Tuesday, February 28, 2023

How hard can it be to check a map?

RNZ News this morning described the Esk Valley as being west of Hastings and said it had been inundated by the Ngaruroro River.

Wrong - in fact doubly wrong. The Esk Valley is northwest of Napier and was inundated by the Esk River. You’d think the name of the valley was a clue. It’s nowhere near the Ngaruroro.

Credibility matters in the media. When people in Hawke’s Bay – or in fact anyone with basic geographical knowledge – hear something like this, they are entitled to wonder what else RNZ gets wrong.

In a blog post on February 15 which I subsequently withdrew because I thought it was too negative, I criticised the media for frequently getting geographical references wrong in their coverage of Cyclone Gabrielle.

I said this: Location matters, and never more so than in a story about floods. Do journalists ever consult a map? It’s not hard.

My criticism stands.


pdm said...

It happens all of the time Karl.

Yesterday or the day before NewstalkZB news (I think) moved another part of Hawkes Bay around so that it jumped a couple of rivers. Plus today they have an incomprehensible pronunciation of Te Pohue.

Plus it was only about a year ago that I pointed out to you that the Stuff Quick Quiz had moved Featherston into Wellington City.

Obviously New Zealand Geography has not been taught in schools in the last 30 years the way it was when we were there.

R Singers said...

RNZ are completely post-truth. I'm not sure why you are surprised by this.

Karl du Fresne said...

Post-truth, eh? So you think it would be unremarkable if RNZ reported that north was south and
up was down? Come on.

You can either proceed from the premise that RNZ has totally abandoned any pretence of factual accuracy, which I think is absurd, or you can point out when they get things wrong and hope (perhaps naively) that they might be more careful in future. I choose to do the latter.

M&D said...

Try living in the South Island, outside the main cities. It's happened forever. It's not unusual for a location to be shifted a couple of hundred kilometres!

Karl du Fresne said...

I remember years ago reading about a fatal car accident that happened 40 km west of Greymouth.

R Singers said...

RNZ presenters regularly make statements about subjects like plant-based diets or electrical vehicles without any pretense of caring about what the scientific consensus is on the subject.
The things they say are articles of faith, they're not rational discourse.

Yes, they do occasionally make mistakes like claiming white tailed spider are poisonous, when they are not even venomous, however the majority of the nonsense they spout is purely the strange political faith that has taken over so many closeted people.

How else do you explain your new status as a sexist and racist right-wing pariah?

Anonymous said...

Yes this happens all the time and is just another example of how lazy journalists have become. Like the TVNZ reporter who described Napier and Hastings as “townships”. No, they are cities! And then there is the radio announcer on Newstalk ZB who repeatedly told listeners that State Highway 5 “between Ōpōtiki and Napier” was closed. I could go on but I’ll stop there.

Karl du Fresne said...

R Singers
The location of a river valley is not a matter of scientific consensus; it's an incontrovertible, observable fact. I agree with you that RNZ presenters may make statements that are articles of faith, but listeners have a perfectly reasonable expectation that they will get basic facts right - and most of the time I think they do.
Incidentally I'm not aware that I've been described on RNZ as sexist and racist (and don't forget misogynistic), but that's not to say it won't happen.

Simon Cohen said...

Two other examples in the last 2 days.

Glenorchy is quoted as being a suburb of Queenstown. It is 46 kilometres from Queenstown.

NZ Herald.
Central Otago vineyard in liquidation.
The vineyard is near the Lindis River at 6 Thomson Gorge Rd, south of Wanaka and east of Lake Hayes.
It is north east of Lake Hayes and 80 kilometres distance away.
It is just outside Tarras.
To put things in context Oamaru is also east of Lake Hayes.

Anonymous said...

Re your comment: "I remember years ago reading about a fatal car accident that happened 40 km west of Greymouth." That makes complete sense. I am presuming the vehicles were Aqada!

Steve said...

Actually, I would suggest that RNZ made that mistake because they DID consult a map - Google Maps. Open Google Maps in your browser, enter "Esk Valley" in the search box and where does it take you? To an "Esk Valley Cellar Door (temporarily closed)" which is located west of Hastings, close to the Ngaruroro River and a good 20km south of the actual Esk Valley.