Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chicken scoop for the soul

As I said on radio a few weeks ago, No Right Turn is in
my view the best individual blogger, pound for pound,
blog for blog, in New Zealand, at least as far as politics
and current affairs are concerned. His ability to
analyse policy and legislation and comment helpfully
and perceptively on them, often within hours of their
announcement, is second to none. But I must take
issue with him when he chastises New Zealand Herald
political editor Audrey Young, as he has just done, for
blogging about a stray chicken in Parliament Grounds.
Has the man no poetry in his soul? The symbolism of
this lone bird—nicknamed Tegel by security guards—
running free in the shrubbery outside the nation's
most prominent battery farm is enormous. It was let
loose a few days ago, apparently, along with several
others by someone whom Young describes as an 'idiot
protester'; the others have been caught but not the
plucky Tegel. Long may he/she roam! In fact, some
lines of relevant poetry have just occurred to me by
accident, so I'll inadvertently drop them in here:

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse squawks of unpremeditated art.

No Right Turn, who seems unusually choleric in his
anti-chicken blog, condemning 'this trivial bullshit' and
demanding 'real journalism' from Young, also needs to
remember that doing a blog as well as being a full-time
political reporter for a newspaper or TV channel ain't
easy, and if a subject—however paltry—presents itself,
you'll tend to go with it. Especially, as in this case, when
you have a scoop. With the exception of Fairfax's
Colin Espiner, whose blog has become so popular that
he could hardly not keep it up, and is no doubt allowed
time specifically to do so, most Press Gallery journos
required by their editors to blog have struggled to
maintain a regular output. Guyon Espiner hasn't
blogged for seven weeks, nor Duncan Garner for a
month; it had been three weeks between blogs for
Young herself before inspiration happily struck her in
the form of this remarkable case, which is, I venture to
think, unique in the annals of Parliament. Almost as
remarkable, the fearless Young, not hitherto known for
her prowess with the camera, got an exclusive picture
of Tegel in full prowl across the parliamentary lawn.
When one thinks of the headless chooks running
around inside the House, let us be grateful that one
with its head still on is running around outside.


Giovanni said...

Surely you meant "however poultry" there.

Anonymous said...

Not like you to miss the opportunity to pun by playing around with Audrey Young's need for a scoop and the security guards need for a coop.

Idiot/Savant said...

Has the man no poetry in his soul?

No. Or rather, politics is a serious business, with significant consequences for real people, and I'd rather the people we pay to inform us about it actually did, rather than wasting our time with this sort of crap.

And if gallery journalists are scratching for content for their blogs, they could always try blogging the news. It works well for Espiner, who often covers the same subject (though in a different voice) in his newspaper reports as he does online.

Giovanni said...

It seems to me that the problem is the chicken story was about as informative as the regular stories. I wish it had detracted somehow from the quality of the political coverage.

Anonymous said...

Well Idiot/Savant thanks for the official response from the Joanne Black Fun Police School of Journalism. What are you doing reading this blog?

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