Journalists understandably got in a tizz when Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown excluded some from a press conference he held to address changes in his budget proposals.
That’s because journalists take seriously their role in informing the public and holding leaders to account – even if it has no legal or societal backing. They believe their concerns are shared by the public, even though numerous studies show newsrooms are mostly young, left-leaning and poorly paid.
Brown knows the sensibilities of modern journalists aren’t representative of the public at large. He is probably justified in resenting the questions and reporting of some journalists driven by personal and ideological antipathy. But he will rue the decision because he makes journalists more of an enemy than he needs to. We recall, for example, how John Key inflamed the media into bringing him down when he set the Police onto them in search of the infamous ‘teapot tape’.
Far better for Brown to allow media full access from the get-go. He should back his ability to challenge loaded questions and to shame incomplete or unfair reporting, knowing he has the public with him