. Not much good has come from this story, but I think Superintendent  Sam Hoyle deserves an award for the most quotable quote of the whole sorry drama.

“He did have a dog with him on site,” Superintendent Sam Hoyle said. “The dog is still in his van. We haven’t heard from the dog.

“There is a degree of urgency in getting the dog out of the van. We have to say that we have not heard from the dog since this incident started.

“You can draw the obvious conclusions from that.”  [Police dog alive NZH]

Yes, like perhaps the conclusion that a dog can’t use a mobile phone, or a police radio.

If you have anything that can top this, please let me know.

Here’s another wee example of a rumour being laid to rest:

Civil Defence says rumours of a lack of beds for people evacuated from the area around Chaucer Rd are untrue.

Rumours of a lack of beds and people sleeping in the Welfare Centre at Napier Intermediate School were untrue, Civil Defence controller Dennis Morgan said. [Napier latest NZH]

BTW: I just want to say that the Napier siege is/was a big story, very newsworthy and also worthy of huge coverage. I also think that some sections of the media and some journos have done a good job.

However, I would also like to point out that when you have a big story like this that actually moves very slowly – there’s no real action for the media to report – the temptation to start cooking up stories from junk that issues from the rumour mill manifests itself.

Cambo leaves Sainso dead air in Napier: Close Up under siege

May 9, 2009

I can’t confirm this, I heard it from a bloke in my shed talking to himself after 16 pints of homebrew, but what the f*%$ I’m live on telly and I’ve got nothing but rumours: Sainso’s moustache is booby-trapped.

Another rumour I’ve heard, this one from a woman in Foodtown: Cambo’s a secret Rambo. Apparently he’s into body-building and small arms.

I’ve also been told, but I can’t confirm it, that Close Up is dead. Sauces tell me this just happened. Unfortunately, the next-of-kin haven’t been told, but sauces close to the programme believe it took its own life, probably with a high-powered, but unconfirmed small arm. However, other sauces tell me that Sainso set of his moustache bomb when he found out that Cambo had beaten him to be first with the rumour that the Napier siege was over.

In my previous post on the coverage of the Napier siege story I mentioned that we’d see a bloody finale to the story live on the news and evening current affairs shows. I was being a bit facetious, but FIGJAM.

It’s not over yet. The siege is ongoing, there’s likely to be more blood on the streets of Napier. The way things are going, we’ll get it live at 6pm tonight and again at 7pm. [A new low in NZ journalism]

On Friday night, there was a whole 90 minutes of breathless reporting. it was a blood-soaked ending to a low week. It’s only a rumour, but I heard that TV3 f*&%@d it up, big time.

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A new low in New Zealand journalism – Napier siege coverage

May 8, 2009

I was so angry last night that I tweeted.

I could not believe what I was seeing on Close Up. A police officer’s body lying in a Napier street and the vultures of the media circulating, sniffing out a tasty morsel or two.

In the case of Close Up the tasty morsels were the mother and the brother of the alleged gunman.

Then again this morning,  the brother, Peter Molenaar, was back on air. This time on Morning Report and the questioning was sickening.

“Do you think you’ll see your brother alive again”

“Why did he open fire? Did you know he had guns in the house?”

“Did you know he was doing drugs? Was he using P?”

These are questions for the coronial inquest, not for radio hosts. The news media is overstepping the boundaries of public decency in relation to this story. It’s not over yet. The siege is ongoing, there’s likely to be more blood on the streets of Napier. The way things are going, we’ll get it live at 6pm tonight and again at 7pm.

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