Howling at the moon

It’s not very often I get excited about a new entrant to NZ’s media ecology. The last time I did was for MiNDFOOD, based on the pre-release PR, and that only lasted until I opened the thing up and realised it was just another glossy ad-filled waiting-room mag with skinny celebrities on the cover.

But this morning I’ve read most of werewolf, the latest offering from Scoop’s Gordon Campbell and others, to be published every full moon. I’m pleasantly surprised. The debut edition features a reasonably thorough survey of Helen Clark’s little-considered but much-valued arts policy through the Oughties; a good bag of the smacking petition which drew immediate fire from petition backers Bob McCoskrie and Larry Baldock in comments; a satire primer from the dependably excellent Lyndon Hood; and a bit about the effect of electoral systems on democracy – case in point: Lebanon. Music and travel writing as well. Go read some of it.

I can only assume that Gordon’s choice of masthead is drawn from the same place as my title, the name of Ian Wishart’s publishing company. In some ways werewolf reminds me of Investigate: a niche publication which will try to carve out its niche from a critical, complicated, politically and philosophically-engaged, media-aware, somewhat geeky audience and specialising in long-format, analysis-rich material which digs a bit deeper than that published (and re,re,republished) by the usual suspects.

Like Investigate/TGIF/TBR, it has potential to bridge the divide between traditional and new media formats essentially by providing the best of both worlds – periodic, reliable and high-quality content which doesn’t demand too great a commitment in time or resource from its audience but which provides blog-style opportunities for engagement should readers want them. Since I don’t imagine Gordon and co. would overly appreciate being compared to Ian, I should note that that’s where I think (and hope) the similarity ends – NZ doesn’t need another ideologically-bound narcissistic soap-box publication, and that this first edition is not. Nevertheless, I wish them all the success Ian has had, and bring on the next episode.


7 thoughts on “Howling at the moon

  1. I found it all boring. It reminds me of Public Address. The most boring and uninteresting rubbish peddled by the same boring rubbish people. Sure it actually contains more content than PA. But still underneath it all it’s exactly Public Address. Boring crap for the same boring crowd with the same boring people replying to it. Its the middle class liberals (moderately left/right) that already have too much hold over the media landscape in this country.

    Whilst the smacking referendum article contained replies by shall we say more-right elements I don’t expect that to be the norm. Instead, I suggest it’ll get the same people that reply to PA now days. The first months will be alright. But then like PA it’ll just end up as rubbish.

  2. To add further to that. I don’t think people want something that resembles The Listener, Metro etc etc and that is how it reads. People want ideological driven content. That is why Kiwiblog, The Standard and Not PC all do better than PA. I’m sure those PA people love Werewolf. But for most of us I think it’s a turn-off.

  3. Amazing how Bob and Larry vanished when people started challening their positions on the comments board in a way that the MSM wouldnt.

  4. gingercrush:

    That’s depressing as hell. Do you really just want to read an echo chamber that repeats your own views back at you? And personally abuses people who disagree with you (kiwiblog and The Standard both indulge in this)? Seriously?

  5. GC,

    While werewolf might remind you of Public Address it actually bears no resemblance to PA. I count exactly 0 authors in common, the format’s different, the publication schedule is different, the style and type of content is different. So your objection, as Eddie says, comes down to the fact that you don’t like the content. It’s a good thing you’ve still got Investigate, isn’t it?


  6. “Investigate” provides dubious insights because it carries assumptions of Christian fundamentalism. Not many politicians take Investigate seriously unless personally targeted by Wishart I guess.

    A common assumption among such publications is that a god will sort out everything so let the capitalists have their way – don’t worry about risks like global warming.

    Also, there is the Leighton Smith factor – whereby socialists are deemed to be baddies – and leading left-of-centre politicians are portrayed as worse people than leading right-of-wing.

    Such advocacy is built on an “I’m all right” philosophy that demands conformance to norms that are constructed by humans with power, not gods!

    If Gordon Campbell’s publication serves as an antidote to the above disturbing information sources – ALL POWER TO GORDON!!

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