BENNY BENNETTS AGAINST HAURAKI HERALD

Case Number: 2847

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2019

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Hauraki Herald

Ruling Categories: Politicians
Taste Lack of

Overview

CASE NO: 2847

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF BENNY BENNETTS AGAINST HAURAKI HERALD

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: NOVEMBER 2019

Benny Bennetts complained that the Hauraki Herald was disrespectful to Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie in a front-page story on July 5, 2019 by repeatedly referring to her by last name only while councillors mentioned in the story were given their full names. He had a similar complaint about an item reporting the local body election results where the mayor’s name was printed in full only once and subsequently referred to seven times (including the headline) by her last name only, while the full names were given for the other eight successful councillors.

It is a common style for many publications to give the first and last names of people when they are first mentioned in a story and then use last names only for subsequent references. It is also common in many publications to use last names only in headlines. This is not generally regarded as disrespectful, provided of course it is applied consistently.

It is noted here in the second story that two mayoral candidates were named by their first and second names on the two occasions they were mentioned. There was an inconsistency, but this appears to be a case of careless editing rather than deliberate disrespect. Viewing the articles as a whole and objectively, we are satisfied that the use of names evinces no disrespect for the mayor.

No Grounds to Proceed