The song ‘Overs’, from Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters LP, contains the following lyrics
No good times, no bad times
There’s no times at all
Just the New York Times
Well, from where I am sitting now, make that The Bay of Plenty Times.
The Bay of Plenty Times, which is delivered daily to my ‘rellies’ at a cost of NZ$9 a week, is really quite a good local paper – as local papers go. One should not have too much expectation of national, let alone global, news from any local paper and The Bay of Plenty Times does not disappointment in that department. There are 2 pages of national/international news – one titled Nation and the other World, which does provide small-scale coverage of the major international news stories of the day; two of today’s featuring the contrasting fates of 2 foreign correspondents – one having been released and the other being, tragically, executed.
What one does get from such august organs are tasters of what interests the local community. Today’s headline “What a scorcher’, (yes, really), highlights the fact that the past month has been “just 6 minutes shy” of being the sunniest month for 80 years in Tauranga – which, certainly, was good news for us. Other news stories are:
- a new $NZ4.5m local cycleway is being built
- a report on the first day back at school after the summer break
- safety concerns regarding a local highway
- cleaning up toxic mould on local municipal buildings
More folksy stories include:
- a local resident’s search to find his mother’s childhood home
- the headline speakers who will feature at the annual meeting of The Photographic Society of New Zealand
- an empty ‘white elephant’ building’s likely future use (as a sports centre)
- a story about Hunter Furniture’s commitment to Tauranga. (Advertorial surely? – Ed)
Interestingly, though there are 2 pages of national/international news, 4 of the paper’s 32 pages are devoted to financial news and another 4 to sports news; including stories on the Premier League, The Superbowl and The Australian Tennis Finals. Draw your own conclusions.
There is – not unexpectedly – a goodly, (but not OTT), amount of local retail and small space advertising.
And, oh yes, there is a page called Local Opinion. Yesterday’s piece, written by Tommy Wilson, “a best-selling local author and writer”, was entitled ‘iTune out of it for a healthier brain’, (gettit?). The article trawled through some of the well-trodden gripes about how smart phones are a modern obsession that is ruining all the virtues of polite society. Today’s column features a missive in response from a correspondent that you might recognize.
As Plato said: “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”