20 Mar 2016

Mistaken identities and messed-up memberships

From Mediawatch, 9:07 am on 20 March 2016

Mediawatch looks at cases of mistaken identity in two newspapers which caused confusion recently - including one which was close to home.

Last weekend The Herald on Sunday published an interview with the deputy PM Bill English.

'I specialise in being boring,' was the quote the paper used for the headline. Unsurprisingly perhaps, that didn't make the front page.

But it was actually a fascinating read, and all the more interesting because it wasn't written by a regular Herald journalist, but one of the paper's newest columnists: sociologist, researcher and author Jarrod Gilbert, who is also current holder of the Canon Award for 'best blog'.  

But the way the paper introduced Dr Gilbert made him sound even more interesting.

Picture of error in the Herald on Sunday's heading.

Not a gang member, actually - just an expert. Photo: screenshot

Dr Gilbert is an expert on NZ's gangs. He wrote a history of them called Patched. He has spent a time among gang members, but he never actually joined a gang. 

On Sunday he tried to set the record straight 

The Herald quickly made amends online, but not before his mum saw it - and her neighbours too.

Here at Mediawatch, we know how Jarrod Gilbert felt.

screenshot of Dom PoSt error

Not me - Photo: RNZ

Last month The Dominion Post reported that Wellington mayor Celia Wade Brown turned up at her local Island Bay festival and was heckled a bit over the controversial Island Bay cycleway. She backs it, but some locals certainly don’t, including an Island Bay Bowling Club member who told the paper:

We are just so sick of the woman. The cycleway is just a waste of ratepayers' money.

Those words were attributed to "Colin Peacock".

It was the same in the weekly free paper The Wellingtonian soon after, though online at stuff.co.nz there's an picture with the story identifying the man - correctly - as Gavin Peacock.  

But while Dr Gilbert is no longer a former gang member online at nzherald.co.nz, I still appear as the source of those strong Island Bay opinions at stuff.co.nz.

For the record, I have never been to the Island Bay Bowling Club, let alone joined it. And any opinions about Wellington's mayor or the cycleway, I'll keep to myself.