And so it’s goodbye to The Listener

December 22, 2007

After many years of happy reading, being challenged, finding a weekly magazine that actually expects the readers to a: have a vocabulary and b: give a damn and has some of my favourite writers in it, I’m done. Through. You’ve lost me.

It wasn’t the new editor, although I hear tell she’s painful. It wasn’t the removal of prickly difficult staff, although clearly that happened as well. It wasn’t Joanne Black’s “Black Page” because that used to raise my blood pressure so completely on a regular basis that I’ve long since stopped reading it. It wasn’t the redesign that sees the TV pages expanded to include a myriad of pay TV pages that I don’t care about (and doesn’t Sky publish its own guide anyway? And don’t all Sky owners have an electronic programming guide as well?). It wasn’t the decision to move Russell Brown’s IT column up next door to the TV section while moving Diana Wichtel’s TV review to the front (?). It wasn’t even the decision to focus on a different disease each and every week until we’re all so sick to death of it that we skip entire tranches of the magazine desperately looking for something to read.

No, it was the caption on a graphic in this week’s issue that showed two different sets of handwriting both from a 10-year-old lad who had started taking Omega 3 fish oil supplements. Before, his writing looked like my daughter’s first attempts. Afterwards it would put mine to shame.

I’ve had enough. If I want emotional manipulation and anecdotal evidence I will watch 20:20 or Sixty Minutes. I do not want that level of coverage of important issues. I want what The Listener used to deliver – a step-by-step account of how David Bain killed his family (and why he clearly did it). I want detail, I want measured assessment, I want facts and figures.

And now I want a new subscription to a different magazine. Got any suggestions?

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4 Responses to “And so it’s goodbye to The Listener”

  1. Miss Moon Says:

    I would suggestion a subscription to Top Gear NZ, but I recently received an issue of Dish! “Another Jones Publication”. Did I get specifically targeted because I am reading a magazine that they consider to be a male magazine (yes I am female), or did they target all subscribers to Top Gear? What has food got to do with cars and the BBC TV show of the same name? I feel insulted that they feel they know better than me what I want to read! Not only that, but I actually tried to read it, and it made me feel sick. I have no interest in food, except eating it, and the pictures and recipes made me feel totally inadequate as a cook (that I know I’m not). There was an article about a kid that lived across the road from me when I was growing up and whose older sister was my best friend right through primary school, but even that article I got bored wit half way through. Thanks, but no thanks! I will not be subscribing to Dish, and don’t target me again!


  2. Tough call, no other weekly does what the Listener does in New Zealand, or rather what it should be doing. Further, their isn’t a monthly that does what the Listener should be doing in New Zealand, in my humble opinion. I fear I can’t advise you on your next step. I can however say you are doing the right thing.

    Don’t keep giving them your money in the hope that the Listener will get better. Declining its circulation (okay, only by one) is the only way you can effect them. That, and writing a stern letter that they can chose not to publish.


  3. […] April 18, 2008 I’ve written about the decline in standards at The Listener, New Zealand’s only weekly news and current affairs magazine, on other occassions. […]


  4. […] Regular readers (hi Mom) will know that I have long since ditched my subscription to what was once New Zealand’s premiere source of investigative journalism. Instead it’s descended into some kind of Alice in Wonderland meets Kafka hell where good stories are lured to their doom. They’re not spiked (a spiked good story lives on) but instead are treated so poorly they because a warped Bizarro World version of what could have been. […]


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